Two former Thai PMs acquitted over 2008 protest deaths

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BANGKOK: Thailand’s highest court on Wednesday acquitted two ex-prime ministers and two former top police officers over their role in a 2008 crackdown on anti-government protesters that killed two people. Former premier Somchai Wongsawat and his then-deputy Chavalit Yongchaiyudh faced negligence charges over a police operation to remove protesters who had laid siege to parliament. The deadly incident was one of many violent flare-ups over the past decade between their political camp and a conservative Bangkok-based establishment. But in its ruling on Wednesday nine judges dismissed the case, arguing that authorities had a responsibility to clear the protesters because they had not remained peaceful and that none of the defendants bore direct responsibility for the deaths. “The protesters surrounded parliament and threatened to storm the building, therefore it was not a peaceful rally. The authorities had to use force in order to clear the way,” the court said in its published summary.

AFP

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