The Appeal Court has upheld a Pattaya court’s 2015 ruling sentencing red shirt anti-government agitator Arisman Pongruangrong and 12 cohorts to four years in prison for storming the 2009 ASEAN summit at the Royal Cliff Beach Resort.
Arisman, co-leader of the United Front of Democracy Against Dictatorship, led the April 11, 2009 protest that prompted the evacuation of world leaders via helicopter and dealt an embarrassing blow to Thailand’s world reputation. It also was the first salvo in the red shirts’ bloody two-year campaign against the Democratic Party-led government that ended with the death of 92 people in a Bangkok shopping district in May 2010.
In its decision, the appellate court upheld the entirety of the Pattaya Provincial Court’s decision convicting them of defying an order prohibiting rallies of more than 10 people and violating traffic regulations. The court confirmed the four-year sentences without suspension.
The 12 others convicted were Nisit Sinthuprai, Payap Panket, Worachai Hema, Wanchana Kerddee, Pichet Sukjindathong, Sakda Noppasit, Pol Lt Col Waipot Aparat, Nopporn Namchiangtai, Samrerng Prachamrua, Somyot Promma, Wallop Yangtrong and Singthong Buachum.
Judges then rejected bail requests by the 13 defendants – who each offered 1-2 million baht in surety – returning them to jail cells in Pattaya and Nong Plalai.
Arisman’s attorney, Kharom Polpornklang, said the case would be appealed to the Supreme Court within 30 days.
The following day about 50 of Arisman’s friends and family members visited him at Nong Plalai Prison, led by red-shirt leaders Jatuporn Phromphan, Thida Thawornset and Nattawut Saikua, who was the only red shirt leader at the Royal Cliff protest not to be indicted.
Speaking for the group, Jatuporn, who with Nattawut is free on bail pending appeal of charges they engaged in terrorism during the 2010 riots, said he would not discuss Arisman’s case due to the expected appeal. But he said the jailed red-shirt was “strong and in good spirits”.