Minister of Foreign Affairs Kasit Piromya denied the accusation of being a terrorist from his participation in the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD)’s seizure of Suvarnabhumi International Airport and vowed not to resign from his post at this time.
Mr Kasit declared through the National Broadcasting Services of Thailand (NBT) tonight that he will not resign from his post at this time despite the terrorism charge stemming from his involvement in the PAD’s airport seizure. The minister insisted that he will defend himself from the accusation, which he deemed unacceptable and insubstantial. However, he indicated that if he had to make a decision on whether or not to resign, he would only listen to the opinions of his lawyers, other Democrat Party fellows and Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva.
The Foreign Minister clarified that he had never informed Al Jazeera the he would quit the post, adding that he merely said he would resign when the right time had come.
He elaborated that, when he was on the PAD stage, he only had a pen and not any kind of weapons and thus urged the police to carefully reconsider their meaning of a terrorist.
Kasit reports to police, acknowledges charges
Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya reported to police after returning from Qatar on Monday afternoon to acknowledge charges relating to the People’s Alliance for Democracy’s occupation of Bangkok’s two airports last year.
Mr Kasit is one of the 36 people summoned by police to hear criminal charges, including terrorism and violation of the emergency decree, over the PAD’s blockades of Don Mueang and Suvarnabhumi airports.
He reported to police before the July 16 deadline set by police, and was released after hearing the charges.
The minister is scheduled to visit New Zealand from July 7 to 12 and Egypt from July 14 to 18.
Chavanond Intarakomalsut, his secretary, said Mr Kasit was not worried by the charges and insisted that he was at the PAD protest only as a guest speaker.
The opposition Puea Thai party has called for Mr Kasit to resign, saying that the minister lacked the legitimacy to represent the country at international meetings, particularly the Asean Ministerial Meeting to be held in Phuket later this month.
Mr Kasit’s secretary said the minister would continue to perform his duties. Leading members of the ruling Democrat Party also said it was not yet necessary for him to resign.
Somchai Sawaengkarn, a senator, said that legally Mr Kasit is still innocent since he has not been convicted,
unlike former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra who was convicted in the Ratchadapisek land case and is still facing other charges, but Puea Thai MPs still claim he is innocent.
The senator said
several ministers in the Samak Sundaravej and Somchai Wongsawat governments were charged in many cases but they continued to hold on to political posts.
Noppadon Pattama had to resign as foreign minister because the Administrative Court ruled that he was in the wrong after National Anti-Corruption Commission pointed out that he had violated Article 190 of the constitution by signing an agreement to support Cambodia’s listing of Preah Vihear temple as a world heritage site without consent from parliament.
Mr Noppadon’s case was different from that of Mr Kasit, said senator Somchai.
Mr Kasit has scheduled a press conference for 8pm Monday.
Published: 6/07/2009 at 04:52 PM
TERRORISM CHARGE: Kasit case trumped up: Suriyasai
Stop ‘indicting’ minister before legal proceedings completed, says ex-senator
Police might have gone overboard in branding Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya an international terrorist suspect for his involvement in the seizure of Suvarnabhumi Airport last December, former senator Sak Korsaengruang said yesterday.
“In the past, the courts have struck down charges filed by police that were deemed too harsh,” Sak explained.
Since police have just issued a summons to question Kasit and had not yet formally indicted him, concerned parties should not draw a hasty conclusion before the legal proceedings are completed, he said.
Sak said he was interested to see if the police would actually file a terrorism charge against Kasit, if the public prosecutors would endorse this report and if the judicial review would rule the airport seizure as an act of terrorism.
Sak ruled out speculation that the attempt to charge Kasit might influence police proceedings against other leaders of the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD).
“Each case will be based on evidence and pertinent facts. It is unjustified to draw a sweeping conclusion from the Kasit case,” he said.
With regard to calls for Kasit to quit his ministerial post, he said there were no legal provisions for a minister to resign while trying to clear his name.
New Politics Party’s secretary-general Suriyasai Katasila said he saw no justification in removing Kasit before the outcome of the legal proceedings.
“If the prime minister decides to remove Kasit, then he should have an explanation, since Kasit has not violated any of the nine ethical rules deemed as misconduct,” he said.
PAD leaders will be meeting their lawyers tomorrow before reporting to police on July 16 and facing charges similar to those of Kasit, he said.
“The charge of international terrorism is considered trumped up and PAD leaders will fight to the full extent of the law in order to clear their names,” he said.
Suriyasai said he was optimistic that none of the suspects involved in the airport seizure would be prosecuted for international terrorism, adding that some investigators had voiced objection to branding rally organisers and protesters as terrorists.
He said the Pheu Thai Party had no cause to demand the resignation of Kasit. Should Kasit be obligated to quit, as claimed by the main opposition party, then a large number of opposition lawmakers also should resign because they have been charged for their involvement in the red-shirt protests, Suriyasai added.
Former foreign minister Noppadon Patama said Kasit should look into his conscience to determine if he still had the credibility to remain in office.
Democrat MP Thepthai Senapong said the Democrat Party would rally behind Kasit’s decision to carry on as Foreign Minister.
By THE NATION
Published on July 8, 2009