Court denies warrants for 35 protesters

The Criminal Court has dismissed a Department of Special Investigation request for warrants for the arrest of 35 protest leaders over their roles in leading the protest movement, saying a second set of summonses should be issued first.

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The DSI on Thursday sought court approval for warrants to arrest 35 protest leaders after they failed to report to the DSI headquarters on Chaeng Watthana Rd by the Jan 3 deadline to acknowledge charges of insurrection, rebellion, illegal assembly and other related charges in violation of Sections 133, 116, 215 and 216 of the Criminal Code.

The judge said some of the accused had received summonses and their lawyers had submitted formal requests to the DSI stating that their clients had acknowledged the charges against them and would testify before the DSI. This showed they had no intention to reject the summonses.   

For the other accused, there was no clear evidence whether police investigators had illegally sent summonses to them. As a result, there are no reasonable grounds at this stage to issue arrest warrants and the investigators should apply for summonses for the 35 protest leaders with the court again, the judge added.

Pol Maj Yutthana Praedum, a DSI expert on special cases, said he would ask the court to issue another set of summonses on Friday or Monday. 

He said the summonses had been mailed to the addresses that were shown on the accused’s civil registration but all of them were at the protest sites and claimed they had not received the court documents. 

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