Aug 2 judgement day for ex-PM Somchai and three co-defendants

The Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Holders of Political Offices is scheduled to deliver its verdict against former prime minister Somchai Wongsawat and three high-profile defendant over the crackdown of yellow-shirted protesters at the parliament nine years ago on Aug 2.

Three other defendants are former deputy prime minister Chavalit Yongchaiyudh, former national police chief Patcharawat Wongsuwan and former metropolitan police commissioner Pol Lt-Gen Suchart Muenkaew.

The four men were charged by the public prosecutors with misuse of their authority in accordance with Section 157 of the Criminal Code and violation of Anti-Corruption Act B.E. 2542 in connection with the crackdown of the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) protesters, resulting to two killed and 471 injured.

On October 7, 2008, the PAD rallied in front of the parliament to prevent Mr Somchai and his cabinet ministers to deliver a policy statement. The demonstration turned violent after riot control police used teargas to disperse demonstrators.

The prosecution submitted a list of 66 witnesses whereas the defence submitted a list of 954 witnesses, but the court trimmed the number of witnesses who were allowed to testify to 28 for the prosecution and 106 for the defence.

The first hearing took place on April 8, 2016 and the last on April 28 this year. Mr Somchai gave his closing statement verbally on June 30 while the remaining defendants sent in their written closing statements on July 19.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)