Thai activist and journalist charged with insurrection freed on bail

Feb. 15, 2014 at 5:36 PM

BANGKOK, Feb. 15 (UPI) -- A longtime activist and journalist charged with insurrection was released on bail Saturday in Thailand.

The Criminal Court in Bangkok set bail at 400,000 baht ($12,400) for Sonthiyan Chuenruthainaitham, accused of orchestrating a series of violent protests, including blockading government buildings and preventing parliamentary candidates from registering, the Bangkok Post reported.

Sonthiyan, 5, was arrested Feb. 9, and prosecutors urged the court to hold him, saying he faces a life sentence or even the death penalty if he is convicted.

As a condition of his release, Sonthiyan must remain in the country.

A student activist, Sonthiyan then went into journalism. He founded the satellite channel T-News.

Critics describe T-News as a house organ for the People's Democratic Reform Committee.

The committee is headed by Suthep Thaugsuban, a friend of Sonthiyan from their days at Ramkhamhaeng University.

"I have to follow the court's order, but as a journalist, I can show the truth to the people," he said.

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