BANGKOK, Oct. 9 (Xinhua) -- Thailand's Appeals Court on Thursday retracted treason charges and related arrest warrants for the nine leaders of anti-government group Peoples' Alliance for Democracy (PAD).
The arrest warrants were issued by Criminal Court after the PADled protesters to seize Government House and other state agencies on Aug. 26. The PAD then appealed the charges which involved treason and conspiring to disturb social orders.
Police moved to arrest two of the nine PAD leaders -- Chamlong Srimuang and Chaiwat Sinsuwong over last weekend, which resulted in the PAD protesters' besiege of the Parliament and Metropolitan Police Bureau in central Bangkok on Tuesday, followed with violentclashes between police and protesters that led to two deaths and some 400 injuries.
On Thursday, the Appeals Court said there were no grounds for the charges of treason against the PAD leaders. A treason conviction could have led to life sentences for the leaders.
Meanwhile, the court upheld the lower court's earlier less serious charges and issued new warrants accordingly, which focused on the PAD's record of holding large public gatherings and refusing to disperse when ordered.
PAD protesters at the Government House, where they have camped for one-and-a-half month, hailed at the court ruling.
PAD core leader Sondhi Limthongkul said he will lead the other eight PAD leaders to surrender to police to serve the other arrest warrants on remaining charges and seek bail from the authorities.
The nine PAD leaders are Sonthi Limthongkul, Somsak Kosaisuk, Phiphop Thongchai, Somkiat Phongpaibul, Suriyasai Katasila, Amorn Amornratananond and Therdphum Jaidee.