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Free At Last

Pinit Chanarong (left)  and Saichon Paebua (right)

Pinit Chanarong (left) and Saichon Paebua (right)

Pinit Chanarong and Saichon Paebua made headlines last week when they were acquitted of the arson attacks on the Central World shopping centre on May 19th 2010. At the time of their release, they had spent three years in prison without bail. Thai Red Shirts (TRS) met with Pinit and Saichon to congratulate them on their release and to discuss life as a political prisoner, the taste of freedom, and hopes for their future and as well as the future of Thai democracy.

TRS: How does it feel to be out of jail? Did you expect this outcome?

Pinit: It feels great. I want to say that I expected to be acquitted this whole time, because I could not imagine serving a sentence for a crime I did not commit. But the fact that I had already been in prison for three years dampened my confidence. I am grateful that the judge had mercy on me.

Saichon: I am so happy! To be honest, I did not expect to be acquitted, I expected the worst. When the judge read out the verdict I could not keep back the tears of joy. But I am also thinking about my friends who are still in prison, I worry about them. We need amnesty for political prisoners, and it must be swift.

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Civil Court Decisions on 2010 Arson Attacks Vindicate Red Shirts

At the UDD’s weekly press conference on Wednesday, Red Shirt leaders applauded three recent civil court decisions which established that there was no solid evidence to prove that Red Shirt protesters were responsible for the arson attacks in the Ratchaprasong area on May 19th 2010.

The Bangkok Civil Court ordered Deves Insurance and Muang Thai Insurance to pay for damages caused by the arson attacks on Central World, the Zen department store, and the Siam theater that occurred after the Red Shirts called off their protest against the government of Abhisit Vejjajiva. The insurance companies had denied coverage on the basis that the Abhisit government had defined the arson attacks as acts of terrorism which fell outside of their policies.

The court rejected the notion that the fire constituted an act of terrorism or that Red Shirt leaders incited protesters to set fire to nearby property.

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