Red Shirt activist jailed 6 months, suspended to 2-year probation, for libel

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BANGKOK, Sept 27 – The Criminal Court today sentenced former MP and Red Shirt activist Jatuporn Prompan to six months in jail, suspended to a two-year probation, on charges of libel against former prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva.

Mr Jatuporn, a core member of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), was given the imprisonment and a Bt50,000 fine for his speeches at a political rally and on a live broadcast on the People channel in early 2010, charging Mr Abhisit with ‘masterminding the suppression of the people’.

Mr Abhisit said the defendant’s statements were groundless and instigated the public to loathe him. In the same libel suit, the former premier said Mr Jatuporn’s allegation of draft evasion against him was baseless and affected his reputation.

The court acquitted Mr Jatuporn of the latter case given Mr Abhisit’s unclear documentation to substantiate his conscription.

Mr Jatuporn said he would be more careful in making public statements and speeches in the future. The court ordered him to publish the verdict in two Thai daily newspapers for seven days.

Mr Jatuporn’s attorney said he would appeal the court’s verdict of libel.