February 6, 2024
BANGKOK – The defendants included PM-hopeful Pita Limjaroenrat, who led Move Forward (Future Forward’s successor) to resounding victory last year. Also slapped with the sentence were Future Forward leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, Piyabutr Saengkanokkul, Pannika Wanich, Phairatthachot Chantharakhajorn, as well as well-known political activists like Nuttaa Mahattana, Parit Chiwarak, and Tanawat Wongchai.
The Pathumwan Municipal Court, however, suspended the sentence for all defendants for two years but hit them with a penalty of 22,000 baht each.
In its verdict on Monday, the court said the 2019 rally outside the Bangkok Art & Culture Centre in the heart of Bangkok was in breach of the Public Assembly Act. It said the assembly was held without notifying authorities and no provisions had been made for the safety of people using public areas.
The eight defendants were also found to have broken the Advertisement by Using Amplifiers Control Act. In addition, the court found the defendants guilty of breaking the law by holding a rally within a 150-metre radius of the Sa Pathum Palace.
The 2019 rally was staged after Future Forward was dissolved for breaching the Organic Act on Political Parties by receiving 191.2 million baht from its leader.
The party’s executives, including Thanathorn, Piyabutr and Pannika, were barred from politics for 10 years.
However, Pannika was later barred for life from politics for allegedly posting social media comments related to the monarchy.