Former PDRC leaders released from prison on bail

Former PDRC leaders released from prison on bail

Former leaders of the People's Democratic Reform Committee leave Bangkok Remand Prison about noon on Friday. From left, in the front row are Nataphol Teepsuwan, Thaworn Senneam, Issara Somchai, Suthep Thaugsuban and Buddhipongse Punnakanta. (Photo: Chanat Katanyu)
Former leaders of the People's Democratic Reform Committee leave Bangkok Remand Prison about noon on Friday. From left, in the front row are Nataphol Teepsuwan, Thaworn Senneam, Issara Somchai, Suthep Thaugsuban and Buddhipongse Punnakanta. (Photo: Chanat Katanyu)

Eight former leaders of the disbanded People's Democratic Reform Committee sentenced to jail by the Criminal Court were released from Bangkok Remand Prison on Friday after being allowed bail by the Appeal Court.

They had spent two nights in detention. They walked out about noon.

Their lawyer Sawat Charoenphon said the Appeal Court on Friday morning approved their temporary release because they had not attempted to flee and had been allowed bail during their trial in the Criminal Court.

The court raised bail from 600,000 to 800,000 baht each, and prohibited them from leaving the country without prior permission.

The eight are Suthep Thaugsuban, Issara Somchai, Chumpol Julsai, Digital Economy and Society Minister Buddhipongse Punnakanta, Deputy Transport Minister Thaworn Senneam, Education Minister Nataphol Teepsuwan, Suwit Thongprasert and Samdin Lertbutr.

They are among 26 people who were on Wednesday given varying jail sentences for their roles in the street protests that culminated in the May 2014 coup which removed the Yingluck Shinawatra administration from power.

They have been indicted on several charges, including insurrection, criminal association, illegal assembly and obstructing others from casting votes during street protests between November 2013 and May 2014.

After sentencing, the Criminal Court denied them bail on Wednesday and they were detained at the Bangkok Remand Prison.

They announced they would appeal the sentences, and the Appeal Court subsequently allowed them bail. Mr Suthep and the other defendants left Bangkok Remand Prison about noon.

Mr Suthep said he would concentrate on his appeal. He felt sorry for his colleagues who had lost their cabinet portfolios and electoral rights.

Mr Nataphol, the former education minister, said he had not expected such a heavy fate. The sentence woud have many repercussions, not just the political impact.

Mr Thaworn, the former deputy transport minister, said he had been treated just like other inmates. He was "very happy" behind bars.

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