Thai Appeals Court upholds acquittal of three ex-PDRC leaders, fourth sentenced to 8 months
The Appeals Court sentenced a former core member of the now defunct People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) to eight months in prison without suspension today (Wednesday), after finding him guilty of obstructing voting at Sukhothai School, in Bangkok’s Dusit district during the general elections in 2014.
Sonthiyan Chuenruthainaitham, former Bangkok deputy governor Sakoltee Pattiyakul, former National Institute Development Administration (NIDA) president Prof. Dr. Sombat Thamrongthanyawong and Dr. Seri Wongmontha, a former Thammasat University lecturer, and a marketing guru, were charged by public prosecutors with sedition, incitement of unrest, being members of an illegal association, illegal assembly and assault for their collective involvement in the attempt to topple the then government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.
On July 25th, 2019, the Criminal Court acquitted all except Sonthiyan, who was found guilty of obstructing the election operations at Sukhothai School. He was sentenced at that time to one year in prison, suspended for one year.
The Criminal Court’s verdict was appealed to the Appeals Court by the public prosecutors.
Today, the Appeals Court today upheld the Criminal Court’s acquittal of the three defendants, while upholding the lower court’s guilty verdict for Sonthiyan, commuting the one-year sentence to eight months, due to his useful testimony, but lifting the suspension.
The court also revoked Sonthiyan’s election rights for five years. Sonthiyan is to apply for bail.
Several former PDRC leaders, including Suthep Thaugsuban and former Democrat deputy leader Thavorn Senniam, showed up at the Criminal Court this morning to offer moral support to the four.