Prayut ready to testify in Abhisit impeachment case

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Prayut ready to testify in Abhisit impeachment case
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha yesterday said that he was ready to testify before the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) as defence witness for Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva in his impeachment case over alleged mishandling of the 2010 bloody crackdown.

PM Prayut was responding to Mr Abhisit’s comment to reporters on Wednesday, in which he said that Gen Prayut – who was deputy Army chief at the time – former defence minister Gen Prawit Wongsuwan and former Army chief Gen Anupong Paochinda understood the situation well. He also said their testimony would be useful, but he was not certain if they were prepared to be his witnesses.

PM Prayut said he might only submit a written testimony.

The NACC on Tuesday resolved to push for the impeachment of former PM Abhisit and his then-deputy Suthep Thaugsuban, citing that the two did not review or adjust tactics used by military personnel to disperse demonstrators, which led to many deaths and left many injured.

PM Prayut hinted that Mr Abhisit could escape impeachment if he could prove that there were armed men among the protesters.

“May I ask if there were armed men among the people. Yes or no? Were there ‘men in black’ among the red shirts? And was there someone firing at soldiers? If there were, then it is over,” he said.

He made the remark after reporters asked if he believed this case would put the Army in the hot seat, as Mr Abhisit had named the three top military men Gen Prayut, Gen Anupong and Gen Prawit in his case.

The Democrat leader had said his government would have been charged with dereliction of duty if did nothing at a time when some protesters were resorting to heavy arms.

Asked if the NACC probe against Mr Abhisit and Mr Suthep would help clear allegations that the government was “hunting down” only one political camp, PM Prayut rejected the allegation.

“It is not a one-sided hunt as alleged. Who are accused of wrongdoings? Those who can clear allegations against them, they are acquitted,” he said.

NACC secretary-general Sansern Poljiak said the agency had yet to send a formal writ to Mr Abhisit and Mr Suthep as it was still awaiting endorsement of the impeachment resolution by all NACC members.

Once the two receive the writ, they have to submit a defence statement or defend themselves before the NACC within 15 days. He said both were ready to address the allegations against them.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

Thailand News

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