in

Appeal Court allows PDRC leaders to walk free on bail

Former leaders of the now-defunct People's Democratic Reform Committee leave Bangkok Remand Prison about noon yesterday after they were granted bail. From left, in the front row are Nataphol Teepsuwan, Thaworn Senneam, Issara Somchai, Suthep Thaugsuban and Buddhipongse Punnakanta. Chanat Katanyu
Former leaders of the now-defunct People’s Democratic Reform Committee leave Bangkok Remand Prison about noon yesterday after they were granted bail. From left, in the front row are Nataphol Teepsuwan, Thaworn Senneam, Issara Somchai, Suthep Thaugsuban and Buddhipongse Punnakanta. Chanat Katanyu

The eight former leaders of the disbanded People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) jailed this week by the Criminal Court, walked out of Bangkok Remand Prison yesterday afternoon after the Appeal Court granted them bail.

They had spent the two previous nights behind bars.

Their lawyer Sawat Charoenphon said the Appeal Court granted them bail yesterday morning because they had not attempted to flee while out on bail during their trial in the Criminal Court.

However the court increased the bail amount from 600,000 to 800,000 baht each, and barred them from leaving the country without permission.

The eight included Suthep Thaugsuban, Issara Somchai, Chumpol Julsai, Suwit Thongprasert and Samdin Lertbutr.

The other three were Buddhipongse Punnakanta, Thaworn Senneam, and Nataphol Teepsuwan — cabinet ministers who instantly lost their posts when convicted.

All eight were among 26 people handed varying jail sentences on Wednesday for their roles in the street protests that culminated in the May 2014 coup that removed Yingluck Shinawatra and her administration from power.

They had been indicted on several charges, including insurrection, criminal association, illegal assembly and obstructing others from casting votes during street protests between November 2013 and May 2014.

After sentencing, they were sent to Bangkok Remand Prison.

The Appeal Court subsequently allowed them bail after they announced they would appeal.

Mr Suthep said he felt sorry for his colleagues who had lost their cabinet posts and electoral rights.

Mr Nataphol, the former education minister, said the Criminal Court’s guilty verdict and sentence came as a huge blow which would have many repercussions, not just a political impact.

Mr Thaworn, the former deputy transport minister, said he was treated just like any other inmate while locked up and that he was “very happy” behind bars.

Reference