Thai PM appears in court as defence witness in dissolution case

20:24, October 18, 2010      

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Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva on Monday morning arrived at the Constitution Court to testify as a defence witness in the ruling Democrat Party's dissolution case amid tight security.

Abhisit is one of four witnesses who will testify in the court hearing in the case which his ruling Democrats have been accused of misuse of a 29-million-baht (967,000 U.S. dollars) political development fund granted by the Election Committee in 2005.

Some 250 police from the Metropolitan Police Region 2 were deployed to ensure top security while lots of reporters were waiting outside the court.

If the Constitution Court does not order additional hearing, the hearing on Monday will be the final. In this case the party should prepare an advice of evidence and submit to the court within 15 days before court could consider and decide the judgment day.

Banyat Bantattan, the former Democrats leader, said "This case is unlikely to result in party dissolution because the Election Committee's regulations state that any party misusing the development fund is required to return that money in 30 days. And we used to experience this before."

When asked whether he is confident the Democrat Party will not be dissolved, "If I say I am confident, it will place pressure on the court. But I think everything will be alright. But if the party is sentenced to dissolution, we have to admit," he said.

The Democrat Party -- Thailand's oldest party -- could be dissolved if found guilty, while the prime minister, who was the then deputy leader of the party, could be handed a five-year ban from politics, alongside other executives.

Source: Xinhua


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