The Criminal Court on Wednesday (February 24th) sentenced former protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban and 25 others to jail for their role in street protests to oust the Yingluck Shinawatra government.
The court jailed former People’s Democratic Reform Committee leader Suthep for five years. Among others sentenced, Buddhipongse Punnakanta with seven years, Nataphol Teepsuwan seven years and four months, and Thaworn Senneam five years.
Until 2011, Suthep was secretary-general of the Democrat Party and a deputy prime minister under Abhisit Vejjajiva. He resigned his seat in Parliament in November 2013 to become the self-appointed Secretary-general of the People’s Democratic Reform Committee.
The anti-Shinawatra crusaders were indicted on multiple charges — including terrorism and insurrection — for their role in street protests to oust then prime minister Yingluck between November 2013 and May 2014.
The sometimes violent demonstrations ended when the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) staged a coup on May 22nd 2014. The defendants pleaded not guilty during their arraignment at the Criminal Court in 2018.
Mr Buddhipongse is currently the digital economy and society minister, Mr Nataphol is the education minister and Mr Thaworn is the deputy transport minister.
The ruling could mean the end of their cabinet positions and a major reshuffle.