The People’s Alliance for Democracy on Tuesday sought the replacement of police investigators handling the Don Mueang and Suvarnabhumi airports blockade case.
The PAD’s request was made in a petition for justice submitted by lawyer Nitithorn Lamlua to police chief Gen Patcharawat Wongsuwan.
Thirty-six leaders of the PAD have been summoned to report to police on Thursday to hear criminal charges, including acts of terrorism, in relation with the blockade of Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang airports late last year.
Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya also lodged a petition seeking justice, asking police to review and withdraw all charges filed against him, set up a committee to probe investigators handling the case, and temporarily halt the investigation.
The petition was handed to police chief Gen Patcharawat Wongsuwan by Nitithorn Lamlua, Mr Kasit’s lawyer.
Mr Kasit is one of 36 people summoned by police to hear criminal charges, including acts of terrorism and violation of the emergency law, in connection with the PAD’s blockade of two airports from Nov 25 to Dec 2 last year in a drive to out the Somchai Wongsawat government.
Mr Nitithorn said Mr Kasit had already reported to police to hear charges against him. Mr Kasit denied the charges and asked for 30 days to submit additional testimony, saying that the charges were unfounded and exaggerated.
The lawyer said Mr Kasit’s speech made on the PAD stage on Nov 30 was to express his opinion and criticise the government – action allowed by the constitution. He was not part of the occupation.
The terrorism charges against Mr Kasit were unreasonable because he caused no damage to Suvarnabhumi airport. Moreover, the PAD’s protest at the airport was not in violation of the emergency law.
Mr Nitithorn said other PAD suspects in the case would report to police on Thursday as required to acknowledge the charges against them.
Mr Kasit would continue to perform his duties as foreign minister until such time as the prosecution decides to indict him on terrorism charges, the foreign minister’s lawyer said.
Assistant police chief Lt-Gen Wuthi Puawes, head of the investigation team, said police had sufficient evidence and witnesses to substantiate the charges.
At the same time, the prosecution has postponed its decision whether to indict nine leaders of the anti-Thaksin group for the seizure of Government House last year for 30 days.
The decision was originally set to be made on Tuesday.
In this case, nine PAD leaders have been charged by police with causing public disturbance and instigating unrest in connection with the seizure of Government House. They are Maj-Gen Chamlong Srimuang, Sondhi Limthongkul, Somsak Kosaisuk, Pibhop Dhongchai, Somkiat Pongpaiboon, Suriyasai Katasila, Chaiwat Sinsuwong, Amorn Amornrattananont and Therdphum Jaidee.
A source at the Criminal Litigation Department of the Office of the Attorney General said the postponement was allowed after the suspects asked police to interrogate 38 more witnesses and the police have not yet finished their work.
The prosecution has set Sept 10 to make the decision
BangkokPost.com, Published 14/07/2009
Foreign Minister Disputes Terrorism Charge
The police officer in charge of the People’s Alliance for Democracy’s airport closure case say he is disheartened by accusations that he has been unfair. Meanwhile, the Foreign Minister has sought nullification of the terrorism charge against him, saying the accusation has no merit
Nitithorn Lumlua, the lawyer representing Foreign Minister Kasit Priomya, today submitted a complaint to national police chief Police General Patcharawat Wongsuwan against the terrorism charge cited in the summon issued to the minister for his participation in the People’s Alliance for Democracy’s closure of Suvarnabhumi Airport last year.
Nitithorn said the accusation is false.
The lawyer is also calling for establishment of a committee to investigate the police team responsible for the airport closure cases and for this team to cease its duty.
The minister has submitted his written clarification on the case, saying there is no evidence to show he committed wrongdoing or was involved in directing the rally. He said he did not take up arms and was merely exercising his constitutional right to express his opinions.
Meanwhile, assistant national police chief Police Lieutenant General Wut Puavej admitted to feeling disheartened after the PAD submitted a complaint against his role in heading the investigation. He said he is considering departing all PAD-related cases as there is distrust in his performance.
However, the officer assured he has done his best in the investigation as there was strong evidence leading to the summons against the suspects.
In another case, public prosecutors have postponed arraignment of nine PAD members for allegedly instigating social disorder, which is punishable with a seven-year jail term. They are also facing charges of instigating chaos, punishable by three years in jail.
The charges stem from the PAD’s occupation of Government House during the administrations of Samak Sundaravej and Somchai Wongsawat.
The prosecutors’ arraignment decision has been postponed to September 18.
The delay resulted from a request by those accused, asking for questioning of 38 more eyewitnesses. Moreover, one of the accused, Sondhi Limthongkul, is still in the recovery period after surviving an assassination attack in April while others cannot attend the arraignment session as they have to prepare to meet with police investigators this Thursday to hear charges relating to the Don Muang and Suvarnabhumi airport protests.
The nine named in this case are Sondhi Limthongkul, Major General Chamlong Srimuang, Phipob Thongchai, Somsak Kosaisuk, Somkiat Pongpaiboon, Suriyasai Katasila, Amorn Amornrattananont, Therdphum Jaidee and Chaiwat Sinsuwong .
National police chief asked to intervene to cancel terrorism charge for Kasit
The defence team of Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya on Tuesday filed a petition asking the national police chief to override the investigators in accusing him of trumped-up offences, including an act of international terrorism
Kasit reported for questioning last week related to his involvement in the Suvarnabhumi Airport seizure in December. He denied all charges filed by police and promised to submit his statement in writing within 30 days.
His defence lawyer Nitithorn Lamlua said the petition for a review of charges was an additional step to ensure justice for his client.
“From my examination of the police work, Kasit has been unfairly charged, the police re-enactment of the airport seizure is lopsided and biased and there is no evidence how the socalled international terrorism took place,” he said.
He said the investigators seemed to have fabricated the terrorism offence without any evidence to back up.
If the airport seizure were to be classified as international terrorism, then the investigators should be able to explain who were in the terrorist cell, what was Kasit’s role, who was his controller and where was the meeting to hatch the terror attack, he said.