12 July 2024

Six core leaders of the now defunct People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) were acquitted by Thailand’s Supreme Court today (Tuesday), on charges related to their roles in leading prolonged mass protests, from May to October 2008, in an attempt to oust the government of then Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej.

They are former Bangkok governor Chamlong Srimuang, former Manager Group media tycoon Sondhi Limthongkul, Pipob Thongchai, Somkiat Pongpaibul, Somsak Kosaisuk and Suriyasai Katasila.

The court sentenced three other PAD core leaders, however, namely Chaiwat Sinsuwong, Therdpoom Jaidee and Amorn Amornrattananon, to eight months in prison without suspension.

The cases date back to 2008, when Samak Sundaravej was the prime minister of Thailand.

The anti-Thaksin PAD, led by the nine core leaders, staged a mass protest on May 25th, 2008, at the Democracy Monument and on Ratchadamnoen Avenue, to demand the ouster of the government. The protesters then marched to Government House and camped out on Ratchadamnoen Nok Road, from the Makkawan Rangsan Bridge up to the Jor Por Ror intersection, until October.

After the departure of the government, following a ruling by the Constitutional Court, which found Samak guilty of hosting a cooking and talk TV program in violation of the Constitution, the nine protest leaders were charged with sedition, illegal public assembly and other offences.

The Criminal Court acquitted six protest leaders, on the grounds that the charges against them were a duplication of the charges filed against them in a separate case. The verdict was upheld by the Appeals Court.

Chaiwat, Therdpoom and Amorn were found, by the Criminal Court, guilty as charged, but delayed sentencing for two years. The Appeals Court acquitted all of them.