11 July 2024

Four well known members of the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), which engineered the mass protests against the government of former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra, were this morning acquitted of multiple charges ranging from insurrection, criminal association and illegal assembly to trespass and incitement of work stoppages.

The Criminal Court ruled that the prosecution evidence was sufficient to prove that the four defendants participated in six months of anti-government disruption, which began in November 2013, but they were not leaders of the protest nor could they have ordered other protesters to commit offences.

The Criminal Court also cited a ruling of the Constitutional Court that the PDRC protests stemmed from their desire to voice their opposition to the then government’s amnesty bill and its national administration.

The four defendants are Mr. Sonthiyarn Chuenruthainaitham, Bangkok deputy governor SaKonthee Pattiyakul, former rector of National Institute of Development Administration Sombat Thamrongtanyawong and former Thammasat University lecturer Dr. Seri Wongmontha.

They showed up at the Criminal Court this morning in the company of Mr. Suthep Thaugsuban, PDRC leader, and several supporters.

Mr. Suthep and 31 other key members of the PDRC are being tried in a separate case on multiple charges, including insurrection, criminal assembly and illegal assembly. They are currently free on bail, but are not allowed to leave the country without prior permission from the court.