Suthep acquitted of defaming UDD leaders

Suthep Thaugsuban at the Criminal Court for the defamation judgement on Tuesday. (Photo by Patipat Janthong)

The Criminal Court has acquitted Suthep Thaugsuban, a former deputy prime minister, of defaming core members of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) and breaking the election law in 2011.

According to the lawsuit brought against him, Mr Suthep on May 22, 2011, during a media interview at a hotel in Lak Si area accused Jatuporn Prompan, Nattawut Saikuar and Weng Tojirakan of involvement in fires started at many places around the country.

The plaintiffs alleged this damaged their reputations and affected the Pheu Thai Party's election prospects.  Mr Suthep's interview was given before the general election on July 3, 2011.

Mr Suthep was charged with defaming the UDD leaders and violating the election law of 2007.

The court said Mr Suthep's remarks about the connection between the Pheu Thai Party and the UDD were based on the fact a number of UDD core members were among candidates high on the party list, and they were elected.

Mr Suthep's remarks about the UDD protests in which city halls in several provinces, and department stores, were set on fire in 2010 were based on reports from the Department of Special Investigation (DSI). Mr Suthep was then the deputy prime minister in charge of security affairs and was in a position to report the situation to the people.  

In its ruling delivered on Tuesday, the court found that Mr Suthep had not made false accusations against the three UDD leaders as alleged, and dismissed the case against him.


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