Court sentences ex-Phue Thai politician to 5 years in jail for lese majeste

The Criminal Court has sentenced Sgt Prasit Chaisrisa, a former Pheu Thai MP and red-shirt figure, to five years in jail, but since the defendant pleaded guilty, the jail term was halved to two years and six months. 
 
The court ruled that Prasit defamed the King during a speech at an event titled “Stop Overthrowing Democracy,” held at the Imperial World Ladprao Department Store on 7 May 2014. 
 
The court reasoned that the jail term should not be suspended because the speech greatly damaged the beloved monarchical institution of the Thai people, so it is considered a serious crime. Moreover, since the defendant was an MP, he should have had more awareness of the law than ordinary people. 
 
A staff member of the military Judge Advocate General’s Office filed a police complaint against him after the coup on 22 May. He has been detained at the Bangkok Remand Prison since his arrest on 29 May. The court has denied his request for bail.  On 29 September he pleaded not guilty in court, but later on 21 October, the former MP submitted a 32-page written testimony to the court which confessed to most of the alleged crimes. On Monday the court asked him whether he wanted to withdraw the parts of the written testimony which rejected the accusation. Prasit decided to withdraw them and pleaded guilty to all accusations.