Suthep Summoned For Court Appearance By January

Soldiers face off with Redshirts protesters on Rama IV Road, 14 May 2010.

(18 December) The court has instructed anti-government protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban to appear before the judges for the murder charges he is facing.

Mr. Suthep and former Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva have been charged with murders for their roles in authorising the military crackdown on the Redshirts protesters in 2010 which killed over 90 people, mostly civilians. Mr. Suthep served as Mr. Abhisit′s deputy at the time.
Mr. Abhisit had already appeared before the judges last week but Mr. Suthep′s lawyer has asked the court to postpone his client′s appearance, citing the ongoing protests against Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra led by Mr. Suthep.
The court has agreed with the postponement request, spokesman of the General Attorney Office said on Monday, and has summoned Mr. Suthep to report to the judges on 8 January 2014. 
The court believes that the political situation should have been less tense by the appointed time, allowing Mr. Suthep to commute to the court, the spokesman added.
On 16 December the South Bangkok Criminal Court also heard testimonies from witnesses in the inquest of Mr. Kiattikun Chatvirasakul and Mr. Prachuab Prachuabsuk, two victims killed in the military operation near Redshirts encampment at Rama IV Road on 16 May 2010.
One of the witnesses, an injured Redshirt protester, told the court he was driving motorcycle to his home at 19.00 on Rama IV Road but was stopped by the security forces who were blocking the roads near Suan Lum Night Bazaar, so he parked his motorcycle underneath the tollway road and joined the Redshirts rallies.
By 20.00, the witness said, around 10-20 Redshirts protesters were injured by the military gunfire. The injured were shot in their legs, shoulders, waists, and backs, the witness said. 
"I?ve seen them getting shot, with my own eyes," the witness testified. 
The witness reportedly helped transport around 10 injured Redshirts away from the clashes by carrying one protester on his motorcycle at a time. Later on 00.30, the witness said, he saw another injured individual near Soi Ngamduplee, so he and another protester drove motorcycle to pick up the injured. 
As they were driving along Rama IV Road, according the witness, an explosive device dropped onto the road in front of his motorcycle and exploded, causing the motorcycle to fall. Gunshots later rang out, witness said. 


The witness told the court he was injured by the explosion, while another protester who was riding on motorcycle with him was shot by the gunfire from Suan Lum Night Bazaar direction. 

He added that most of injured protesters he had reportedly helped rescue throughout the day were shot from direction of Thai-Belgium Bridge, where the military personnel were reportedly positioned. Gunfire could be heard ringing out from that direction continuously, he said.
The witness also told the court he has seen no armed militants inside the group of protesters, and the protesters were armed with only slingshots and fireworks. None carried firearm or grenades, the witness said.

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