Former Thai PM charged with murder over deadly crackdown on protests


This picture taken on April 10, 2010 shows antigovernment protesters confronting soldiers in Bangkok, Thailand.


Athit Perawongmetha

Former Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and his deputy, Suthep Thaugsuban, have been charged with the murder of a taxi driver during a military crackdown on antigovernment protesters in 2010, the New York Times reported today.

Abhisit was found culpable in the death of Phan Khamkong because he allowed troops to use weapons and live ammunition against protesters, Al Jazeera reported, citing Tharit Pengdit, the director of Thailand’s Department of Special Investigation.

Tharit said those orders “caused the deaths of many people,” the New York Times reported.

More than 90 people, mostly civilians, were killed during the often-violent demonstrations that blocked off parts of central Bangkok and led to the crackdown.

The protesters, supporters of another former prime minister, Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted in a military coup in 2006, took to the streets in March 2010 to demand fresh elections, Reuters reported.

Abhisit’s Democrat Party lost the national elections last year to Yingluck Shinawatra, the younger sister of Thaksin, and he is now the leader of the opposition, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Chavanond Intarakomalyasut, a spokesman for the Democrat Party, said the murder charges were “politically motivated” and abuse of government's power to threaten its opponents,” the New York Times and Al Jazeera reported.

The pair could face the death penalty if found guilty. 

More from GlobalPost: More news from Thailand

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