Court postpones bail revocation decision on red shirt leader Jatuporn

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BANGKOK, July 23 – The Criminal Court on Monday postponed its decision to review the arguments for bail for red shirt leader Jatuporn Prompan to next month, saying some facts are yet to be established. 

The court postponement came as the Constitution Court earlier initiated a petition to the criminal court seeking the revocation of Mr Jatuporn’s bail after he criticised the charter court’s decision to review petitions against the government-sponsored charter amendment bills on June 7.

In its bail petition, the court said it regarded Mr Jatuporn’s criticisms as a threat, violating a condition of his bail prohibiting him from disseminating information in a way that may damage court procedures.

Key leaders of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) including Thida Thavornsreth, Weng Tojirakarn and Natthawaut Saikua led the crowd to give moral support to Mr Jatuporn at the court compound in the morning amid tight security of 300 police.

Mr Jatuporn appeared at court at 9.30am and insisted that his June 7 comment was simply meant to criticise the work of the Constitution Court, not threaten the court judges or destroy the judicial system as accused.

He added that his speech did not instigate the public as no red shirt supporters appeared at the Constitution Court compound during the hearing and on the ruling days after the protest leaders told their supporters not to gather there.

Constitution Court Sec-Gen Chavana Traimas however reasserted to the court during today’s hearing that Mr Jatuporn’s remarks did affect the court judges and was intended to destroy the judicial system.

After four hours of the hearing, the court postponed its decision to Aug 9, together with the consideration of similar cases of 24 red shirt leaders whose bail revocations were sought by the opposition Democrat Party and the Constitution Court.

The court warned the defendant that, although he has the freedom of expression under the Constitution, he could not make any speech that defames others, and instructed him to strictly comply with his bail conditions which ban any public speech istigating the public to cause chaos.

Mr Jatuporn expressed gratitude to the court for combining his case to those of the other Red Shirt leaders and said he is ready to abide by the court’s order.

Prosecuted for terrorism charges in connection with the violence during the ten-week red shirt demonstrations against the then Abhisit Vejjajiva administration in 2010, Mr Jatuporn was released on bail after the Election Commission officially endorsed his status as a member of Parliament.

However, the Constitution Court on May 18 disqualified him as a Pheu Thai party-list MP as he forfeited his party membership by failing to exercise his right to vote in the July 3 election because he was in jail during the weeks before the 2011 general election.

Mr Jatuporn earlier announced that if his bail is revoked, he will walk from the Democracy Monument to prison and stage a hunger strike.