Big Question for this government (3): When will the terrorists seizing the airports going to jail? This is ‘Solving Problem, Not Revenge’.
Solving Problem, Not Seeking Revenge: 3 months had passed since Yingluck became Prime Minister. No sign from the government that the injustice problems were being corrected. The Judicial process related to People’s Alliance for Democracy, PAD, seizure of airports stalled. In the past 3 years, the PAD airport seizure case never reached any criminal court. .The Judicial process that related to terrorism act of airport seizure by PAD got stuck in neutral after two and a half years of police investigation and half a year in the prosecutor’s office while the Red Shirts got ‘short end of the stick’--- arrests made, jail term handed out rapidly and bails hardly came by, it was a true ‘Double standard’.
Today at 5 PM (25 November 2011), marked the third anniversary, or one thousand and ninety five days, had passed since the PAD’s seizure of the Suvarnnabhumi International airport. None of them served any jail term, all still free.
Their serious crime could constitute ‘terrorism’ act, which punishable by death. However, the charge had never been filed and was withheld by the police investigators for two and a half years.
Once reached the prosecutor office on 11 May 2011, the prosecutor kept it for another half a year. In all, 3 years had passed; no charge filed.
The Big Questions for the Thai Judicial system are--- when will the prosecutor office file charge against the PAD? When will the criminal court proceed with the case? How long would the court take to render verdict? And when or whether the terrorists who seized and blockaded the airports will ever face jail term?
Another Big Question is why the Red Shirts were treated differently comparing to Yellow Shirt PAD? Their ‘terrorism’ charge went to court right away. No bail allowed. They had been in jail since.
If the answer for not granting Red Shirts bails because it was too serious of a crime, a capital charges, afraid of escape, and so on, then why the Yellow Shirts PAD did not face the same thing.
Is it because there's a ‘State within a State’ in Thai society where the ‘Hidden hands’ of the ‘Hidden state’ helped protect this gang? If it is then those ‘Hidden hands’ ought to be brought to justice too as ‘Partner in Crime’.
And if there is no ‘State within State’, then the question is why the government did not pay attention to this issue? The government behaves just like two-and-a-half-years of Abhisit Vejjajiva government. Is this government crippled, weak; felt powerless even though 15.7 million Thais gave them mandate to run the government in a landslide victory?
The Abhisit government kept this case for two and a half years. The Yingluck government promised to people that it would ‘fix the problem, not seek revenge’. This is the opportune time for this government to ‘Fix the Problem’. This is not a Revenge!
When will the government going to be serious?
The third anniversary of the PAD seizure of the airport falls on 25 November 2011. The case is still pending, and has not reached any criminal court. This ‘political gang’ has reactionary idea with right-wing-fascist-like ideology. They are going to cause trouble again to the elected government.
3 Years of PAD Case
On the evening of 25 November 2008, the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) seized the airport. The PAD issued a statement stating the reason:
“In order to force Somchai Wongsawat and his cabinet to resign, PAD needs to escalate our protest and our civil disobedience by taking the airports. We issued this statement to the people in hope that it reaches the People’s Power Party (PPP) government”.
Government declared state of emergency around the two occupied airports and ordered police, with assistance from the military, to clear out the PAD forces. The order had been approved by the court but the military refused to help; PAD ignored the order. It was well known that PAD had ‘High level’ backing, no one dared saying.
It was estimated that 600,000 people stranded. Virtually all of Thailand’s international air connections stopped. Farmer Bank Research Center estimated that the damage was in the ball park of 200 billion baht, not to mention damaging to Thailand image.
3 December 2008, court ordered the dissolution of the PPP and two other coalition parties from election irregularity which resulted in the dissolution of the Somchai government. PAD declared victory, and Major Gen Chamlong Srimuang held ‘Returning the Airport to Authority’ Ceremony. No arrests were made to any PAD.
13 January 2009, Pol Gen Jongrak Chutanont, Deputy Director-General of Police, who was responsible for investigation the PAD incident, said the case had 70% progress.
18 February 2009, the government of Abhisit Vejjajiva transferred Pol Gen Jongrak from the investigation unit. Suthep Thaugsuban assumed responsibility.
20 February 2009, Pol Gen Chalong Sonchai, the 2nd Head of the investigators, stated that the case progressed at 80%
21 April 2009, Pol Gen Chalong stated the progress was at 95%. HHHJ He gave the reason for taking so long because it was a case of terrorism which punishable by death.
27 April 2009, there was a change to the head of the Investigation unit again; this time was Pol Gen Voot Puavate.
4 July 2009, Pol Gen Voot charged PAD with Terrorism and issued summons for the first time.
16 July 2009, not only PAD said they would not report to the authority, they held protest in front of the Police club declaring that they would not accept the charge and demanded change to charge. Pol Gen Voot joined the PAD stage and declared PAD were ‘Do Good-ers’.
9 September 2009, there was another change to the head of the investigation unit. This was the fourth time. Pol Gen Somyote Phumpanmuang, Assistance Director General of the Police, who was close to Newin Chidchop, said he would issue another subpoena but would not issue arrest warrants.
26 August 2010, 69 PAD who were charged with the airport seizure, reported to the authority. All were out on bails. Threats were made to Pol Gen Somyote, while another 45 PAD did not show up. The Police requested court approval to issue arrest warrants, the request was denied on the ground that it lacked ‘clear’ evidence, and the court did not believe the accused would flee.
3 November 2010, Director-General of Police, Pol Gen Wichian Pojphosri said he would file charge in one week, then silence.
19 November 2010, the case went back to Pol General Somyote. Meeting was held at 10 am to finalize the case. The consensus was to file terrorism charge against those 114 people. The recommendation would be made to the Director-General of Police.
25 November 2010, the 2nd anniversary of PAD’ seizure of airports, PAD demonstrated in front of the Parliament to voice against 2007-Constitution Amendments plan. The 2007 Constitution came from the military coup.
26 March 2011, the Civil Court ordered 13 leaders of PAD to pay 522 million baht in damage to Airport Authority of Thailand.
3 July 2011, the PAD campaigned for a ‘No Vote’ failed miserably, one million ‘No Vote', while Pheu Thai Party received 15.7 million votes, a landslide victory.
Back to 11 May 2011, Police sent the case to Prosecutor’s office requesting them to file terrorism charge against 15 PAD leaders. The names of 15 PAD leaders follow:
Major Gen Chamlong Srimuang, Sondhi Limthongkul, Pipop Thongchai, Somsak Kosaisuuk, Suriyasai Katasila, Somkiat Pongpaiboon, Naranyo or Saranyu Wongkrachang, Sirichai Maingarm, Samran Rodpet, Maneerat Kaewka, Sub lieutenant Royal Navy Samdin Lertbuud, Police Lt Col Santana Prayoonrat, Chana Parsooksakul, Surawit Weerawan, Rachayut or Amornthep or Amorn Siriyothinpakdi or Amornrattananon.
The Prosecutor’s office kept postponing no less than 10 times. Latest, on 20 October 2011, there supposed to be a hearing but nothing happened. Massive Flooding problem faced the government, and it took over the news. PAD’s case ‘drowned’ in flooding news.
22 July 2011, former Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya reported to authority. Kasit was charged but not on terrorism.
15 August 2011, Human Right Watch sent a letter to Prime Minister Yingluck expressing concerned about the progress of human rights situation in Thailand. The letter read in part:
“To date, there has been no independent and impartial investigation into the politically motivated violence that the PAD committed during its 2008 protests, including unlawful use of force, violence in street battles after the march to Parliament on October 7, and forcible occupation of Government House and Bangkok’s airports. Prosecutions of PAD leaders and members have stalled, as have efforts to seek financial compensation for damages caused by their protest, amid a growing public perception that the PAD is immune from legal accountability”.
4 September 2011, police made the first PAD arrest, Chaiporn Kerdmongkol, 59, or Jume Dankian.
7 September 2011, Pramote Nakornsup arrested, later free on bail. He did not face terrorism charge.
21 November 2011, PAD met at Sondhi Limthongkul’s residence. Chamlong, the number 2 PAD, declared intention to oust the current government which won elections in a landslide.
In summary, since 11 May 2011, the day in which the police sent the case to prosecutor’s office, no charge had been filed against PAD. No less than 10 times, the prosecutors kept delaying. Ever since 20 October 2011 the case disappeared in the flooding news.
3 years had passed no case for court. How did they do it?
H E L L O Thailand!
‘Talk VS. Evidence’, is the Death penalty too harsh for PAD Terrorism Act?
The Thai version of this article first published on 10 July 2009
The Thaienews developed question-and-answer for our readers to judge for themselves in respond to PAD’s complaint that ‘Terrorism’ charge against them was too extreme.
Q- Was it too extreme to place the core leaders of PAD with ‘Terrorism’ charge for seizing the airports?
A- The issue was not whether the charge was extreme or not, but had to do with what crime committed and what the laws said.
First, please be clear that there were two charges, one for Donmuang airport seizure and another for Suvarnnabhumi airport seizure. On Donmuang, there was no terrorism charge against the PAD because Donmuang is not an International airport. So, the charge for Donmuang was related to ‘trespassing’, while Suvarnnabhumi was a different story. Suvannabhumi is an international airport protected by Thai laws and the International Agreement.
On 14 May 1996, Thailand agreed to sign as part of signatories to the ‘Montreal Convention’, which designed to suppress unlawful acts against the safety of Civil Aviation. It requires parties to the Convention to make offences punishable by ‘sever penalties’; and requires parties that have custody of offenders to either extradite the offenders or submit the case for prosecution.
Thailand also has laws that related to Aviation Protection. Criminal law Article 135/1 violators can be punishable by death.
So the PAD’s accusation that the charge was ‘extreme’ not warranted. It was the matter of laws and the International Agreement.
Q- Well--- it still excessive
A- Remember--- PAD occupied the airport--- PAD’s action disrupted air travelling. Over four hundred thousands, including Crown Prince of Denmark visited Thailand at the time as guest of His Majesty the King, all stranded for weeks.
PAD also stopped all flights. In all, about 88 planes affected. The U.S. Government and the European Union asked the Thai government to end the seize and asked not to let this happen again.
Hundreds of thousPAD also attacked peopleands of visitors and Thais would like to visit Thailand could not. The Bank of Thailand estimated the damage to Thailand directly or indirectly amounted to 270 billion baht.
Related Aviation agencies and companies such as Airport authority, Thai Airline, Foreign Airlines, asked the Thai government to pay them 19 billion baht for damages.
PAD attacked people. They also prevent the airport security from doing their jobs.
So, if this is not excessive, what is? Please explain.
Q- Kasit Piromya just stood up on stage, why was he charged with terrorism?
A- According to the Thai law that related to Aviation Protection of 1978, amended in 1995, stated that any person who supported the criminal offense under Section 5, Section 6, shall be liable as the offender.
Was it not, the reason Kasit joined the PAD on stage was to provide moral support? Airport during the time of PAD seizure was not the place, nor the time of ‘enjoying free food’ or for ‘music appreciation’ as claimed by Kasit.
Q- PAD did not close the airport, Airport director did
A- Well, let us look at PAD statement after the seizure.
On the evening of 25 November 2008, PAD issued a statement number 26/2551 explaining reason why they had to escalate their action. In part, it said:
“PAD needs to escalate our protest and our civil disobedience by closing the Suvarnnabhumi airport. We issued this message to the people around the country and around the world in hope that it reaches Somchai Wongsawat and his government. This is the ultimatum; they have to resign immediately and with no conditions”.
Through their action, the court was pressured to come out with verdict on election irregularity. The PPP and three other coalition parties were dissolved on 2 December 2008. That spelled the end of Somchai government. The following day at 09.20 am, Major Gen Chamlong Srimuang held ‘Giving Back Airport’ Ceremony to Vutipat Vichairat, Chairman of the Board of Airport authority in front of His Majesty the King Portrait.
It’s a ‘No-brainer’. Any person with common sense would know that, if the PAD did not take over the Suvarnnabhumi airport, why would they issue the statement they would close it? If they did not occupy and control it, why would they give it back to the authority?