Former Thai PM charged with murder

Former Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva was on Thursday charged with murder over the death of a civilian during a crackdown on anti-government rallies two years ago.

Abhisit and his then-deputy Suthep Thaugsuban were formally charged at Bangkok’s Department of Special Investigation (DSI).

Both men denied the murder charges against them, Opposition Democrat Party deputy leader Thavorn Senneam said.

Thavorn, a member of the Party’s legal team, said the plea was entered after the former prime minister and former deputy prime minister were notified of the charges of murder relating to the death of a taxi driver shot dead during the 2010 riots.

He said the two accused denied the charges, because they were not true and added that under the country’s Criminal Code, Abhisit and Suthep were not at fault as they were the state authority performing their duty to stop the illegal violence occuring in the country.

Under the Criminal Code, DSI chief Tarit Pengdit, as chief investigator in the case, was at fault for bringing false charges against the two and could be liable to life imprisonment, the Democrat lawyer said.

Ninety people died and thousands were hurt in street clashes between “Red Shirt” demonstrators and security forces, which culminated in an army operation in May 2010 to break up the protest. The charge against Abhisit, who was prime minister at the time, relates to the fatal shooting of taxi driver Phan Kamkong.

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