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Thailand court delays bail verdict for red shirt leaders

A Thai court on Thursday postponed its verdict in the case against leaders of the "red shirt" [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive] movement for violating terms of their bail. The Criminal Court in Bangkok pushed back the date for the verdict [WP report] to August 22, stating that it will allow defendants to gather more evidence and add more witnesses to better prepare their case. Yoswarit Chooklom is one of the 24 red shirt leaders who are being tried on terrorism charges [AFP report] arising out of anti-government protests [JURIST news archive] in 2010 that killed more than 90 people and injured around 1,700. Political opposition accused Chooklom of having violated his bail terms by inciting protests [Bangkok Post report] and threats against the country's Constitutional Court judges in July. He also gave out home addresses and phone numbers of judges and their families to red shirt supporters but expressed regret urging supporters to refrain from calling the numbers. Jatuporn Prompan, another red shirt leader, is also on trial for speaking out at the same protest. Five of the protesters have since become lawmakers, giving them parliamentary immunity from the terrorism charges.

The current defendants were among the nine who were released [JURIST report] in February of last year amid organized peaceful rallies calling for the release of the remaining red shirt leaders. A month earlier the red shirts petitioned [JURIST report] the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website; JURIST backgrounder] to launch a preliminary investigation into whether the government committed crimes against humanity during the 2010 protests. The application for petition [text, PDF] cited specific evidence developing a substantial basis to show that international crimes of murder, imprisonment and other severe deprivation of physical liberty, other inhumane acts and persecution were committed in conjunction with the suppression of red shirt protest. In 2010 the red shirts initiated the protests [JURIST report] against the Thai government calling for elections. The protests ended two months after when protesters surrendered [JURIST report] to the police.

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