Ex-Thai PM, aide to hear DSI murder charges Thursday

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BANGKOK, Dec 7 – Former prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and former deputy premier Suthep Thuagsuban will appear before the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) next Thursday to acknowledge charges of conspiring in the murder of anti-government protesters during the 2010 political upheaval in Bangkok.

The Democrat Party leader and Democrat MP for Surat Thani were officially asked to present themselves before the DSI next Wednesday to acknowledge the charges concluded by the DSI-led tripartite committee yesterday.

The DSI implicated the pair with murder charges in light of the Criminal Court’s ruling that taxi driver Phan Kamkong was shot dead by soldiers under the command of the Centre for the Resolution of the Emergency Situation (CRES) which was specially set up to deal with the civil protest.

The charges were made against Mr Abhisit in his capacity as prime minister overseeing CRES and Mr Suthep who was appointed the agency’s director.

Mr Abhisit said he will acknowledge the charges at the DSI next Thursday, a day after his return from an overseas trip.

The former premier said, “Mr Suthep and I are not above the law. We are willing to cooperate in the judicial process. The charges are without  surprise given direct and indirect signals pressuring us to accept the amnesty law which Mr Suthep and I will not compromise.

“Even though the punishment is jail term or execution, we will accept it. We will fight under the rule of law without fleeing. Don’t waste (your) time trying to compromise with us.”The Democrat leader indicated that the statement by DSI chief Tarit Pengdith yesterday was in line with a similar account earlier made by  Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubumrung.

Mr Suthep said he told the DSI and police several times that he was solely responsible for ordering specific CRES actions during the 2010 protest in his capacity as its director.

“But the attempt to implicate Mr Abhisit has never stopped. Taking legal action against me alone is too weak to press on with the amnesty law. That’s why Mr Abhisit is dragged into it,” he said.

He added that the DSI was rushing to press the charges and demand their acknowledgment before December 20 when Parliament will reconvene and they will be automatically entitled to parliamentary immunity.