23 May 2024

Former Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban and eight core members of the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) have been granted bail, set at 800,000 baht each, by the Appeals Court after  they had been detained following their convictions and sentencing in the Criminal Court this week.

Mr. Suwat Charoenpol told the media on Friday morning that the Appeals Court had granted their bail requests on the grounds that they have been granted bail before and had not attempted to flee.

He said, however, that the court decided to increase the bail surety by 200,000 baht each and ordered them not to leave the country without obtaining prior permission from the court.

The lawyer also said that the eight convicted PDRC core leaders, who were instrumental in driving the mass protests to oust the government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra,between November 2014 and May 2015, will be released only once the court’s release warrant arrives at the Bangkok Remand Prison.

Suwat also thanked members of the public for the moral support they have offered to the eight men.

Suthep, former Education Minister Nataphol Teepsuwan, former Digital Economy and Society Minister Buddhipongse Punnakanta, former Deputy Transport Minister Thaworn Senneam, Chumphol Julasai, Phra Buddha Issara, Issara Somchai, Issara Somchai and Samdin Lertboon were found guilty by the Criminal Court of multiple offences, including illegal assembly, intrusion onto state property, inciting rebellion against the state, being members of an illegal association and inciting work stoppages.

The court dismissed terrorism and insurrection charges against them.

After leaving the prison, Suthep told his supporters and the media that the eight of them respect the Thai judicial system, but will fight to prove their innocence in the Appeals Court.

The former PDRC secretary-general said that he felt very sorry for both Nataphol and Buddhipongse “who were ministers when they walked into the courtroom in the morning, and left as sentenced convicts in the afternoon.”

“The change was so abrupt and the heavy prison sentences were so unexpected,” said Suthep adding, however, that he does not want to blame the court.

Nataphol was given 6 year and a 16 month prison sentences,while Buddhipongse was given seven years.

He said he also regretted that Chumphol and Issrara lost their MP status as a result of their conviction, adding that he is not sure whether they will serve time in prison, but that they are ready to face the consequences of the convictions.