3 acquitted of murder of Col Romkhlao and four officers during 2010 protests

Three people, charged with involvement in the murder of five soldiers, including former deputy chief of staff of the Second Infantry Division Colonel Romkhlao Thuwatham, during a violent anti-government protest near the Democracy Monument in April 2010, were acquitted today (Monday) by the Criminal Court due to insufficient evidence.

The three defendants were Sooksek Pholtue, Pornkamon Buachatkhao, aka Kanokporn Siriphannapirat, a former anchor on People’s TV, and Surachai Thevarat, a member of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD).

According to public prosecutors and Nicha Hirunburana, the widow of Colonel Romkhao, who was posthumously promoted to a five-star general, the three defendants were in possession of three hand grenades, two of which were thrown at a group of soldiers stationed in front of Satree Wittaya School, to contain the protest by the UDD to force the resignation of then government, led by former Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva. The incident took place on April 10th, 2010.

The bomb blasts killed Colonel Romkhlao and his four men and injured several others, some seriously wounded.

The court ruled that the testimony of a prosecution witness, who claimed to have seen two the perpetrators hurling hand grenades at the army troopers, was snot olid enough to prove that the perpetrators were actually Sooksek and Surachai.

The court then found the three defendants not guilty.

Sooksek and Surachai are, however, still being held in detention pending a prosecution appeal. The other defendant, Pornkamon, has been on bail since the trial started.

 

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)

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