Thai court ousts 3 Cabinet members found guilty of sedition

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BANGKOK — Three Cabinet ministers in Thailand were forced to leave their posts Wednesday after a court found them guilty of sedition for taking part in sometimes-violent protests in 2013-2014 against the government then in power.

The Criminal Court in Bangkok found Digital Economy Minister Buddhipongse Punnakanta, Education Minister Nataphol Teepsuwan and Deputy Transport Minister Thaworn Senneam guilty along with about two dozen other defendants in a case that was launched in 2018.

The verdicts can be appealed to a higher court but under the law the Cabinet ministers must relinquish their jobs immediately.

Another prominent person convicted Wednesday was Suthep Thaugsuban, a former deputy prime minister who helped found the People’s Democratic Reform Committee, which led the demonstrations against the elected government of then-Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. Instability caused by the street protests led to the Thai army staging a coup in 2014 and keeping power until 2019.

Suthep and the Cabinet ministers each received prison sentences ranging from five to about seven years.

The Associated Press