Pro-democracy lecturer jailed for contempt of court

Sudsa-nguan Sutheesorn in front of the Civil Court on Ratchadapisek Rd., Bangkok, on 8 November 2016 (Photo from Matichon)

The Supreme Court has sentenced a pro-democracy lecturer from Thammasat University to one month imprisonment over contempt of court.

On 8 November 2016, the Civil Court on Ratchadapisek Rd., Bangkok, read the Supreme Court verdict, sentencing Sudsa-nguan Sutheesorn, a lecturer of the Social Administration Faculty of Thammasat University, to one month imprisonment without suspension of jail term.

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Sudsa-nguan was charged with contempt of court together with Picha Wijitsilp, a lawyer for the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), the main red shirt faction affiliated with Thanksin Shinawatar, and Darunee Kritboonyalai, another UDD member.

The three were leading a protest in front of the Civil Court on 21 February 2014 to criticise its performance. The protesters also laid a wreath in front of the court with a message reads “for the injustice of the Civil Court”.

However, the lawyer has died while the case was ongoing and Darunee has jumped bail and is now in a self-imposed exile in the US.

The Supreme Court confirmed the verdict of the Court of First Instance over the case.

After the hearing, the authorities took Sudsa-nguan to the Women’s Correctional Institute of Bangkok.

About 30 people were at the Civil Court to give Sudsa-nguan moral support.

In November 2015, the Appeal Court reversed a one month prison term handed down to the Thammasat University lecturer by the lower court to one month detention instead. Under the Appeal Court’s verdict, Sudsa-nguan does not have to be detained in prison.

Similarly, however, the three courts, ruled not to give Sudsa-nguan a suspended jail term, reasoning that she graduated bachelor degree in law from Thammasat University and a master’s degree from US. Therefore she should be well aware of the law.

Report shared by Prachatai English

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