People’s Alliance Slams Army Chief over Inaction in Sondhi Case

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The People’s Alliance for Democracy urges civil organizations to voice their opposition against the red-shirt campaign seeking a royal pardon for ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra. The group also calls on top security officials, particularly the Army chief, to re-evaluate themselves.

After the meeting to assess the current political situation, core leaders of the People’s Alliance for Democracy said in a press conference that national security is among their major concerns as Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban, Defence Minister General Prawit Wongsuwan and the Armed Forces commanders have proven incapable. They said it is time for these people, who oversee the country’s security, to re-evaluate themselves.

anupong_thumb1Army chief General Anupong Paochinda became the focus of criticism for his ignorance on movements against the Monarchy, particularly the red-shirt and the Pheu Thai Party’s campaign to seek a royal pardon for fugitive former premier Thaksin Shinwatra.

The group pointed out that the inaction of the Army chief has sent a wrong message to departments and officers under his command. They said he ignored the problem until the push for royal pardon developed and has now become the biggest threat to the Monarchy in Thai history.

The government was also slammed for the same failure. PAD leaders called on civil organizations to come out and oppose movements against the Monarchy.

General Anupong was also accused of failing to protect the country’s sovereignty over the Phreah Vihear dispute. The group claimed that secret talks with Cambodia during the Thaksin administration caused Thailand to lose rights over the disputed area.

The PAD’s core leaders then called on the Army chief to take a clear stand on the assassination attempt against their colleague Sondhi Limthongkul as the crime did not involve a personal conflict, but a political one.

They said the investigation clearly indicates the shooting in April was the work of officials from the Special Warfare Unit, directly supervised by the Army chief, but his action has never indicated his intention to support the investigation.

The group claimed General Anupong did not fulfill his responsibility by sending soldiers wanted in the case to investigators even though he pledged to give full cooperation to the investigation team.

The PAD stated General Anupong must make clear his stand on Sondhi’s case as he could be seen as an obstacle to the justice system.

They cited the United Kingdom as an example, where people in power could be sacked when being accused of hindering the judicial process.

TAN, 13 August 2009

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