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Democrat brothers freed from prison on parole

Two Democrat politicians jailed for election fraud, former MP Thepthai Senpong and his younger brother Manote, a former chairman of the Nakhon Si Thammarat provincial administration organisation, were on Monday released on parole from Nakhon Si Thammarat prison.

The brothers were all smiles as they were escorted out of the prison at 10.30am, each wearing black shorts, a white T-shirt and canvas shoes. They were greeted by a large number of relatives, associates and friends.

Prison warders took them to the provincial probation office where they were each fitted with an electronic ankle tag, then returned to the prison and released.

To fulfill a promise, both men then began a run from in front of the prison, turning onto Ron Phibun-Nakhon Si Thammarat road and heading for their home in Phra Phrom district, about 10 kilometres away.Arriving at their house, they were again greeted by relatives and political supporters before sitting down to a large lunch.

They thanked the Corrections Department for granting them parole, and said they would later announce any plans for a political future.

The two were accused of fraud in the PAO election in a 2014 case filed with the Nakhon Si Thammarat Court by Pichai Boonyakiat, former chairman of the PAO.

They were found guilty of hosting a party at a restaurant in Nakhon Si Thammarat during election campaiging in 2013, in violation of the election law.On Aug 28, 2020, the court of first instance found the two guilty as charged and sentenced them to three years each in prison and deprived them of election rights for ten years. The term was commuted to two years, without suspension. The judgement was upheld by the Appeal Court on May 11, 2021.

The two appealed to the Supreme Court, which on July 6, 2022 upheld the judgement.

After 16 months in prison, two-thirds of the two-year term, the Corrections Department granted their request for parole. They must wear ankle tags for the remaining eight months of their sentences.Thepthai was an MP for Nakhon Si Thammarat and was stripped of his parliamentary status by the Constitutional Court in January 2021, following hisAugust 2020 conviction.

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