Former Thai premier charged over Bangkok protest deaths

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THAILAND’S former prime ­minister, Abhisit Vejjajiva, has been charged with ordering the use of live ammunition leading to civilian deaths in a crackdown on anti-government protesters in May 2010.

Mr Abhisit, now the leader of the opposition, was charged along with former deputy premier Suthep Thaugsuban.

“They allowed security forces to use weapons and live ammunition that led to the death of civilians,” said Department of Special Investigations chief Tarit Pengdith. The DSI decision to press charges was influenced by a court ruling on 17 September in the inquest into the death of taxi driver Phan Kamthong ­during the protests which found he was killed by troops acting on official orders. The two politicians could face the death penalty or life in jail if found guilty.

Supporters of former premier Thaksin Shinawatra – ousted in a 2006 coup – protested in Bangkok in March 2010 to demand elections. More than 90 were killed in street violence.

Mr Thaksin’s sister, Yingluck, is now prime minister.