By THE NATION
They were among 85 protesters affiliated with the former People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) who called themselves “Sriwichai Warriors”. The defendants acted as security guards during the PAD’s demonstrations against the government of Samak Sundaravej, which was accused by the protesters of being a proxy for former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
The Supreme Court also upheld the Appeals Court’s verdict that suspended the imprisonment of six defendants who were minors when the offences were committed the offences. The Criminal Court in December 2010 sentenced the six to jail terms of three and four months each.
The 85th defendant has escaped the reach of the law. The protesters, some of them armed, broke into the station’s office on August 22, 2008 and remained until August 25, during which they accused of damaging property.
The defendants faced a host of criminal charges ranging from night-time trespassing and illegally carrying firearms to instigating unrest and being part of a criminal association. However, the court acquitted them over the criminal-association charge.
The convicted defendants were taken to prison by Corrections Department officials after the Supreme Court verdict yesterday.
The top court yesterday also ordered arrest warrants to be issued for five defendants who failed to show up yesterday. The reading of the verdict was postponed three times last year as some of the defendants failed to appear.