Suthep indicted on murder charges, granted bail

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BANGKOK, May 26 — Thailand’s public prosecutor has indicted Suthep Thaugsuban, secretary-general of the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), in connection with deaths and injuries of civilians in the crackdown on protesters in Bangkok’s 2010 political upheaval.

Pol Lt Col Phichit Nonthasuwan, public prosecutor for special litigation, pressed the charge of premeditated murder against Mr Suthep, 64, in the Criminal Court today.

Mr Suthep is accused together with Abhisit Vejjajiva, then prime minister, in his capacity as deputy prime minister tasked with handling protesters.

The accused was then the appointed director of the Centre for the Resolution of the Emergency Situation (CRES) which handled the protest led by the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD), the red shirts.

The crackdowns were ordered from April 7 to May 19, 2010. Ninety-eight persons were killed and many others wounded during the period. Red shirt demonstrators were protesting against the Abhisit administration.

Mr Suthep rejected the charge and the court will examine evidence in the case at 9am on July 28.

From the Office of the Attorney General Mr Suthep walked to the Criminal Court with dozens of police officers and soldiers escorting him there. Police and soldiers also stood guard at the court.

Sawasdi Charoenpol, Mr Suthep’s lawyer, said his client prepared a bank account with over Bt600,000 to seek a release on bail.

Nanthasak Pulsuk, director-general of the Special Litigation Department of the Office of the Attorney General, said that the office did not oppose a release on bail and the decision would depend on the court.

The Court later approved the bail request, accepting the cash in the bank account as bail bond.

In related development, 25 PDRC leaders including Mr Suthep were indicted at the Criminal Court for insurrection and other seven charges in connection with the current anti-government protests.

The Court granted bail for them, accepting Bt100,000 each as collateral.