Arisman gets another year's jail for defaming Abhisit

Arisman gets another year's jail for defaming Abhisit

Red shirt co-leader Arisman Pongruangrong smiles on Dec 2. 2012 after being released on bail of 200,000 baht pending appeal, after the Criminal Court found him guilty of defaming Democrat leader Abhisit Vejjajiva and sentenced him to one year in jail. The Supreme Court upheld the sentence on Friday. (File photo, by Surapol Promsaka na Sakolnakorn)

The Supreme Court on Friday upheld two lower court rulings sentencing red-shirt co-leader Arisman Pongruangrong to one year in prison without suspension for defaming Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva.

Arisman was charged by Mr Abhisit with defamation on two occasions during public addresses from Oct 11-17, 2009. The courts agreed he wrongfully accused the Democrat leader of delaying a royal pardon petition by former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, ordering troops to kill protesters, and corruption in several projects.

He made the speeches at the Democracy Monument and in front of Government House. The speeches were broadcast on People Channel satellite TV.  

Mr Abhisit charged that Arisman’s comments tarnished his reputation and stoked public resentment against him.

Earlier, the Criminal Court sentenced Arisman to six months in prison without suspension on each count of defamation. The Appeal Court upheld the lower’s court ruling.  Arisman then took the case to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court on Friday upheld the lower courts’ rulings.

Only representatives for the plaintiff showed up to hear the judgement.

Arisman was not present as he is serving a four-year jail term after the Appeal Court last month upheld a lower court ruling sentencing him and 12 others to four years in prison for leading the riot that disrupted the 2009 Asean Summit in Pattaya.

The storming of the Asean Summit venue took place on April 11, 2009 during the Abhisit Vejjajiva government.

The red-shirt United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) protesters forced their way into the hotel, arousing fears for the safety of the regional leaders, some of whom had to be evacuated by boat.

The prosecutors filed a lawsuit against the group for defying an order prohibiting a rally of more than 10 people and violating traffic regulations.

The Pattaya Provincial Court, in March 2015, found them guilty and sentenced each of them to four years in prison without suspension.

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