Thai 'Red Shirt' leader gets second bail in days

AFP , Thursday 29 Dec 2011

A Thai court releases a top 'Red Shirt leader' accused of terrorism over his role in last year's opposition rallies after the political activist appeared in court and posted bail of $6,300

Thai anti-government 'red shirt' protesters gesture during a rally at the Democracy monument, the site of bloody clashes with security forces last year in Bangkok, March 12, 2011. (Photo:Reuters)

A top "Red Shirt leader" in Thailand accused of terrorism over his role in last year's opposition rallies was freed on bail Thursday for the second day in a row, his lawyer said.

Arisman Pongruangrong, who narrowly avoided capture by police commandos in April 2010 by climbing out of the third-floor window of a Bangkok hotel, surrendered to authorities in early December after nearly 20 months on the run. He was freed on bail in the Thai capital on Wednesday evening, only to be immediately re-arrested on charges of defaming a member of the opposition Democrat Party in a separate case.

He was released again on Thursday after appearing in a court in the southern province of Songkhla and posting bail of 200,000 baht ($6,300), his lawyer Suchaiwut Chaosuanklauy told AFP.

The sum was significantly less than the six million baht ($190,000) bail Arisman had to pay in the terrorism case a day earlier.

Arisman is believed to have hidden in Cambodia after fleeing the Thai capital after the bungled attempt to arrest him in connection with mass anti-government protests that turned deadly in 2010.

More than 90 people, mostly civilians, were killed and nearly 1,900 were wounded during the two months of rallies, which drew about 100,000 Red Shirts, many of whom support fugitive former premier Thaksin Shinawatra.

The controversial ex-leader's sister Yingluck Shinawatra is now prime minister after a resounding election victory by his party earlier this year.

Arisman also faces separate charges related to the Red Shirts' storming of an Asian summit in the Thai resort city of Pattaya in 2009, forcing its cancellation as leaders were evacuated.

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