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2-year jail terms upheld for 5 protest leaders who besieged 'Nation'

The Court of Appeals yesterday upheld the Criminal Court's sentence of two years' imprisonment for five protest leaders who besieged The Nation's headoffice in 2006.

The five are Attharit Singlor, secretary-general of the Assembly of the Poor; Chupong Thithuan; Thanawit Palakawong, a leading member of the Assembly of the Poor; Shinawat Haboonpad, a leading member of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship; and Samrerng Adisa, a leading member of the Assembly of the Poor.

The five were charged and convicted by the lower court together with Khamta Khaenboonchan, a former leader of the Assembly of Northeastern Farmers. Khamta has since died, so his case was dismissed by the Appeals Court.

The six led some 1,000-1,300 protesters to besiege The Nation on March 30, 2006, after allegations that Kom Chad Luek, a sister paper of , published a report that defamed His Majesty the King.

The Appeals Court upheld the two-year jail terms against the five on ground that their rally was not peaceful and they could not use the claim of being loyal to the King to harass others.

Only Thanawit came to the court to hear the ruling. He was released on bail after posting assets worth Bt150,000 as a guarantee. The four others were being sought under arrest warrants issued by the Appeals Court.


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