DSI set to charge protest leaders

DSI set to charge protest leaders

A day after protesters stormed the Department of Special Investigation's offices, the crime agency is stepping up measures to charge its 38 leaders with insurrection.

Tarit Pengdith, the DSI director-general, said yesterday the court has approved arrest warrants for the People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC)'s secretary-general Suthep Thaugsuban.

The DSI also has issued a summons to 37 other leaders.

They will be called in to acknowledge charges tomorrow and Friday, and on Jan 2-3 at the DSI headquarters in the government complex on Chaeng Wattana Road.

The protest leaders will be charged with insurrection by attempting to overthrow the government, inciting people to break the law, instigating chaos and violence and insulting foreign states' representatives.

"After we complete our inquiries, the DSI will take the suspects to the Criminal Court and ask the court to issue a detention order for them," Mr Tarit said.

He said the DSI would object to bail because the suspects have continuously broken the law. If they were granted bail, it is highly possible they would cause chaos again, he said.

The others who stand to be charged are Sathit Wongnongtoey, Chumpol Julsai, Isara Somchai, Witthaya Kaewparadai, Thaworn Senneam, Natthapol Teepsuwan and Akanat Promphan.

The list also includes Anchalee Paireerak, Nitithorn Lamlua, Uthai Yodmanee, Saemdin Lertbutr, Preecha Iamsuphan, Somkiat Pongpaibul, Yossak Kosaikanon, Supawat Supiyapanich and Somboon Thongburan.

The DSI chief said if those protest leaders did not show up following the summons, the DSI would seek arrest warrants. If they led protesters to raid the DSI again, the agency would add charges of invading state offices and obstructing justice.

Mr Tarit said the DSI and security authorities would not confront protesters but would wait for conditions to calm and then arrest the leaders. The charges' statute of limitations lasts for 20 years.

Phaiboon Nititawan, a senator from the anti-government Group of 40 Senators, said the committee on good governance would consider Mr Tarit's actions towards the protesters.

"We have asked Mr Tarit to meet us on Friday and hope he will come as called," he said.

The protesters led by the Network of Students and People for Reform of Thailand (NSPRT), Mr Nitithorn and the People's Democratic Reform Committee co-leader Ms Anchalee stormed the DSI on Monday, demanding to see evidence for charging the protest leaders.

The group entered the building and forced DSI officials to leave.

They also placed two large pictures of Mr Tarit by the building stairs and threw their shoes at them.

The protesters also demanded the DSI accept as a special case the complaint against 312 MPs and senators who rejected the Constitution Court's powers to rule on the amnesty dispute.

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