By The Nation
She was tried on two encroachment charges at the Appeals Court, which on May 15 sentenced her to four months and eight months in jail respectively. She has been in detention since, and was only released after the Supreme Court granted her permission to take her appeal to the highest court.
Nittaya’s release brings the number of villagers granted bail to seven out of the 14 found guilty by Chaiyaphum Court for encroaching on the national park, a sentence that was later upheld by the Appeals Court in hearings between May and July.
All the defendants were jailed with the exception of Samorn Somjit, who was given a suspended one-year jail term because he was considered to be very poor. The convicted villagers were also slapped with hefty compensations for the national park.
The villagers, however, say they were jailed for merely farming on land that has been used by them for generations, which is now considered part of the Saithong National Park. The park was established in 1992 and spans more than 199,375 rai (31,900 hectares).