11 July 2024

Former Thai TV news anchor Sorayuth Suthasanachinda was released from prison this morning (Sunday), under a special imprisonment suspension program, but he is required to wear an electronic monitoring ankle bracelet for the next two years and four months, until the end of the prison term.

Sorayuth was sentenced to two terms, of 6 years and 2 years, by the Supreme Court in January last year, after he and a senior staffer of the Mass Communications Organization of Thailand (MCOT) were found guilty of cheating the state-run media organization of more than 100 million baht in advertising fees. His company, Rai Som, had agreed to pay 152 million baht in advertising fees plus interest to the MCOT.

The Criminal Court sentenced him to 13 years and four months on February 29th 2016, which was upheld by the Appeals Court on August 29th 2017.  He was granted Royal pardons twice, due to his good conduct in prison

After his release from the Bangkok Remand Prison, at about 7.45am this morning, Sorayuth was escorted by corrections officials to the 7th Region Bangkok Probation Office, where he was fitted with a monitoring tag, which will remain attached until July 26th 2023.

His relatives, friends and former colleagues, from the popular morning TV show, and an army of reporters were waiting in front of the prison to welcome him.

After his sentence was upheld by the Supreme Court in January last year, Sorayuth said on Facebook that, since his conviction by the Criminal Court in February 2016, he dared not even switch on the TV, not to mention his own talk-show, because he could not stop his tears from flowing from looking at the program he had loved and had been doing for years.

For him, he said, to stop working because of the judgment of society was the most painful period of his life, adding that he had been deprived of his freedom to pursue his livelihood four years ago.