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Fugitive 'Red Shirt' Leader Surrenders in Bangkok


Arisman Pongruangrong, a "Red Shirt" hard core leader waves as he leaves the Department of Special Investigation office to the Attorney General office at the Department of Special Investigation in Bangkok, Thailand, December 7, 2011.

Arisman Pongruangrong, a "Red Shirt" hard core leader waves as he leaves the Department of Special Investigation office to the Attorney General office at the Department of Special Investigation in Bangkok, Thailand, December 7, 2011.

A fugitive leader of Thailand's Red Shirt protest movement has surrendered to authorities in Bangkok to fight terrorism charges related to last year's deadly opposition protests.

Arisman Pongruangrong is accused of leading anti-government protesters to storm the Thai parliament and a satellite broadcasting building during weeks of mass protests against then Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva.

The leader, who is thought to have fled to neighboring Cambodia, said he returned because he believes justice will be administered by the current government.

"I will make a request to the consitutional court on whether the charges are too strong," said Arisman. "I have returned beceause I have confidence in the justice system and I'm confident of my safety."

Arisman is among over a dozen Red Shirt leaders charged with inciting violence, threatening government officials and terrorism during 10 weeks of protests that erupted in April 2010 in Bangkok.

He will appear later Wednesday before the country's criminal court, where he is expected to be released on bail.

The protests targeted the then-ruling Democrat party, which was swept from office earlier this year and replaced by the Red Shirt Pheu Thai party founded by exiled former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. Thaksin's sister, Yingluck Shinawatra, is now prime minister.

Rights groups have criticized Thai security forces for using excessive and unnecessary lethal force to quell the protests, which left 90 people dead.

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