Thammasat lecturer jailed for contempt of court

The Supreme Court has sentenced a pro-democracy lecturer from Thammasat University to one month imprisonment for contempt of court.

On 8 November 2016, the Civil Court on Ratchadapisek Rd., Bangkok, read the verdict of the Supreme Court, sentencing Sudsa-nguan Sutheesorn, a lecturer at the Social Administration Faculty of Thammasat University, to one month imprisonment without suspension of the jail term. The Supreme Court confirmed the verdict of the Court of First Instance.

Sudsa-nguan was charged with contempt of court together with Picha Wijitsilp, a lawyer for the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), the main red shirt faction affiliated with Thaksin Shinawatra, and Darunee Kritboonyalai, another UDD member.

The three led a protest in front of the Civil Court on 21 February 2014 to criticise its performance. The protesters laid a wreath in front of the court with a message reading “for the injustice of the Civil Court”.

Picha died while the case was ongoing and Darunee jumped bail and is now in a self-imposed exile in the US.

After the hearing, the authorities took Sudsa-nguan to the Women’s Correctional Institute of Bangkok.

About 30 people were at the Civil Court to give Sudsa-nguan moral support.   

In November 2015, the Appeal Court changed a one month prison term handed down to the Thammasat University lecturer by the lower court to one month detention instead. Under the Appeal Court verdict, Sudsa-nguan would not have to be detained in prison.

However the three courts all ruled not to suspend the jail term, reasoning that she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in law from Thammasat University and a master's degree from the US and therefore she should be well aware of the law.

 
Sudsa-nguan Sutheesorn in front of the Civil Court on Ratchadaphisek Rd., Bangkok, on 8 November 2016 (Photo from Matichon)

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