Charges against southern anti-election protesters dismissed

A provincial court in southern Thailand has acquitted anti-election protesters accused of preventing 2014 election, ruling that all witnesses were political opponents of the defendants.  
 
On Thursday, 24 March 2016, Matichon Online reported that the Provincial Court of the southern province of Nakhon Si Thammarat dismissed charges against Chaichana Detdecho, Khatha Rungrotrattakun and Ketkamon Udnunkan.
 
The three defendants are local leaders of the anti-election protest group, the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), who on 28 December 2013 allegedly barricaded a station set up to register candidates for Nakhon Si Thammarat in the 2014 general election.
 
Nakhon Si Thammarat prosecutors indicted them for preventing the election process.
 
The court ruled that when the defendants were charged the political environment in Thailand was very divisive and all the prosecution witnesses were political opponents of the defendants. Therefore the evidence was weak, reported Matichon Online.
 
On 28 December 2013, the defendants, together with other PDRC protesters, barricaded a Nakhon Si Thammarat candidate registration office. The protest prevented the local Election Commission from registering candidates. As a result, the general election could not be held in all nine Nakhon Si Thammarat constituencies on 2 February 2014.
 
Nakhon Si Thammarat was one of eight southern provinces which their candidate registrations for the 2014 election were disrupted by the anti-election protesters. 
 
The absence of candidates in some constituencies led to the Constitutional Court’s 21 March 2014 verdict to invalidate the election. The Constitutional Court ruled then that the election must be held across the country on the same day.
 
 
PDRC protesters hanging a banner reading "We support reform before election" in front of a Nakhon Si 
Thammarat candidate registration office on 28 December 2013 (source: Thairath

 

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