Prosecutor drops charges against pro-election demonstrators

Public prosecutor has decided not to prosecute 28 pro-election demonstrators, reasoning that their prosecution would not be in the public interest.

Pathumwan police charged 39 people for defying Public Assembly Act and National Council for Peace and Order’s head order 3/2558 for holding rally at sky walk in Bangkok’s Pathumwan intersection on Jan 27 demanding military junta leader Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha to keep his promise to hold general election in November this year.

On March 7, police forwarded the cases of 28 protesters to the public prosecutors as two protesters earlier confessed to the charges while nine others are protest leaders who also faced incitement of unrest charge in accordance with Section 116 of the Criminal Code, therefore, their cases are being proceeded separately.

The Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR), which provided legal assistance to the group, reported on its website that the public prosecutor notified the accused on Friday (March 9) that charges against them had been dropped on ground that proceeding of the case wouldn’t be in public interest.

However, the prosecutor would have to forward the non-prosecution decision to the Office of the Attorney-General for final decision.

Article 21 of the Prosecution Act B.E.2553 states that if the prosecutor decides to drop criminal charges against the suspects on ground that the prosecution would not be in public interest, or may be a threat to public safety or national security, the prosecutor must seek final approval for the non-prosecution from the Attorney-General.

The prosecutor told the 28 demonstrators to report the prosecutor again on April 19 to hear the final decision of the Attorney-General.

Meanwhile, the two protesters who confessed to the charges were on March 8 sentenced by Pathumwan Kwaeng Court to six days suspended jail terms and a fine of 3,000 baht each. The case against the nine leaders are still ongoing.