Thailand: Former Prime Minister, Deputy to be Indicted for Murder

Published: 30 October 2013


Prosecutors have decided to indict former Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and his former deputy premier Suthep Thaugsuban for their role in the army crack-down on the May 2010 “red-shirt” protests which left around 90 people dead and almost 1,900 injured, according to Channel NewsAsia.

The Bangkok Post reports that Department of Special Investigation (DSI) chief Tarit Pengdith decided to indict the pair for ordering soldiers to use live ammunition against protesters who rallied to oust the Democrat Party government when Abhisit was in power.

According to Channel NewsAsia, spokesman Nanthasak Poonsuk of the Office of the Attorney-General said that "evidence shows that their orders caused others to carry out murder and attempted murder as charged."

The Bangkok Post reports that Democrat Party members believe the “move is an attempt to pressure the pair to accept the blanket amnesty proposal by the ruling Pheu Thai Party.”

The bill, which would provide amnesty to those involved in the 2010 political violence is, according to Channel News Asia, opposed by the Democrat Party because it would allow former premier Thaksin Shinawatra, the “Red Shirts' hero,” to “return from self-imposed exile.”

Abhisit said he is innocent, calling the DSI's investigation flawed and arguing that the case is “trivial when compared to what is going to happen as a result of the amnesty bill,” reports the Bangkok Post.

The newspaper quotes Sunai Phasuk, the Thailand representative of Human Rights Watch, as saying this is an “unprecedented” case, and the “first time a Thai prime minister has been indicted for a crackdown.”

Since both men are members of parliament, they have immunity until the end of the parliamentary session.