11 June – Though his own case reached its end Wednesday inside the same building he was charged with defacing, a punk musician said the injustice which motivated him is unchanged.
A year after his arrest, 23-year-old Nattaphol Khemngern was fined 4,500 baht and received a two year suspended sentence for painting an anarchy symbol on a sign in front of the Criminal Court. But the musician’s bid for justice for a former bandmate shot dead by a military officer in February, 2015, remains out of reach.
Paraded in front of the press May 26, 2015, Natthaphol said he painted the Circle-A symbol to campaign for his friend’s murder case after it went nowhere following the arrest of the soldier accused of killing him in the capital’s Bang Khen district.
Yutthana Sripradit, 25, who played with Nattaphol in their band Drunk All Day, which raged against injustice, was shot dead Feb, 8, 2015, on Phahonyothin Road by a gunman in a black car. Pfc. Watcharaphong Choorat, a military officer from the 11th Military Circle, was arrested two days later.
Natthapol’s arrest generated public sympathy for the cause he was trying to bring attention to, and the case was later taken before a military tribunal where it has since languished.
Today’s court judgment was on appeal of a July verdict under which the court gave Nattaphol the maximum sentence of two years in jail for damaging public property. Another charge of contempt brought by the courts was quickly rendered with another suspended sentence.
In addition to the suspended sentence, Nattaphol, who previously worked as an art director for Kantana Group, must report in three times a year and do 12 hours of community service.