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Thai court accepts case against Prime Minister Prayut for alleged mismanagement of Covid crisis

The Central Criminal Court for corruption and misconduct charges yesterday accepted the lawsuit filed by the Thai Sang Thai Party and the Lawyers Association of Thailand against Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-O-Cha for alleged failure to control the Covid19 situation in the kingdom.

The lawsuit accuses the prime minister of harming the country’s economy and killing the public health system.

The court has scheduled a hearing on August 30.

“The negligence of the Prayut government and ineffective handling of the Covid-19 situation has resulted in four waves of outbreaks across the country with more than 800,000 patients gathered and more than 6,000 deaths,” said Narinphong Jinaphak, chairman of the Thai Lawyers Association.

“The rising number of infections has exceeded the capacity of the public health system, as evidenced by the many people dying on the streets or in their homes while waiting for treatment in hospitals.

“We have decided to indict Prime Minister Prayut as he is the head of government and the one who declared a state of emergency,” added Narinphong.

Prayut’s action could be a violation of Article 47, third paragraph and Article 55 of the Constitution, as well as Article 157 of the Criminal Code, this lawyer believes.

The third paragraph of Article 47 of the Constitution provides that a person has the right to free protection and eradication of harmful infectious diseases by the state, as determined by law.

Article 55 states that the state must ensure that the people everywhere receive efficient public health services, ensure that the public has the basic knowledge regarding health promotion and disease prevention, and promote and support the development of wisdom about Thai traditional medicine for its benefits.

Article 157 of the Criminal Code provides that anyone, being a public servant, unlawfully exercises or does not exercise any of his functions to the detriment of any person, or who unfairly exercises or fails to perform any of his functions, shall be punished by imprisonment of one up to 10 years or a fine of 2,000 Baht to 20,000 Bath, or a combination of both.

Narinphong added that the Thai Sang Thai Party’s public campaign to indict the government had gathered about 700,000 signatures from the public, which he has also submitted to the court as supporting evidence.

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