[UPDATE-1] Thai courts jail five UDD leaders for illegal protest

Thailand’s Supreme Court has, on Friday, upheld the criminal court’s decision and jailed five co-leaders of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD).

The court agreed with a lower court ruling that a 2007 protest in front of Si Sao Thewes residence was illegal.

Veerakan Musikhapong, Nattawut Saikuar, Wiphuthalaeng Pattanaphumthai, Weng Tojirakarn, and Nopparuj Worachitwuthikul were all sentenced to two years and eight months in prison.

Two defendants, Veerasak Hemathulin and Wanchai Naputtha were acquitted.

The men were found guilty of illegal assembly of more than 10 people, inciting violence and resisting arrest during a protest in front of the late Privy Council president Prem Tinsulanonda’s residence in July 2007.

The protest turned violent with later clashes with security officials.

The UDD or Red Shirt were a political group closely tied to former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra who was overthrown in a 2006 coup by the military.

The group, active between 2007-2010, carried out large scale protests for elections until a government crackdown in 2010.

UDD leader comments

Jatuporn Prompan, the UDD chairperson, told Thai Enquirer that the Supreme Court decision is final and the Red Shirts will respect the court decision. 

He added that this is the fate of the UDD’s leading members. 

“As I said before, it is either death or jail for the UDD’s leaders now,” he said. “It has always been like that and it still is.”

“I never wanted that for anyone since I have experienced it before. A political fight is about ideas and the results should not have ended up like this,” he added.

Jatuporn was sentenced to two years in jail for accusing former prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva of ordering soldiers to kill Red Shirts protesters in 2010. 

His term was halved by the Supreme Court because he confessed. He was released after serving out his one-year term in 2018.

The Supreme Court has also lowered the sentences for Veerakan, Nattawut, Wiphuthalaeng and Weng, who were sentenced for four years and four months down to the current two years and eight months as they were willing to cooperate with the court.

(Additional Reporting by Cod Satrusayang)


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