By: WASSAYOS NGAMKHAM
Published: 21/02/2009 at 12:00 AM
Newspaper section: News
Police expect warrants will be out next week for the arrest of 21 leaders of the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) on charges of leading protesters to seize Government House last year. Pol Maj-Gen Ekkarat Meepreecha, deputy Metropolitan Police chief, said investigators in charge of criminal cases against the PAD will ask the Criminal Court to approve the arrest warrants next week.
Ekkarat: To seek court approval next week
Senior police and Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban met earlier yesterday to discuss political rallies.
According to Mr Suthep, as of Feb 10, police had received 145 complaints related to political rallies.
Police have finished investigating 46 cases.
Of the 145 complaints, 43 had been filed by the PAD and 102 complaints against it.
Police have finished investigating 15 of the 43 complaints filed by the PAD, and 31 of the 102 complaints filed against the PAD, said Mr Suthep.
Pol Maj-Gen Ekkarat said police had also taken legal action against the PAD's arch-rival, the United Front of Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), on five complaints which were also related to the UDD's staging of political rallies.
Police have finished their investigation into two of the five complaints.
Among the complaints against the PAD were those based on the alliance's blockade of Suvarnabhumi international airport late last year.
Pol Lt-Gen Chalong Sonjai, chief of Provincial Police Region 1 who is in charge of the Suvarnabhumi blockade case, said investigators had questioned 150 witnesses so far.
The last important witness to be called would be the director-general of the Department of International Treaties.
The official may be asked to explain if an airport siege could constitute an infringement of international law.
The PAD leaders have criticised opponents for suggesting the airport siege was an act of terrorism.
Pol Lt-Gen Chalong said police have videotaped the PAD's activities at Suvarnabhumi, but investigators have not decided what charges they would press against the leaders.
Pol Lt-Gen Chalong said the PAD leaders would face a charge of violating air transportation law, which carries a potential prison term of five to 20 years, and in some cases even a death sentence.
PAD coordinator Suriyasai Katasila yesterday said PAD leaders are ready to defend themselves in court.
Mr Suriyasai questioned why police did not issue summonses for the 21 PAD leaders instead of going to court to seek warrants for their arrest