PAD asks NACC to reconsider dropping Somchai case

PAD asks NACC to reconsider dropping Somchai case

Yellow-shirt protesters surrender to riot police in front of parliament in Bangkok in this Oct. 7, 2008 file photo. (Photo by Sarot Meksophawannakul)
Yellow-shirt protesters surrender to riot police in front of parliament in Bangkok in this Oct. 7, 2008 file photo. (Photo by Sarot Meksophawannakul)

The People's Alliance for Democracy on Wednesday asked the National Anti-Corruption Commission to reconsider its plan to drop a lawsuit against former prime minister Somchai Wongsawat and others for dispersal of yellow-shirt protesters in 2008.

PAD lawyer Nitithorn Lamlua, along with members and relatives of those killed and injured Oct 7, 2008 at parliament, submitted the petition to Suthi Boonmee, director of the NACC's Information and Special Affairs Office.

The case stems from the dispersal of PAD protesters who blocked Mr Somchai, then prime minister, from entering parliament to deliver a government policy address.

The NACC charged Mr Somchai and former prime minister Chavalit Yongchaiyudh with malfeasance for ordering the crackdown, which led to one death and many injuries.

Also charged were Pol Gen Patcharawat Wongsuwon, the younger brother of Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon, and Pol Lt Gen Suchart Muankaew, former commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Bureau.

Mr Nitithorn said the case has been accepted for consideration by the Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions.

In mid-April, the NACC agreed by a vote of 6-1 to give itself the power to withdraw cases it had submitted to the court, including the case against Mr Somchai, Gen Chavalit, Pol Gen Patcharawat and Pol Lt Gen Suchart.

Mr Nitithorn said this was not allowed by the Anti-Corruption Act or the NACC's regulations. If the NACC insisted in withdrawing the case, the PAD would file a lawsuit against it for malfeasance, said the lawyer.

Mr Nitithorn said this had nothing to do with the fact that an accused, Pol Gen Patcharawat, had the same family name as Gen Prawit.

"The case involves people who are affected and have not been taken care of.  The Central Administrative Court has ruled that the police did not properly follow the procedures.  So, it is a case of malfeasance on the part of state officials," he said.

Mr Nitithorn said after submitting the petition the PAD would follow up the NACC's move concerning this case.  If the NACC withdrew the case, the PAD would sue the NACC, he added.

The PAD might also file a petition with the Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions, he said.

The lawyer said the government would be in trouble if this case was treated in a way to destroy the justice process.

Panthep Puapongpan, a PAD core member, said he believed the NACC would not withdraw the case as doing so would destroy the legitimacy and credibility of the government because the present members of the NACC were appointed by the National Council for Peace and Order.

If Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and Gen Prawit turned a blind eye to this matter, PAD core members would regroup to demand justice, said Mr Panthep.


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