The Royal Gazette on Friday published a royal decree announcing pardons this year for about 30,000 prisoners, and sentence reductions for another 200,000, who include three famous convicts.
Newsman Sorrayuth Suthassanachinda, red-shirt protest leader Nattawut Saikuar and former commerce minister Boonsong Teriyapirom, will receive sentence reductions after His Majesty the King granted amnesties to inmates nationwide to mark Father’s Day and His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej The Great’s birthday on Saturday.
Sorrayuth who was jailed for eight years on 21st January 2020, will see his prison term shortened and according to a source. He could be released by March next year.
He was also granted a shorter sentence via a royal pardon back in August. The news anchor was found guilty of supporting the wrongdoing of a government official who did not report extra commercials during Sorrayuth’s news programme on state-run MCOT’s TV channel from 4th February 2005 to 28th April 2006.
Nattawut and Boonsong both served under Yingluck Shinawatra, are among the politicians in jail who qualified for sentence reductions. On 20th June 2020, the Supreme Court upheld prison sentences given to United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) leaders Nattawut, Veerakarn Musigapong, Vipoothalaeng Pattanapoomthai and Weng Tojirakarn.
Nattawut, co-leader of the UDD and former deputy commerce and agriculture minister was sentenced to two years and eight months in jail for leading a violent protest 13 years ago outside the residence of late Privy Council president Prem Tinsulanonda. Although the commuted sentence would see him released before New Year, an official source said he could be sent back to prison soon after his release as he faces charges in other cases.
Boonsong, a former commerce minister, got 48 years for his involvement in the corrupt government-to-government (G2G) rice-pledging scheme during Yingluck’s term in office. His jail term too would be commuted.
The Department of Corrections currently has 247,557 convicts who qualify for sentence reductions out of a total of 344,161 inmates