THE Criminal Court today (Feb. 24) sentenced three ministers and protest leader and former deputy prime minister Suthep Thaugsuban to imprisonment for mounting street protests that toppled former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra in 2014 with the three ministers immediately losing their positions, Sanook.com and Thai Rath newspaper said this evening.
Altogether 39 suspects who were members of People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) umbrella pressure group faced charges of insurrection, terrorism and causing chaos in the country with all this leading to the overthrow of the Yingluck government. The chaos ended when the National Council for Peace and Order staged a coup in May that year.
The Shutdown Bangkok movement they launched seized government offices and set up seven stages in various areas of the capital with their often violent demonstrations leading to 24 people being killed and over 900 injured. The umbrella movement also blocked a general election.
The court sentenced Suthep to five years imprisonment, Buddhipongse Punnakanta to seven years, Nataphol Teepsuwan to six years and 16 months,Thaworn Senneam to five years and Miss Anchalee Phairirak to one year.
As a result, Buddhiponse (Digital Economy and Society Minister), Nataphol (Education Minister) and Thaworn (Transport Minister) had to immediately vacate their positions due to lack of qualifications as stated in Article 160 (7) of the Constitution.
Top: The 39 defendants going to court today. Photo: Thai Rath
Home Page: Suthep Thaugsuban leading protesters in 2014. Photo: AFP and published by BBC