Bangkok, Thailand –
Former members of the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), including Suthep Thaugsuban and three current cabinet ministers, were found guilty for sedition charges and were sentenced to imprisonment by the Criminal Court this afternoon, February 24th, for what the court described as their major roles in the anti-Yingluck government protests in 2013 and 2014.
The three current Thai government cabinet ministers were Education Minister Natapol Teepsuwan, Digital Economy Minister Buddhipongse Punnakanta, and Transport Deputy Minister Thaworn Senniam. Buddhipongse and Thaworn were sentenced to seven and five years in prison, respectively, while Nataphol was sentenced to six years and 16 months. All of them were stripped of their cabinet seats with immediate effect, according to Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam.
PDRC leader Suthep Thaugsuban was sentenced to five years in prison for staging Bangkok shutdown protests in seven business-driven areas between November 2013 and May 2014 under the ruling government of former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra.
According to the charges, the two-year countless and overnight protests also disturbed the MP’s general election in Thailand and major government departments before eventually winding up in a military coup, staged by General and now Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O’Cha.
Another 35 protest leaders are also facing similar charges of prison terms in varying years of imprisonment, although none of them are in as prominent roles as today’s defendants.
All those charged today, including Suthep, have pledged to appeal the decision and demand bail, and keep fighting.
Update as of 8:00 P.M.-Bail was reportedly denied to the defendants.
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