13 yellow shirts get jail for obstructing party-list registrations in Dec 2013
The Criminal Court convicted 13 members of the now-defunct People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) on Tuesday for preventing the registration of party-list MP candidates in 2013.
The 13 were given various jail terms with immediate effect without suspension of terms.
The court reasoned that the 13 defendants had committed severely violent crimes, and had refused to stop even after being told by police and security officers to stop. Hence, the court said, the suspects deserved to be put behind bars instead of being granted suspended sentences.
The Criminal Court initially gave two-year terms to each of the suspects. However, many of the defendants had already received jail terms related to the 2013 protests, some of which were suspended. So, the court cancelled suspensions and added the terms to the two years in some cases.
The PDRC or the yellow shirts had launched a protest against Yingluck Shinawatra’s government in 2013 and disrupted voting in the 2014 general elections, which eventually resulted in a military-led coup a few months later.
Some of the defendants admitted to their charges, though several insisted on their innocence, which resulted in different jail terms being handed out.
The public prosecutors charged that the 13 defendants had used weapons to attack and intimidate officials on December 26, 2013, at the Thai-Japanese Youth Centre to prevent the registration of party-list candidates.
They said the 13 defendants and other people, who are still on the run, used slingshots to fire marbles and bolts at security officials and flung pieces of concrete at them. The suspects also threatened the officials with sticks, the prosecutors claimed.
The defendants were also accused of driving a garbage truck against the officials before laying siege at the centre to stop candidates from registering. The registration for party-list MP candidates was scheduled for December 23-27.
The prosecutors called on the court to punish the defendants for violating Articles 58, 83 and 90 of the Criminal Code as well as violating the organic law on elections.
In the verdict, the court said evidence from both sides showed that the 13 defendants had violated the law on several counts, especially Article 90 of the Criminal Code by collaborating to use violence to harm and intimidate others. For these violations, they were each given two years in jail.
However, after adding and deducting other suspended sentences, the court issued the following sentences:
• Chanon Khonthong: 18 months
• Kiartisak Chamchart: 24 months
• Sompote Ritsamdaeng: 18 months
• Chavalit Thirayantikul: 24 months
• Rujipas Suttiopas: 19 months
• Noppakhun Thananiramitr: 18 months
• Suwat Chambai: 18 months
• Wimol Thaemphayuk: 18 months
• Sawangchai Atikompoj: 18 months
• Nattapol Malaiyat: 16 months
• Nipon Raksabutr: 18 months
• Wichit Daengsawat: 18 months
• Phattira Srikaew: 18 months.