11 July 2024

Five core members of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) were given a temporary reprieve when the Criminal Court decided to postpone the reading of the Supreme Court’s verdict until September 23rd.

Originally, the Criminal Court was scheduled to read the Supreme Court’s verdict today, but one of the defendants, Mr. Veerakarn Musikapong, former UDD chairman, asked for the postponement of the verdict, claiming he was suffering dizziness and difficulty in urinating.

According to Veerakarn’s lawyer, the defendant was admitted to Ladhrao Hospital on July 30th for medical treatment and he remains hospitalized. A doctor’s certificate confirming Veerakarn’s condition was also submitted to the court today, along with the request for the postponement.

Besides Veerakarn, the four other defendants are Nopparut Worachitwutthikul, former leader of the White Pigeon 2006 which is affiliated with the UDD, Natthawut Saikua, Wiputhalaeng Pattanapoomthai and Weng Tochirakarn.

Two other defendants, Weerasak Hemathulin and Wanchai Naputtha, were acquitted and the public prosecutors did not appeal that verdict.

All seven defendants were charged with criminal association, intimidation and obstruction of officials in the performance of their duty relating to the siege by more than 1,000 protesters of Ban Sisao Thewet, the official residence of the late Privy Council president Prem Tinsulanonda in July 2007.

Natthawut told the media today he was not worried about the Supreme Court’s verdict and he was ready to face the consequences, adding that the protest was peaceful and he is innocent.

Nopparut admitted, however, that he was worried while claiming that he did not attack the officials as charged.

UDD leader Jatuporn Promphan, who went to the court to offer moral support to the five defendants, said there are only two options for UDD core leaders – die or spend time in jail.

“We are like brothers facing the same fate from the very beginning. We sacrificed our lives and freedom for the struggle” said Jatuporn.

Veerakarn, Weng, Natthawut, Wiputhalaeng and Nopparut were each sentenced to two years and eight months by the Appeal Court.