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UDD asks NACC to revive 2010 crackdown case

Core members of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) led by Nattawut Saikuar on Thursday (Aug 17) filed a petition with the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) asking it to revive the case on the government crackdown on red-shirt protesters in 2010.

Mr Nattawut said that the decision on Aug 2 by the Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Holders of Political Position Holders to dismiss the case against former prime minister Somchai Wongsawat and three other defendants � for ordering the dispersal of the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) demonstrators on Aug 7, 2008 � can be used as new evidence to seek the revival of the case on the 2010 crackdown on the UDD protesters.

He said the two events were different in terms of the lengths of the protest, the numbers of deaths and injuries and the weapons used in the crackdowns.

In the crackdown on the UDD protesters, the authorities used war weapons, clearly defined an area where live ammunition could be used, while only tear gas canisters were used in the dispersal of the PAD demonstrators, he said.

Mr Nattawut said in handling the PAD's petition, the NACC performed its duty to the fullest of its ability. Although the prosecution did not indict the four defendants in the 2008 case, the NACC went on to hire lawyers from the Lawyers Council of Thailand to file the case with the Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions, leading to the ruling that acquitted the defendants on Aug 2 this year.

But, as for the petition filed by the UDD against the Abhisit Vejjajiva government for the 2010 crackdown, the NACC dismissed it, ending the case at the stage of investigation. This was tantamount to throwing away the people's chance to enter the justice process, Mr Nattawut said.

Mr Nattawut also made a comparision. The PAD protest lasted one day and two people were killed, while the UDD protest dragged on for longer than a month and many people were killed and wounded, some of whom were only passers-by and had nothing to do with the protest.

He questioned why the NACC had not systematically considered the UDD's petition the same way as done with the PAD's.

We would like to call for the NACC to revive the 2010 crackdown on the UDD protesters for consideration � for the sake of justice and the same standard of practice by the NACC, he said.

On Aug 2, the Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Holders of Politcal Positions acquitted former prime minister Somchai Wongsawat, former deputy prime minister Chavalit Yongchaiyudh, former national police chief Patcharawat Wongsuwon and former metropolitan police chief Suchart Muankaew accused of abuse of power in the dispersal of PAD protesters on Oct 7, 2008.

The UDD staged a lengthy protest from late 2009 after the formation of the Democrat-led government. The protest was escalated after part of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra's assets was confiscated on Feb 26, 2010. The UDD, from Mar 12, 2010, renewed the protest in Bangkok calling for the ouster of the Abhishit government, the dissolution of parliament and a new election. The protest led to the government crackdown on the red shirts on May 19 at the Ratchaprasong intersection. According to a figure of the National Institute for Emergency Medicine, 89 people were killed between April-May 2010 and many injured.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)