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Thai Court Dismisses Murder Charges against Ex-PM, Deputy

FILE - Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva.
FILE - Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva.

A criminal court in Bangkok has dismissed murder and abuse of power charges against ex-Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and his ex-deputy.

The charges were related to a violent 2010 crackdown in which security forces killed scores of so-called “Red Shirt” anti-government demonstrators.

The court ruled it did not have jurisdiction to try Abhisit or ex-Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban because they held public office at the time.

Both men denied prosecutors’ charges that they issued orders to security forces resulting in murder and attempted murder of protesters.

Tens of thousands of Red Shirts protested in 2010 against Abhisit, saying his government was elitist and backed by the country’s powerful army.

The Red Shirts are generally supporters of ex-Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted in a 2006 military coup and now lives in self-imposed exile.

Thaksin is the brother of ex-Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, who was removed by a court order earlier this year, shortly before the military seized power again.

Before she was ousted, Yingluck faced months of anti-government protests, which were organized in large part by Suthep.