BANGKOK — The Supreme Court has agreed to release the founder of the "Yellowshirt" political movement from prison on bail today, two weeks after he was convicted of fraud.
Sondhi Limthongkul was found guilty of fraud and falsifying loan documents by Thailand’s Court of Appeals on 7 August and sentenced to 42 years behind bars. He was taken to prison on the same day to await a Supreme Court deliberation on his bail release.
Today, the Supreme Court agreed to release Mr. Sondhi on a bail of 12 million baht in assets, his lawyer said.
He is expected to leave Klong Prem Central Prison at 8pm tonight.
In 2006, Mr. Sondhi founded a protest group known as the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD), which later became known as the Yellowshirts for adopting yellow – the King of Thailand’s personal colour – as their symbol. The PAD accused then-Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra of corruption, abuse of power, and plotting to overthrow the monarchy.
The ensuing power struggle between the Yellowshirts and a rival, pro-Thaksin political faction known as the “Redshirts” has sharply polarised Thailand's politics for almost a decade.
Prison officials previously said that they were monitoring Mr. Sondhi during his stay in prison to avoid any incidents between him and other Redshirt prisoners.
Meanwhile, a number of activists affiliated with the Redshirt movement continue to see their bail releases denied, including former magazine editor Somyot Prueksakasemsuk, who is currently imprisoned at Bangkok Remand Prison for allegedly insulting the monarchy, and Redshirt demonstrators who are facing charges related to their alleged roles in the 2010 political unrest.
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