Abhisit and Suthep Acquitted of Murder for 2010 Crackdown

Former Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, head of the Democrat Party speaks to reporters Wednesday at the Appeal Court in Bangkok.

BANGKOK — Former Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and his former deputy Suthep Thaugsuban were acquitted by the Appeal Court today of murder charges stemming from the military crackdown they ordered on Redshirt demonstrators in 2010.

The Appeal Court upheld a 2014 lower court ruling that although Abhisit and Suthep authorized the order, which sent soldiers to clear the streets and left at least 20 people dead, in their legal capacity at the time, the Department of Special Investigation did not have the authority to investigate the case.

The suit was filed by families of three killed during the crackdown.

Suthep, who went on to lead the street protests which helped dislodge the Redshirt-backed government elected in the wake of 2010, declined to comment on the decision.

Abhisit said after the ruling that the case isn’t settled yet, as prosecutors could take it further to the Supreme Court.

Chokchai Angkaew, a lawyer representing the families, said he will collect more evidence and appeal the ruling. Being prime minister and deputy prime minister, he said, did not mean they could authorize murder.

Additional reporting Sasiwan Mokkhasen