Reform network leaders sentenced for 2014 protest rally

Rawee Maschamadol (centre), one of four leaders of the People’s Army and Energy Reform Network, was on Tuesday sentenced to eight months in jail, suspended for two years, for the occupation of a PTT Plc building during the mass street rallies in 2014. (Bangkok Post file photo)

The Criminal Court on Tuesday sentenced Rawee Maschamadol, one of four leaders of the People’s Army and Energy Reform Network (PAERN), to eight months in jail, suspended for two years, for the occupation of a PTT Plc building during the mass street rallies in 2014.

Dr Rawee, a physician, was found guilty of colluding in illegal assembly and causing public chaos.

The court also fined him 6,000 baht 

Of the 105 co-defendants in the case, two others were given jail terms of two months and 20 days, without suspension, for offences committed during the occupation.

One defendant was acquitted. The remainder, including the three other co-leaders, were given two-month jail terms, suspended for two years, and fined 2,000 baht each.

All defendants had earlier denied the charges and been released on bail.

Earlier, the Civil Court ordered the four co-leaders of the PAERN to pay almost 10 million baht to PTT Plc for damages caused by its occupation of the company’s property during the protests in 2014.  The four are Dr Rawee, Thotsaphon Kaewthima, Itthabun Onwongsa and Somkiat Pongpaiboon.

The PAERN protesters acted in parallel with a larger group of protesters led by the People’s Democratic Reform Committee, which led months-long street protests that culminated in the overthrow of the Pheu Thai Party-led administration by the military. 

The court found that PAERN occupied the Energy Complex Building next to PTT headquarters on Jan 13, 2014, an action PTT said prevented staff from entering the facility. 

The company demanded 15.9 billion baht in compensation, plus 123,160 baht and 280,000 baht a day for loss of revenue. The defendants had argued they had a right to rally there under the protection of the constitution.

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