Junta critic gets 1 year suspended jail term for contempt of court

The Criminal Court has handed a one year suspended jail term to a junta critic accused of contempt of court.

On 21 August 2017, the Criminal Court sentenced Watana Muangsook, a well-known politician from the Pheu Thai Party, to one year in prison and a 500 baht fine for violating Articles 15, 30, and 31 of the Criminal Procedure Code, laws related to contempt of court.   

He was charged with broadcasting through Facebook live from the court premises about another case.

The court, however, suspended the jail term for one year and ordered him to delete the clip on Facebook.  Watana said he did not know that such action is prohibited within the court and that he was told by court staff that he could use his mobile phone.

The sentence was read as he was waiting for the court decision whether or not to detain him on other cases related to Article 116 of the Criminal Code, the sedition law, and Article 14 of the Computer Crime Act.  

The sedition case is related to his Facebook posts in support of former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra before she delivered her closing statement on the rice-pledging scheme case.

In the other case, he is accused of importing illegal online content on his Facebook post about the disappearance of the 1932 Revolution Memorial Plaque in April which triggered an outcry among progressive and pro-democracy groups.

He was released on 200,000 baht bail on both charges without any condition.

Watana Muangsook (Photo from Banrasdr Photo Facebook)