PDRC leader Suthep Thaugsuban’s jail time drastically reduced

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Photo courtesy of The Nation

The Appeals Court upheld the convictions of key People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) leaders, including Suthep Thaugsuban, but significantly reduced their prison sentences.

Suthep Thaugsuban and Thavorn Senniam, initially handed hefty sentences by the Criminal Court, saw their prison terms cut to just one year each.

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Sawat Charoenphol, Suthep’s lawyer, stated that the Appeals Court made this decision without providing reasons for suspending the terms.

Other prominent PDRC leaders, previously sentenced to between four to nine years, also benefited from this leniency. Their revised sentences now range from one year to a little over a year. Sawat explained that the Appeals Court viewed the legal violations during the Bangkok shutdown protests, spanning November 23, 2013 to May 1, 2014, as a single offence, in contrast to the primary court’s multiple counts.

The Criminal Court had initially convicted 39 PDRC leaders and members on various charges, including sedition, terrorism, inciting unrest, and disrupting the election. The leaders orchestrated significant protests against then Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, setting up seven rally sites that paralysed Bangkok’s main roads from January 13 to March 2, 2014.

The Criminal Court dismissed the sedition and terrorism charges on February 24 but found Suthep and 25 other leaders guilty of inciting strikes, unlawful gatherings, and encroachment. Suthep and Thavorn were sentenced to five years, while others received varied sentences: Chumpol Julasai (11 years), Puttipoing Punnakan (seven years), Nattapol Thipasuwan (seven years and four months), Isara Somchai (eight years and four months), Suwit Thongprasert, formerly Phra Phutta Isara (four years and eight months), and Samdin Lertbutr (five years and four months).

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Thirteen defendants were acquitted, and sentences for 18 were suspended. However, no suspensions were granted for Suthep and seven others.

Following the Appeals Court’s decision, the PDRC leaders applied for bail to contest the charges in the Supreme Court. Suthep, unfazed, expressed readiness to endure jail time if necessary, reported The Nation.

Bangkok NewsCrime NewsPolitics NewsThailand News

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