BANGKOK — The Supreme Court on Friday affirmed the prison sentences of five Redshirt leaders for their 2007 protest at the residence of the late chief advisor to the previous king.
In its decision, the court found the defendants, including Nattawut Saikua, Veerakarn Musikapong, Weng Tojirakarn, Nopparuj Worachitwuthikul, and Vipoothalaeng Pattanapoomthai, guilty for their rally in front of Si Sao Thewes Residence, where Privy Council President Gen. Prem Tinsulanond lived until his death in 2019.
Today’s ruling affirmed convictions by lower courts, which sentenced the defendants to two years and eight months prison sentences for their action on July 22, 2007. Redshirt leader Jatuporn Prompan said the defendants respected the court’s decision.
“I once said to them that on our way of fighting, it’s either death or imprisonment,” Jatuporn, who is also due to stand trial on the same offense, said. “Our brothers humbly accepted the court’s ruling, while me and others are waiting for our case to be tried. Over the past decade, we took turns getting in and out of the prison.”
Tida Tawornset, who served as a former chairwoman of the Redshirts’ United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship, said she hoped the defendants would be treated fairly in prison.
“The case is already over,” Tida said. “I hope they will be able to do social work in prison and be treated appropriately. Even though they share different thoughts, they are not criminals.”
Supporters of the fugitive former PM Thaksin Shinawatra laid siege to the residence that night in a protest against Prem’s alleged involvement in the coup against Thaksin a year earlier. The protest turned violent after police attempted to arrest the protest leaders.
The defendants were convicted on charges of illegal assembly and using violence to resist police orders.
A crowd of Redshirt supporters and politicians visited the court today to show their support for the convicted leaders.
Nattawut Saikua showed up to the verdict in his red Liverpool football club jersey. He and other defendants were quickly driven to the prison after their trial concluded.