TWO EX-THAI PMS
Court says none of the defendants bore direct responsibility
THAILAND’S highest court yesterday acquitted two former prime ministers and two former top police officers over their role in a 2008 crackdown on antigovernment protesters that killed two people.
Former premier Somchai Wongsawat and his then-deputy Chavalit Yongchaiyudh faced negligence charges over a police operation to remove protesters who had laid seige to Parliament.
The deadly incident was one of many violent flare-ups over the past decade between their political camp, a populist movement led by former premier Thaksin Shinawtra, and a conservative Bangkok-based establishment.
Police fought pitched battles with demonstrators, some of whom possessed home-made bombs, and fired multiple rounds of tear gas. Two died and hundreds were wounded.
After the military seized power in 2014, authorities put the four men on trial.
But in its ruling yesterday, nine judges dismissed the case, arguing that authorities had a responsibility to clear the protesters because they had not remained peaceful and that none of the defendants bore direct responsibility for the deaths.
“The protesters surrounded Parliament and threatened to storm the building, therefore it