Thai ‘Red Shirt’ leader jailed for defamation ahead of polls

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BANGKOK: A leader of Thailand’s ‘Red Shirt’ movement was jailed Thursday for defaming an ex-prime minister, sidelining a key voice of dissent against the ruling junta ahead of polls expected in 2018. Thailand’s Supreme Court sentenced Jatuporn Prompan over a 2009 speech accusing then-PM Abhisit Vejjajiva of being a “tyrant” and ordering the military to shoot at protesters in clashes that year. He is “sentenced to one year in prison without suspension”, despite his case being twice dismissed by lower courts, Jatuporn’s team confirmed on his Facebook page. The verdict is likely to fuel anger among the Red Shirts, a once-vociferous, pro-democracy street movement that has been silenced by the junta that seized power in 2014.

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