The Criminal Court has sentenced Jatuporn Prompan, former chairman of the red-shirt United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), to two years in prison in connection with the violent 2007 protest at the Si Sao Thewes Residence, then home of late Privy Council president Prem Tinsulanonda.
The court on Thursday handed down the prison sentence to Jatuporn on charges of sedition, resisting arrest, and physically assaulting security officers. However, it acquitted another suspect.
Jatuporn, who at the beginning of the trial denied any wrongdoing, later confessed to the charges, saying he no longer wanted to fight the case after he talked with Gen Prem before the latter passed away. Both he and Gen Prem had forgiven each other during their discussion, said Jatuporn.
On Thursday, the court granted him bail of 200,000 baht.
On July 2007, the UDD led thousands of protesters to march from Sanam Luang to Si Sao Thewes and surrounded the residence in an attempt to pressure Gen Prem to resign from his post as privy council president, said the ruling.
The protesters believed Gen Prem was pulling the strings behind the Sept 19, 2006, military coup which ousted former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, according to the ruling.
A number of protesters broke barriers and hurt security officers deployed at the residence to protect Gen Prem, said the ruling.
Sarawut Longseng, the other defendant in the case, was acquitted as there was insufficient evidence to support the allegation that he deliberately rammed a vehicle into a police officer.
Jatuporn appeared relaxed and smiled after hearing the ruling, saying it was as he expected.
He said his lawyer was preparing to appeal the court's ruling in the Appeal Court.
Jatuporn was initially given four years in prison, but the term was halved in light of his confession and cooperation.
In a previous case linked to the same Si Sao Thewes incident, seven UDD core members and protesters were given two years and eight months in jail. The Appeal Court and Supreme Court both upheld the lower court's ruling.
Speaking at the court yesterday, Jatuporn added a word of caution for Move Forward Party (MFP) leader Pita Limjaroenrat, saying a political party that is presenting itself as a prospective coalition partner has long been planning to break away from the MFP.