PM summons released Reds-Bangkok Pundit

November 16, 2010

Abhisit meets with released red shirts

Bangkok Pundit: November 12, 2010




Two anti-government Red Shirt supporters released on bail met Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva on Thursday after serving a six-month jail term for violating the emergency decree during the extended Red Shirt protest in May.

Sommai Inthanaka, 32, one of the two Red Shirt prisoners meeting the prime minister, was arrested at Lumpini Park in Bangkok on May 15 and was sentenced to a one-year imprisonment without suspension.

After serving six months in jail, he was granted bail by the Justice Ministry to fight the case in the Court of Appeals and was released from Klong Prem Central Prison on Thursday.

Mr Sommai said after meeting with the prime minister at Parliament that Mr Abhisit will help all of those arrested during April-May Red Shirt protest.

The prime minister said later he had told them that the Justice Fund, supported by the Ministry of Justice, assisted them with bail and asked them not to violate the terms of bail, so it will not be difficult to help others in similar cases next time.

The Bangkok Post:

Panitan Wattanayagorn, the prime minister’s deputy secretary-general, said Mr Abhisit asked them about conditions in the prison and their health.

He said there are still 48 suspects in jail on the same charges who have no one to bail them out.

The prime minister has asked the Justice Ministry to provide them with similar help.

Matichon reports that Sommai spoke to reporters before meeting with the PM. He stated that he had been detained on May 5 after he met some red shirts friends at Lumpini Park to try to persuade them to return home. After leaving he encountered a military checkpoint near Suan Lumpini night plaza and was detained. He said he was never questioned and he was just charged with breahing the state of emergency and immediately sentenced to 1 year in jail. He stated that he was unsure why the PM had requested he visit the PM today as his older sister received a telephone call at 10 a.m and was informed that Abhisit wanted to meet him so he came. After meeting with the PM, he spoke again to reporters and said the PM asked about the conditions inside the jail and said that investigations showed that he was not involved so assistance was provided and that he would help those who are still in jail.

BP: A cynic would say this is about Abhisit maintaining his poster boy image and it is a photo opportunity, but well BP sees it is at least a positive step. If Abhisit really wants to reduce the anger and bridge the divide, he needs to take actual action. Meeting with the 2 released reds shirts and to find out about the conditions inside – maybe it would have been better to ask them when they were still inside – is better than asking the Department of Corrections for some report and getting the likely response that everything is ok. Hence, it is much better to go straight to those who were inside. One of the red shirt complaints is over double standards and lack of justice. Yes, it is only after 6 months that help is coming, but it has come. Abhisit can’t change the past, but he can change the future. It is a good first step.

btw, so if the Ministry bails them out and if they breach bail (and hence forfeit bail), doesn’t this just mean the Ministry of Justice has given money to itself?


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