Prosecutor, DSI disagree on charges against ‘Men in Black’ suspects

The criminal court postponed the deposition hearing of the ‘Men in Black’ suspects, who were allegedly involved in violence during the military crackdown on redshirts on 10 April 2010 due to the lack of evidence for charges of terrorism and disagreement between the public prosecutor and the Department of Special Investigation, who is overseeing the investigation of the case.     

The criminal court on Monday postponed the deposition hearing of the ‘Men in Black’ suspects, five alleged militants participating in the political violence on 10 April 2010 on Ratchadamnoen Avenue, Bangkok.

The prosecutors found that the evidence is insufficient to file terrorism charges against the five, despite the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) case file, which presses terrorism charges against the five.

The five suspects were earlier indicted for possession of unauthorized and illegal weapons of war, such as M79 grenade launchers, M16s, HK33s and explosive devices. The DSI Director will have the final authority to decide if terrorism charges will still be filed against the five.

The four male 'Men in Black' suspects in Bangkok Remand Prison

The court scheduled the new deposition hearing on 23 March 2015.

The five suspects are:  

- Kittisak Soomsri, 45, a Bangkok native

- Preecha Yooyen, 24, from northern Chiang Mai Province

- Ronnarit Suricha, 33, from northeastern Ubon Ratchathani Province

- Chamnan Pakeechai, 45, from Bangkok

- Punika Chusri, 39, from Bangkok

At a press conference on 11 September, a few days after their arrest, the five confessed that they were the ‘men in black’. However, roughly a month later, they recanted their confessions and alleged that they were tortured to confess while under military detention.

The five have remained in custody since September last year.

Winyat Chatmontree, a lawyer from Free Thai Legal Aid (FTLA) who represents the suspects, on Monday said that the five did not submit requests for bail because the suspects’ families did not have sufficient financial resources.    

In December, the lawyer for the five requested bail for Punika Chusri, the only female suspect who was not involved in the case, but was merely accused of sitting in the same vehicle as the four other defendants during the incident. However, the court declined the bail request citing flight risk, despite the fact that she was not arrested, but voluntarily reported to the police in early September.

 

See related news:

'Men in Black’ suspects tortured to confess: lawyer

‘Men in black’ suspects from April 2010 violence deny all charges