Court acquits anti-Yingluck street protesters

Court acquits anti-Yingluck street protesters

Suthep Thaugsuban, centre, accompanies Bangkok deputy governor Sakontee Phattiyakul, left, Seri Wongmontha, second left, Sombat Thamrongthanyawong, right, and Sonthiyan Chuenruethainaitham, behind Mr Sombat, as the four arrived at the Criminal Court in Bangkok for judgement on their participation in the 2013-2014 anti-government protests, on Thursday. (Photo by Tawatchai Kemgumnerd)
Suthep Thaugsuban, centre, accompanies Bangkok deputy governor Sakontee Phattiyakul, left, Seri Wongmontha, second left, Sombat Thamrongthanyawong, right, and Sonthiyan Chuenruethainaitham, behind Mr Sombat, as the four arrived at the Criminal Court in Bangkok for judgement on their participation in the 2013-2014 anti-government protests, on Thursday. (Photo by Tawatchai Kemgumnerd)

Supporters of the defunct People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), including a Bangkok deputy governor, have been found not guilty of insurrection and other charges stemming from their anti-Yingluck Shinawatra government protests in 2013-14.

On Thursday the Criminal Court acquitted communications and marketing academic Seri Wongmontha, 70; former national reform councillor Sombat Thamrongthanyawong, 68; Sonthiyan Chuenruethainaitham, 57; and Bangkok deputy governor Sakontee Phattiyakul, 42.

In 2014, they were arraigned on charges including insurrection, criminal association, illegal assembly, instigation of strikes, and obstructing an election.

The charges related to PDRC's protests against the government of Yingluck Shinawatra from Nov 23, 2013, to May 1, 2014. They included the "shut down Bangkok" movement launched on Jan 13, 2014.

The defendants had denied all charges and were released on bail.

The Criminal Court ruled that the four defendants had only taken part in the PDRC's protests and were not leaders who gave orders instigating violent action. The court also cited a ruling of the Constitutional Court that the PDRC had a constitutional right to protest against an amnesty law and the workings of the Yingluck government. It was calling for political reform.

In total, 32 PDRC members were prosecuted on similar charges. They included former PDRC leader Suthep Thaugsuban and Democrat Party list MP Chitpas Kridakorn. Their court cases are proceeding. 


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