PAD to ask NACC to appeal against court’s ruling

Core members of the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) will submit a petition to the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) on Monday (Aug 7), asking it to appeal against a ruling by the Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions which found four defendants not guilty in connection with the dispersal of PAD demonstrators on Oct 7, 2008.

The four defendants are former prime minister Somchai Wongsawat, former deputy prime minister Chavalit Yongchaiyudh, former police chief Patcharawat Wongsuwon and former metropolitan police chief Suchart Muankaew. They were acquitted by the Supreme Court on Wednesday (Aug 2).

The resolution came after a meeting of PAD's core members including Phibhop Dhongchai, Parnthep Pourpongpan, Suriyasai Katasila, Veera Somkwamkid and Samdin Lertbutr.

Mr Parnthep said the PAD respects the court's decision, but is of the opinion that the ruling contradicts with a ruling by the Central Administrative Court, an NACC finding, and the National Human Rights Commission's opinion which stated that the PAD gathering on Oct 7, 2008 was peaceful and without arms as allowed by the constitution.

The agencies viewed that police opted to take harsh measures in violation of the international principle by dispersing the demonstrators.

Mr Parnthep said the PAD resolved to set up a working committee to follow up the work of the NACC to make sure that the appeal is completed with all facts. The committee is chaired by Mr Veera.

The PAD also agreed to assign Mr Veera to submit a petition with the NACC headquarters in Nonthaburi province on Aug 7, urging it to appeal against the Supreme Court's ruling. The appeal is required by the law to be filed in 30 days of the ruling.

Mr Suriyasai said it was now too soon to conclude whether the NACC would appeal or not. Since the NACC had clearly said it was waiting for the full text of the court's ruling, it should be given some time to study it.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said the matter is for the NACC to decide whether to appeal. He said he had sympathy for those who lost their lives and were injured in the incident. But, he believes the court had based its ruling on evidence, adding that such an incident should not happen again in the future.

PAD warned not to engage in any political activity

Meanwhil, Army Commander-in-Chief General Chalermchai Sitthisart on Friday (Aug 4) warned core leaders of the PAD not to engage in any political activity or to hold a demonstration.

In his capacity as secretary-general of the National Council for Peace and Order, General Chalermchai said that all political activities were banned by law. However, he added that if the PAD wants to stage political activity, they must seek prior permission first from the authorities and if they activity is not against the law, then it is OK.

But if it is against the law, the army chief said that authorities concerned would have to strictly enforce the law. He added that he would equally treat all political groupings.

General Chalermchai said he would assess the political situation after Aug 15. But for the time being, he added that there is no need for any special arrangement for the judgment day for former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra on August 25.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)