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Thai ex-PM faces murder charge over 2010 Red Shirt crackdown…Mark (a)Vijjajiva was guaranteed immunity

BANGKOK, Dec. 6 (Xinhua) — Thai former prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva faces a murder charge over the death of a man during a government crackdown on the then anti-government “Red Shirt” rally in 2010, authorities said.

Tharit Pengdit, director of the country’s Department of Special Investigation (DSI), said the DSI on Thursday resolved to press charges against Abhisit Vejjajiva and then deputy prime minister Suthep Thaugsuban on a case related to the death of a taxi driver during a crackdown on an anti-Abhisit administration rally in May 2010.

The death was identified as Phan Khamkong. He was found dead in front of a condominium near the Airport Rail Link station in Bangkok’s Ratchaprarob district on May 15, 2010.

The Criminal Court ruled in September that Phan, a taxi driver from northeastern province of Yasothon, was shot and killed by troops acting on orders issued by the Centre for the Resolution of Emergency Situations (CRES), a special working group set up to deal with chaos during the rally and crackdown.

Suthep was CRES director at the time.

Tharit said Abhisit and Suthep will be charged with premeditated murder because they were ultimately responsible for ordering the military to quell the riots.

The soldiers who honestly performed their duty were entitled to protection under the Criminal Code, according to the DSI director.

The case of taxi driver was the first proceeded to the court among more than 30 other cases of death arising from the 2010 riots.

From March to May 2010, several thousand Red Shirts, composed of supporters of former Thaksin Shinawatra and the anti-government, gathered in Bangkok. After the Red Shirts seized the heart of Bangkok’s business zone more than a month, the military, under supervision of the CRES, cracked down on the protesters, resulting in almost 100 people died and more than 2,000 people injured.

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