Former Thai PM charged with murder

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Abhisit Vejjajiva, the former prime minister of Thailand, has been charged with murder over the death of a civilian during a crackdown on anti-government rallies two years ago, his party says. Abhisit, along with then-deputy Suthep Thaugsuban, was formally charged at Bangkok’s Department of Special Investigation (DSI) on Thursday. They are the first officials to face a court over Thailand’s worst political violence in decades. “The DSI has charged Abhisit and Suthep on section 288, which is murder. They both denied the charge,” Thavorn Senniem, a senior Democrat Party lawmaker, told AFP. Hundreds of riot police were deployed to guard the building, as about 20 supporters carrying roses and dozens of protesters holding pictures of those killed during the crisis watched the former leader arrive. At least 90 people were killed and nearly 1,900 wounded in a series of street clashes between “Red Shirt” protesters and security forces. The crisis culminated in a deadly army operation in 2010 to break up the demonstrations. The charge against Abhisit, who was prime minister at the time, relates to the fatal shooting of taxi driver Phan Kamkong. Tarit Pengdith, the chief of the DSI, announced the move last Thursday, saying that it was prompted by a court ruling in September that Phan was shot by troops.