Court refuses to drop Thai anti-govt leader`s arrest warrant
Bangkok: A court today dismissed a petition by the leader of anti-government protesters in Thailand seeking to drop an arrest warrant against him on insurrection charges, dealing a setback to opponents of embattled Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.
Suthep Thaugsuban`s lawyer attended a hearing session following a petition asking the appeal court to overturn the lower court`s decision.
The criminal court had rejected a petition submitted late last year to review an arrest warrant issued for Suthep.
The appeal court, however, decided not to revoke Suthep`s arrest warrant, saying that the petition was redundant.
The opposition People`s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), led by Suthep, a former deputy prime minister and Democrat Party leader, has been protesting against the government for four months and they accuse caretaker premier Yingluck of acting as a proxy for her fugitive brother, former premier Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted in a coup in 2006.
Thaksin lives in self-exile in Dubai to escape a jail term on corruption charges.
Last week, Suthep called an end to six weeks of a major shutdown at strategic locations across Bangkok during which PDRC protesters tried to force the caretaker government`s ouster in a campaign that started on January 13.
Since November 2013, 70 attacks against protesters have resulted in over 20 deaths and 720 injuries.
Meanwhile, Thai army chief Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha told a Defence Council meeting that he was not selectively acting against the pro-government Red Shirt group over sedition charges, the Nation newspaper quoting a military source said.
The meeting was chaired by Yingluck, who is also defence minister, at the Royal Thai Air Force headquarters today.
The Red Shirt group was accused of seeking to separate the North and Northeast of the country to set up a new republic.
Prayuth insisted that any group that violated national security would face action.
The opposition Democrat Party, which has been calling for Yingluck`s cabinet to quit, may go to court to ask if the caretaker government still had power after the house failed to meet within 30 days of the February 2 general election.
The opposition had boycotted the election and widely disrupted polling.
With the prospect of a possible political vacuum, the Democrats plan to seek an interpretation of the law and the caretaker government`s status, head of the party`s legal team, Wirat Kalayasiri said.
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