Sondhi Limthongkul gets a slap on the wrist

2 09 2010

The Bangkok Post reports that the “Criminal Court on Thursday sentenced Sondhi Limthongkul, a People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) leader, and Sarocha Porn-udomsak to six months each in jail, suspended for two years, after finding them guilty of defaming former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.” They also copped a fine of 20,000 baht each (a paltry $600). So, guilty, but they get out of jail free. The lawsuit had it that back in August 2007, Sondhi and Sarocha hosted the programme “Yam Fao Paen Din” broadcast on ASTV which featured speeches they made to PAD supporters in the US. They were also published in the Manager newspaper, owned by Sondhi. The court found these speeches defamed Thaksin.

The defamation was that Sondhi and Sarocha claimed that “former deputy prime minister Surakiart Sathirathai … [said that] about eight hours after the Sept 19, 2006 coup that he resigned from the Thaksin government because Thaksin had verbally offended a high institution.” That is, the monarchy. The judge stated that: “The actions by both defendants were slanderous…”. It is unclear from the report what happened to the same charge against the Manager newspaper.

A slap on the wrist, but a small victory for Thaksin in a court system that has seldom made any secret of its bias against him and his supporters.


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