Sombat gets a suspended jail term and fine for violating Emergency Decree in May 2010

Leader of the red-shirt Red Sunday group Sombat Boon-ngam-anong has received a suspended jail term and a fine for violating the Emergency Decree last year.

On 14 Sept, the Bangkok North Municipal Court ruled on the case of Sombat, who was prosecuted for leading a demonstration at the Ramindra-Artnarong expressway intersection on Lad Phrao Road on 21 May 2010, two days after the government’s crackdown on the red shirts at Ratchaprasong.

According to the public prosecutor, Sombat and about 1,000 demonstrators gathered on the pavement and on the road, delivered speeches through megaphones, and displayed photographs of those who had been killed, soldiers carrying war weapons and monks arrested by the soldiers during the crackdown, which violated the Emergency Decree and caused trouble to the public by blocking the traffic.

Sombat was a speaker and facilitated other speakers at the gathering, the public prosecutor said.

The defence lawyer said that Sombat saw that the government crackdowns on the red shirts were malfeasant and in violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICPR), and he was there as a member of the National Human Rights Commission’s fact-finding subcommittee on the 10 April 2010 crackdown.

Sombat was not involved with the display of the photographs.  When handed a megaphone by someone, he spoke to the crowd and what he spoke was in line with the principles of democracy and non-violence.

The court ruled that the imposition of the Emergency Decree by the Centre for the Resolution of Emergency Situation (CRES) was not against the 2007 Constitution, as the CRES performed its duty in accordance with the law as decreed by the Constitution.

The court dismissed the defendant’s request to examine the government’s procedures in using military force to disperse the red-shirt demonstrations, because this was irrelevant to the case.

The court sentenced Sombat to 6 months in prison and fined him 6,000 baht, but the jail sentence was suspended.

Sombat said that he would appeal the case.

In June 2010, Sombat was arrested and detained by the CRES under the Emergency Decree for 14 days.



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