Suthep vows to fight cases in court

Former deputy prime minister Suthep Thaugsuban says he will fight any charges which may by filed against him in court, saying he and former prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva have been targeted for legal action by some senior figures in the government in connection with their handling of the 2010 riots.

Mr Suthep was responding to Department of Specal Investigation (DSI) chief Tarit Pengdit's comment there was a chance Mr Abhisit and Mr Suthep could be charged with murder after the Criminal Court ruled that a taxi driver was killed by bullets fired by soldiers ordered to the location by the Centre for the Resolution of Emergency Situations (CRES). Mr Suthep, as deputy prime minister, was the director of the centre at the time.

If charges were filed against him, he would report to the authorities to acknowledge them, and would then fight the charges in the courts to finally establish the facts about the riots.

"There is no reason (for the authorities) to take legal action against those who performed their duty to maintain law and order for the safety of the lives and property of the people, and to protect their rights from being infringed on by rioters and terrorists shooting at people and authorities with war weapons.

"In such a situation, it is the duty of any government to quell the riots," Mr Suthep said.

The former CRES director said during the early period of the riots the security forces were told to use only shields, clubs, water cannons, tear gas and rubber bullets.

But, after April 10, 2010 when "men in black" emerged, using war weapons to attack the authorities and the people, troops were allowed to use their weapons to protect themselves and the people's lives.

"We never ordered the soldiers to use force and weapons to break up the protesters.  The operation launched on April 10, 2010 was to retake occupied traffic space on Ratchadamnern Avenue. 

"On May 19, government forces were used to retake Lumpini Park which had been occupied and used as a terrorist base," Mr Suthep said.

Mr Suthep said he would not say whether Mr Tarit had breached professional ethics by talking about possible legal action to be taken him and Mr Abhisit in public.

"It is obvious that the government and the red-shirts are trying to distort the facts.  They become disgruntled  whenever people speak the truth.  This was seen from the way they expressed disapproval of the Truth for Reconciliation Commission's report," he said.

The former deputy prime minister said he would not manipulate any cases brought against him to trigger a conflict in the country.  He would not call on the people to fight for him.

"But the people should not let themselves be forced to accept a sham reconciliation law or an attempt to rewrite the constitution to give some people the power to take complete control of the country's administration.

"Action taken against me and Mr Abhisit should not create fear and make people agree to support their intention to grant an amnesty (for wrongdoers).

"We have declared we will fight to the end, both inside and outside parliament, against any laws - no matter what they may be called - to whitewash the cheats or those who broke the law and hurt the people.

"If there is an attempt to rewrite the whole constitution without the people's approval, I would fight against it," Mr Suthep said.

Mr Suthep also said he did not believe the government would follow the truith commission's recommendation that it delay aplans to amend the charter or issue an amnesty law.

The government had approved a fund of nearly 100 million baht for the Interior Ministry to launch a campaign to get the people to agree with it, he added.

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