CNS set to probe Buri Ram threats
A senior Council for National Security official will visit Buri Ram tomorrow to arrange protection for provincial election officials following a protest against them and threats on their lives.
Published on January 7, 2008
Buri Ram Election Com-mittee chairman Kasem Watanatham yesterday alleged that certain politicians were behind a protest by villagers against the EC on Friday. He vowed to take legal action against them.
An angry General Somjet Boonthanom, head of the Office for the CNS, said he would not allow influential persons to threaten EC officials who were working for the country.
Somjet said he would travel to Buri Ram tomorrow
afternoon after the weekly meeting of the CNS to find out who had threatened officials.
The Buri Ram commission has issued red cards to three winning People Power Party candidates in Constituency 1.
On Friday, about 10,000 villagers held a protest at the office of the provincial EC, demanding Kasem and Pol Colonel Sangworn Phuphai-jitkul, deputy commander of Buri Ram police, resign as EC officials.
Kasem earlier complained he and other EC officials had received death threats.
Somjet said he had coordinated with the Second Army Area and Provincial Police Bureau 3 to provide soldiers and policemen to protect the officials.
He said he would find out who was behind the threats and expose them.
"It's not good they used this method [of intimidation]. As the media would not like if it was threatened, similarly we will identify and expose these people," Somjet said.
"We will inform the public about who these influential people are and those who have abused their powers in threatening the EC.
"If we allow them to behave above the law, we might as well give away the country to such people."
Speaking to reporters in Buri Ram, Kasem, who is deputy governor of that province, said persons behind the protest sought to oust Sangworn and himself because they had filed four cases of malfeasance and fraud against politicians there.
"The people of Buri Ram are well aware of these cases," Kasem said.
He said he would gather evidence against the instigators of Friday's protest, including photographs, before taking legal action.
He said he would file complaints with the police about the persons behind the protest who had defamed and ridiculed EC officials.
But PPP spokesman Kuthep Saikrajang said no one was behind the protest as it was normal for angry villagers to rally in support of politicians they voted for.
"The EC should understand the feelings of people who saw that the EC's actions were not right," Kuthep said.
Meanwhile, PPP deputy spokesman Supachai Jaisamut said the EC should provide protection for witnesses who were defending PPP's candidates whose victories were yet to be endorsed by the EC.
Supachai said these witnesses had been intimidated by persons claiming to be officials of the Internal Security Operations Command.
He said PPP candidates would today submit evidence to the Council of State to prove the Buri Ram EC did not allow candidates to defend themselves before the committee issued red cards.
Supachai said candidates would also file a complaint with the National Counter Corruption Commission, accusing Kasem and Sangworn of malfeasance.