Abhisit sends lawyer to hear charge

Abhisit sends lawyer to hear charge

Former prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva on Tuesday acknowledged a malfeasance charge filed against him by the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) over his role in the 2010 military crackdowns on red-shirt protesters.

The Democrat leader sent his lawyer Bundit Sitthipan to hear the charge at the NACC on his behalf.

The charge was filed last month at the urging of the NACC sub-panel investigating the April 2010 crackdown on red-shirt protesters. Also facing the charge is former deputy prime minister Suthep Thaugsuban, now a monk.

Speaking after meeting the NACC, Mr Bundit said he was not worried about the case, because Mr Abhisit issued orders in accordance with a decree on emergency situations. He said the orders, which were signed by the former deputy prime minister, were made in writing, not verbally.

The panel's report said Mr Abhisit and Phra Suthep ordered armed forces to disperse peaceful protesters. Following the April crackdown, Mr Abhisit and Phra Suthep failed to revise their methods, and launched another deadly crackdown in May. There were more than 90 deaths and many injuries in the two incidents.

Mr Bundit insisted the methods were revised, noting a report by then army chief Anupong Paojinda referring to the matter would be included in Mr Abhisit's defence. However, he declined to say if Mr Abhisit would call Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon and Gen Anupong as his witnesses.

Earlier, Mr Abhisit said the three could provide information about the crackdowns because they were part of the now-defunct Centre for the Resolution of the Emergency Situation which oversaw the operations.

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