By Teeranai Charuvastra
BANGKOK — A former Pheu Thai MP and Redshirt activist is free after nearly two years in prison on royal defamation charges.
Police Sgt. Prasit Chaisrisa, better known as “Ja [Sergeant] Prasit,” was granted a royal pardon and released from Bangkok Remand Prison, justice permanent secretary Charnchao Chaiyanukit announced Saturday.
Under the law His Majesty the King can pardon convicts based on recommendations from the Ministry of Justice. Prisoners can petition for a pardon so long as their legal cases are resolved.
“Throughout the time Sgt. Prasit was detained in prison, he strictly followed the prison regulations,” Charnchao said after the 51-year-old man’s Friday release.
Prasit was detained by the military after it seized power from the Pheu Thai government in May 2014 and charged with lese majeste (insulting the monarchy) for comments he made during a Redshirt rally earlier that month at the Imperial World mall in Bangkok’s Lat Phrao district.
The activist, known for his exuberant and humorous speaking style, was denied bail and imprisoned May 29, 2014. The court later sentenced him to 30 months in prison.
Critical remarks about the Royal Family are punishable by up to 15 years in prison per offense.
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Teeranai Charuvastra can be reached at [email protected] and @Teeranai_C.