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Appeals Court lowers prison sentence on six yellow shirt leaders to 8 months from 2 years

The Appeals Court today reversed the sentences handed down earlier by the Criminal Court on six yellow shirt leaders from two years to eight months after finding the first court's jail sentence too hefty.

However no suspension of their jail sentences remained.

At the hearing today of the Appeals Court's verdict on the six former leaders of the defunct People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD), the court said although what the six defendants had committed were the violation of the law, and caused state property damages that had affected the administration of the country, and had gone beyond the boundary of freedom of free expression under the democracy, but what they did, did not intend for personal benefits and did not intend on the lives of persons.

It said the two-year imprisonment sentence for each of the six defendants without suspension by the first court was too hefty.

It said the testimonies given by the six defendants were reasonable to commute the two years sentence to one year instead.

Besides, the court said testimonies by the defendants were useful for the trial procedure.

Therefore their one year sentence each would be commuted by one-third to eight months in jail, the court said.

Their lawyer Suwat Aphaisak said he was preparing to place 100,000 baht as bails for each of the five leaders.

For the former PAD leader Sondhi Limthongkul, the lawyer said he is still serving jail term on other case.

The six leaders who included Sonthi Limthongkul were sentenced to two years in prison for their parts in leading protesters to lay siege to Government House for more than three months during the anti-government protest in 2008.

Five others are former Bangkok governor Maj Gen Chamlong Srimuang, Pibhop Dhongchai, Somkiat Pongpaibul, Somsak Kosaisuk and Suriyasai Katasila, were charged by the state prosecutors of trespassing on Government House and causing damage to the property from Aug 26 to Dec 3, 2008.

They led protesters to pressure then-prime ministers Samak Sundaravej and Somchai Wongsawat to resign, accusing them of conflicts of interest through links with former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)