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Korkaew Out on Bail

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At 16:00 pm today (10/5/13), co-leader of the UDD, Mr. Korkaew Phikulthong was released on bail from Lak-si prison by the authority of the Ratchada Criminal Court with a surety of 600,000 baht as collateral.

Mr. Korkaew, a Pheu Thai Party list MP, was charged with contempt against the Constitution Court judges and was detained for 31 days before he was temporary released on the conditions that he must not appear on any rally stage and he cannot travel abroad without the court permission. Many of the UDD co-leader went to congratulate Mr. Korkeaw for his released at Lak-si prison including, UDD President Tida Thawonsate, Mr. Vipoothalang Patthanaphomthai, Mr. Nisit Sinthupri and Mr. Yotsawaris Chu-grom.

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Democracy Update 8/5/13: UDD Leader Tida Joins Parliamentarians in Denouncing Constitutional Court Judges

DSCF3002 On Wednesday, May 8, 2013, Thanawut Vichaidit addresed Red Shirt supporters at the press conference of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), reminding them of the importance of the event to be held on May 19.  He urged them to show up at the rally en masse to commemorate the heroes of democracy, victims of violent state suppressive acts and to show those who committed these acts that their crimes are not easily forgotten.

At the event, there will be several exhibitions in honor of those who died, especially exhibitions of photographic evidence of the military crackdown in the Rachaprasong area.  There will also be speeches by various prominent UDD leaders.

At the press conference, UDD President Tida Thavonsate reiterated her support for the 312 members of Parliament, of both House and Senate, who had denounced the intervention of the Constitutional Court judges to block the amendment of the constitution.  The parliamentarians believe that Section 291 of the Constitution is undemocratic and that members of the Senate should be elected and not appointed.

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Democracy Update 1/5/13

At the UDD’s weekly press conference last Wednesday, Red Shirt leaders expressed their strong support for Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra’s speech in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, on April 29th. In her address to the Conference of the Community of Democracies, PM Yingluck explained how the military coup of 2006 and the mechanisms put in place by the 2007 Constitution have severely handicapped Thai democracy. She also praised the Red Shirts who gathered in April-May 2010 as fighters for democracy.

UDD leader Tida Tawornseth said,

The timing, the place, and the speaker were all perfect. The speaker was perfect because it was the Prime Minister who made the speech as the representative of the people. The speech was also perfectly suited for a democracy forum…What she said was the truth and the whole world knows it!

PM Yingluck’s speech also invigorated a small 3-week long Red Shirt protest that has been taking placing outside the Constitutional Court and is expected to climax in a much larger demonstration on Wednesday, May 8th. The group is calling for the resignation of Constitutional Court judges after they agreed to consider yet another petition on the constitutionality of the charter amendments that are currently being debated by parliament. In so doing, the protesters believe that the Court is impeding the legislative branch from performing its functions and thereby violating the separation of powers principal.

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Somyot Calls on Prime Minister Yingluck for Amnesty, Bail Rights

In a letter dated April 9th, political prisoner Somyot Prueksakasemsuk calls on Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to focus her government’s energy on making political prisoners a thing of the past in Thailand. His appeal for amnesty, among others, has gained traction in the Pheu Thai party which decided to put amnesty at the top of the legislative agenda. While the move is encouraging, the parliamentary process is likely to be a prolonged battle with Democrat Party members who oppose amnesty for all political prisoners, especially lèse majesté (112) prisoners such as Somyot.  

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Consequently, Somyot emphasizes the importance of ensuring bail rights for political prisoners awaiting trial or in the appeal process. Having been denied bail 14 times already, Somyot is all too familiar with the unconstitutional treatment of 112 prisoners.

The letter reads as follows [English Translation]: 

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Democracy Update 24.4.13

UntitledDuring the UDD’s weekly press conference last Wednesday, co-leaders discussed the role of the judiciary in the development of Thailand’s fragile democracy.

The ongoing attempts by the Pheu Thai government to reform the post-coup Constitution, in order to align it with modern democratic practices, have attracted condemnation from pro-coup forces. 

A group of Red Shirts are currently staging a protest outside of the Constitutional Court in response to its decision to consider a petition regarding the constitutionality of the constitutional amendments that have been proposed by the government. The group is arguing that by considering the petition, the Court is impeding the powers of the legislative branch. The UDD has also previously pointed out that the judiciary in Thailand has a biased agenda and hinders the democratic process.

Co-leader Tida said,

If the court ignores the power of the legislative branch, it ignores the power of the people. In a true democracy, all the power should be with the people.

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Bailed Red Shirt Prisoners to Fight for Innocence

20130419_134325On Friday April 19th, four Red Shirt prisoners were released from Laksi prison on bail as they appeal convictions for the arson attacks on the Udon Thani provincial hall that occurred on May 19th 2010.

The provincial court in Udon Thani agreed to release Arthit Saithong, Kittipong Chaikung, Daycha Komkhum, and Buarian Pangsa, after seven witnesses supported the bail requests. Despite facing severe sentences of up to 22 years, the four are committed to proving their innocence in the appeal process.

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Democracy Update 17/4/13

IMG_2550At the UDD’s weekly press conference on Wednesday, the leadership discussed plans for the Thai new year, as well as the ongoing commemorative events that will be taking place within the next month to mark the third anniversary of the brutal military crackdown on Red Shirt protests that killed over 90 people.

Thailand has started to wake up after the celebrations of Thai New Year, Songkran. In traditional Songkran spirit, the UDD leaders announced 3 “wishes” that they will work towards during the new year: amnesty, constitutional reform, and justice.

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Unhealed Wounds

On April 10th, the UDD held a day-long rally at Bangkok’s Democracy Monument to honour those who lost their lives during a brutal military assault on Red Shirt protesters 3 years ago. Despite the beaming sun, thousands came out to commemorate the tragic events that caused the deaths of 21 protesters, 5 soldiers, and Japanese cameraman Hiroyuki Muramoto. The resounding message was a powerful one: never again.

[From left to right] Suwimon with husband Bunjead and Ampon's mother Nang

[From left to right] Suwimon with husband Bunjead and Ampon’s mother Nang

But for the families who lost loved ones on April 10th 2010, the damage is already done. Thai Red Shirts (TRS) met with some of the families at the rally that were torn apart by senseless violence and are still waiting for justice.

Nang Tatiyarat, Suwimon and Bunjead Phungkinchan share the horrible fate of losing a son that night. Their sons, Ampon Tayirat and Terdsak Phungkinchan, were both slain by military bullets.

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