24 red-shirt leaders and members acquitted of terrorism charges
Twenty-four former members of the red-shirt movement, or the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), including several core leaders, were today (Wednesday) acquitted by the Criminal Court of terrorism charges due to insufficient evidence.
The 24 ex-UDD members included former UDD chairman Veerakarn Musikapong, UDD chairman Chatuporn Promphan, UDD secretary-general Natthawut Saikua, Weng Tochirakarn, Korkaew Pikulthong, Yossawarit Chuklom or Jeng Dokchik and Arisman Pongruangrong.
The group was charged with terrorism for allegedly inciting public unrest and protests against the government of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva between February 28th and May 20th, 2010, to force the dissolution of the parliament. They denied all the charges throughout.
In ordering the acquittal, the court ruled that there was no evidence to prove that they committed acts of terrorism with the intention to force a change of national administration.
The court, however, said the mass protests in 2010 originated from political conflict dating back to 2008, when the anti-Thaksin People’s Alliance for Democracy staged prolonged mass protests against the government of then Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
Regarding the violent incidents during the UDD protests, the court said that no suspects were arrested who could link the violence to the 24 defendants.