Thailand court sentences ‘Yellow Shirt’ members for 2008 protest News
Thailand court sentences ‘Yellow Shirt’ members for 2008 protest

[JURIST] The Bangkok Criminal Court on Thursday convicted two members of the People’s Alliance for Democracy Network [BBC backgrounder], known as “Yellow Shirts,” for their roles in breaking into the Prime Minster’s office during the 2008 protests. The court found Yellow Shirt movement founder and Thai media mogul Sondhi Limthongkul and Chamlong Srimuang guilty of trespassing. Sondhi was previously sentenced [JURIST report] in 2012 to 20 years in prison without parole for violating the Securities and Exchange Act by fraudulently securing a loan for 1.1 billion baht (USD $36 million) during the 1990s. Currently, Sondhi and other Yellow Shirt members still have pending cases in relation to additional terrorism charges. The two Yellow Shirt members convicted of trespassing may still appeal [AFP report] but have been banned from traveling overseas.

Thailand has continued to see protests and upheaval. The military took control of the Thai government after a coup in May 2014, overthrowing Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. Martial law was instituted on May 20, two days before the coup [JURIST report] that ousted the former Thai government and installed General Prayuth Chan-ocha [BBC profile] as the country’s new prime minister. A group of Thai human rights activists denounced [JURIST report] and called for an end to the country’s state of martial law in September. The previous month, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights [official website] expressed concern [JURIST report] that the prosecution and sentencing of lese majeste cases by Thailand’s ruling military junta threaten citizens’ rights of free expression. Last June a group of independent UN human rights experts urged [JURIST report] Thai authorities to reverse all measures affecting basic human rights and to restore democratic rule in the country. Shortly after the coup last May, the Thai military released several statements [JURIST report] banning meetings of more than five people and imposing nightly curfews. Prayuth announced in April that the country’s military government would lift martial law [JURIST report] and replace it with a new security order.