Pita, Other Opposition Leaders Given Suspended Prison Terms

On Monday, the Pathumwan District Court sentenced Pita Limjaroenrat, Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, and six others to a four-month prison term each, suspended for two years, for their participation in a 2019 flash mob protest in the Pathumwan district.

Pita Limjaroenrat serves as the chief adviser to the opposition-led Move Forward Party, while Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit is recognized as the former leader of the now-dissolved Future Forward Party (FFP) and leader of the Progressive Movement.

The court also handed down sentences to Piyabutr Saengkanokkul, the movement’s secretary-general, Pannika Wanich, the spokesperson, Pairattachote Chantarakajon, a former FFP election candidate, Nattha Mahatthana, Thanawat Wongchai, and Parit Chiwarak.

They were found guilty of organizing a flash mob on the skywalk near the Pathumwan train station intersection, in close proximity to the Sa Pathum Palace. This action disrupted train operations and blocked access to a public area.

The court imposed a suspended four-year prison sentence on each defendant, taking into account their clean criminal records and the political nature of the protest, which was deemed not to be of a serious criminal nature.

Additionally, the court fined the group 20,200 baht for holding the rally without the necessary notifications and for using loudspeakers without authorization.

Mr. Pita announced their intention to appeal the decision, specifically questioning the claimed proximity of the rally to the palace.

The protest, which took place on December 14, 2019, was the largest since the 2014 coup, sparked by the Election Commission’s recommendation to dissolve the Future Forward Party over allegations of an illegal loan against Mr. Thanathorn.

Following these events, the party was disbanded, and Mr. Thanathorn, along with other executive members, was barred from political office.