Army to "Reconsider" PCAD Wanted List: DSI

Anti-government leader Suthep Thaugsuban, 20 May 2014.

BANGKOK — The military will deliberate on whether to suspend arrest warrants for anti-government activists, said chief of the Division of Special Investigation.

Tharit Pengdith said he has instructed officials to submit all arrest warrants for leads of the anti-government People's Committee for Absolute Democracy With the King As Head of State (PCAD) to the army tomorrow for "consideration."

"The DSI is willing to proceed with whatever actions [the military] deems appropriate," Mr. Tharit said.

The comment came a day after Mr Tharit attended a meeting with army chief Gen. Prayuth, who declared martial law before dawn on Tuesday with the stated aim of preventing violent clashes between pro- and anti-government protest groups. 

Media reports indicate that Gen. Prayuth scolded Mr. Tharit in yesterday’s meeting for the arrest warrants on more than 30 PCAD leaders and activists, who are wanted on insurrection charges and other offences related to their campaign against the government.

Gen. Prayuth allegedly told Mr. Tharit that the mass arrest warrants are a "mess" and are  not constructive to the army's effort to find a peaceful solution to the country's crisis. He also reportedly asked Mr. Tharit to cease his duty as the DSI chief.

In an interview today, Mr. Tharit admitted that Gen. Prayuth expressed his wish that the arrest warrants be "delayed."

Mr. Tharit stressed that he was not intent on hunting down the leaders of the opposition, and that he was merely performing his duty as the head of the law enforcement agency.

"If we do not proceed with the arrest warrants, we might be held accountable for negligence of duty," Mr. Tharit said.

Nevertheless, he said he has decided to "suspend" the summons warrant on Senate Speaker Surachai Liangboonlertchai, who was wanted on charges of insurrection for privately meeting with PCAD leader Suthep Thaugsuban at the Parliament earlier this month.

 

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