File photo : Anchalee Paireerak, one of PAD core members.
The Criminal Court acquitted 32 core members of the now defunct People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) political group today. They had been charged with insurrection for seizing Don Mueang airport from November 24 until December 3, 2008, in an attempt to force the resignation of the Somchai Wongsawat government.
The court did, however, impose a 20,000 baht fine on 13 of the defendants for trespass and violation of the Emergency Decree in force at the time.
The court ruled that there was insufficient evidence to prove that all 32 defendants had committed insurrection, assaulted officials or obstructed them in the performance of duty, illegally detained any official or disrupted communications system and air travel services during the protest at the airport. The protest was also peaceful and the protesters were unarmed.
One of the defendants, Praphan Koonmee, said he accepts the court’s verdict, while insisting that their protest was peaceful.
Former Bangkok Governor Srimuang and former labour leader Therdpoom Jaidee did not attend the hearing today, due to illness, while the rest were present.
Other defendants include Sonthi Limthongkul, of the Manager media group, Phiphop Thongchai, Suriyasai Katasila, Sirichai Mai-ngam, Savit Kaewwan, Anchalee Paireerak and Samran Rodpetch.