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Thursday, Jun 12, 2014

Asia

Thai anti-coup leader may face long jail sentence

AFP | Thursday, Jun 12, 2014

Sombat Boonngamanong (center), is escorted by soldiers and policemen as he arrives at the military court in Bangkok

BANGKOK - A prominent anti-coup activist in Thailand faces up to 14 years in prison if convicted of incitement, computer crimes and ignoring a summons by the junta, police said Thursday.

Sombat Boonngamanong, who led a social media campaign to stage peaceful but illegal rallies against the junta, is set to stand trial in a military court.

He has been charged with inciting unrest, violating the computer crime act and defying an order by the junta to turn himself in, according to Prasopchoke Prommul, deputy commander of the police's crime suppression division.

"We will bring him to the military court to seek his detention," he added.

If found guilty, Sombat faces seven years in jail for incitement, five years for spreading false information over the Internet and two years for ignoring the summons, Prasopchoke said.

Sombat was one of several hundred politicians, activists, academics and journalists called in by the junta following the May 22 coup.

Those who attended were detained in secret locations for up to a week and ordered to cease political activities.

Sombat, a prominent pro-democracy activist, refused to turn himself in, instead posting a message on Facebook saying: "Catch me if you can".

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