Former Thai PM, ex-police chiefs deny charges

Former Thai PM, ex-police chiefs deny charges
Former Thailand prime minister Somchai Wongsawat

Key members and former top officials of the former People's Power Party-led government have all denied charges made against them by the National Anti-Corruption Commission for their roles in a bloody and fatal crackdown on yellow-shirt protesters in October 2008.

The NACC filed the charges in the Supreme Court's Division for Political Officer Holders. The accused include former prime minister Somchai Wongsawat, former deputy PM General Chavalit Yongchaiyudh, former police chief Pol General Patcharawat Wongsuwan and former metropolitan police chief Pol Lt-General Suchart Muenkaew.

They were accused of being at fault for ordering police to crack down on protesters camped outside the entrance of Parliament - a move that led to two deaths and 471 people being injured.

All the accused denied the charges and are preparing to fight the case.

The suspects were ordered by the court to remain in the country unless they receive approval to go abroad.

Somchai said after the hearing that he was confident of proving his innocence and had some 60 witnesses who could testify in the case.

Suchart said he had 180 witnesses, mostly police who took part in the crackdown, ready to testify in the case.

All are due to present their evidence to Supreme Court judges on July 16.

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