Court dismisses PAD temple charges

Court dismisses PAD temple charges

This February, 2011, rally over the Preah Vihear temple court case was staged by the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) and brought criminal charges, which were dismissed on Wednesday. (Bangkok Post file photo by Natthiti Ampriwan)

The Dusit District Court on Wednesday dismissed a case against 10 leading members of the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) charged with violating the Internal Security Act for staging a rally in 2011 over the Preah Vihear temple dispute with Cambodia.

The court said the security law came into being nearly a month after the rally and could not be retroactively applied, so the case was dismissed.

The PAD members are Maj Gen Chamlong Srimuang, Sondhi Limthongkul, Prapan Khoonmee, Parnthep Pourpongpan, Rak Rakpong or Samana Pothirak, Suriyasai Katasila, Therdphum Jaidee, Pibhop Dhongchai, Ratchayut or Amorn Sirayothinpakdi, and Thossapol Kaewthima.

The prosecution submitted the indictment to the court on March 10, 2015.

In the indictment, the prosecution said that on Feb 8, 2011, the 10 PAD leaders set up a stage blocking traffic on Ratchadamnoen Nok Avenue near the Chamai Maruchet Bridge to demonstrate under the name of the Thai Patriots Network.

They took turns delivering speeches attacking the then-government of prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva over its handling of the Preah Vihear temple dispute with Cambodia.

At the same time, a group of PAD members set up another stage near the Makkhawan Rangsan Bridge.

The rallies breached the security law that the government had imposed in Phra Nakhon, Pomprap Sattruphai, Pathumwan, Dusit, Wang Thonglang, Watthana and Ratchathewi districts.

The 10 PAD leaders denied the charges in an earlier inquiry.

They were later released without having to apply for bail. All 10 appeared before the court yesterday to hear the ruling.

Sondhi, who is serving a 20-year-jail sentence handed down by the Supreme Court in a case involving a breach of the Securities and Exchange Act on Sept 6 last year, was also taken to the Dusit District Court.