UBON RATCHATHANI — The Supreme Court handed out a death sentence yesterday to a Redshirt leader in the northeast – which was reduced to a lifetime sentence – for allegedly torching a provincial city hall during political unrest five years ago.
The lower court earlier found Pichet Tabudda guilty of the charge and sentenced him to a year in prison for the arson on May 19, 2010, the day a military crackdown in Bangkok brought an end to months of Redshirt protests that claimed more than 90 lives.
But yesterday the Supreme Court changed his sentence to execution, arguing that Pichet not only torched the Ubon Ratchathani City Hall, but personally incited the mob that led to the arson attack, his lawyer told reporters. (Update: He misspoke, court says there was never a death sentence.)
Pichet’s sentence was eventually reduced to life in prison because he pleaded guilty.
“The court believed that he masterminded the burning of the City Hall as alleged by the prosecutor,” said his lawyer, Wattana Chantasilpa.
Police officers look on as lawyer Wattana Chantasilpa on Tuesday talks to reporters outside Ubon Ratchatani Provincial Court.
The same court also affirmed guilty verdicts for 12 other defendants accused of torching the Ubon Ratchathani City Hall on May 19, 2010.
Pichet was later taken to prison yesterday afternoon to begin serving his life sentence.
The May 19, 2010, arson was a response to a military crackdown on Redshirt protesters in Bangkok on that day, which came after two months of street protests demanding a fresh election from then Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva.
The violence, which erupted in April and May 2010, left more than 90 people dead, mostly civilians.
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