Songkhla Court frees Red Shirt Arisman on bail

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SONGKHLA, Dec 29 – The Songkhla Provincial Court on Thursday released Red Shirt activist Arisman Pongruangrong on bail after he appeared to acknowledge a defamation charge filed by Democrat MP for Songkhla Sirichok Sopha.

Raphiphan Pongruangrong, Mr Arisman’s wife, posted her Pheu Thai Party member of parliament status as collateral to secure her husband’s release. The court then granted bail for Mr Arisman and set the hearing on the case for Feb 22, 2012.

Speaking to the media before leaving court, Mr Arisman said he was grateful for the court’s mercy and that he would follow its suggestion that he should settle the case with Mr Sirichoke.

The Red Shirt activist argued that he simply picked up the media report on the issue which landed him in court. Whether the case would be transferred to a Bangkok court or not is up to his lawyer who will later file a request to the court.

He also faces terrorism charges related to his role in last year’s protests.

Mr Arisman surrendered to authorities on Dec 7 after having been on the run for more than a year.

His first two bail requests were rejected by the lower court.

The Court of Appeals on Wednesday released him after his lawyer posted bail of six million baht.

The former pop singer pledged that the Red Shirt movement from now on would step up its efforts to promote national reconciliation.