The Criminal Court on Wednesday sentenced two anti -government protesters to four years in prison for attempting to set fire to a police vehicle during an anti-government rally to expel the Prime Minister under an expressway over Din Daeng intersection in 2021.
The Criminal Court gave the verdict on the case related to two teenage boys who are students at the same school. The two protesters, identified as Sakda Udomsri and Kanphirom Butkote, were arrested and charged with arson. They are also charged with illegally gathering of more than 10 people and assault or inciting incident that may cause the unrest in the country.
The prosecutors said that on August 11, 2021, the two teenagers together with around 600 protesters gathered to protest against Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha at the Victory Monument in Bangkok. They gathered without any protections under COVID-19 prevention measures.
The protesters later marched from the Victory Monument to the prime minister’s residence in military barracks of the 1st Infantry Regiment on Vibhavadi Rangsit road which is the highest security area. As they went under the expressway over Din Daeng intersection, their way was blocked by riot police.
The two teenagers and other 600 protesters were angry and shout the verbal abusive words against the police. They hurled missiles at the police, while some of them set fire to a police tow truck, causing about 2.1 million baht damage.
Mr. Sakda, who had been detained in prison, and Mr. Kanpirom, who had been released on bail, are both in court for the judgment. They pledged guilty to the offences.
The court ruled that the two teenagers are friends at the same school and joined the protest. The prosecutors showed a video clip from a Facebook page as evidence to support the charges against them. The video clip showed the two defendants hurling burning missiles at the tow truck. The fire was extinguished. Other protesters were also seen to have hurled similar missiles at the truck. It means that they were not only group who tried to set fire on the vehicle. The two started the move but there is no evidence to show that the two defendants started that fire and the fire may cause by other people.
The court ruled that it could not convict them of torching the truck, but found them guilty of attempted arson that caused the damages to other people’s property.
The court found them guilty of violating the emergency decree and taking part in an illegal assembly that may spread COVID-19 to others. The court also found they were jointly attempting to set fire to police property. The court sentenced them each to four years in prison. The sentence was commuted to two years because they confess. The sentence was not suspended. (TNA)