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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Briton facing death penalty over redshirt riot breaks down in Thailand court

A Briton facing jail, or even the possibility of a death sentence, for his alleged part in redshirt rioting in Bangkok last week, broke down in tears in court today, saying his incarceration is distressing his elderly mother.

Led into court barefoot, Savage was manacled in leg-irons, and wearing prison-issue orange shirt and shorts. He struggled with guards and insisted he was being blamed for the crimes of others.

"We're being scapegoated. Where's all the other people who were in the protest? … We're being made scapegoats. We're political prisoners."

But facing a judge for the first time since being arrested at the weekend, he broke down sobbing. "This is hurting my mother, she's 80 years old. Can't anybody help me?"

Savage appeared in court alongside an Australian man Conor Purcell, who berated the judge, saying that the court had no authority to try him.

"Nobody in this country has authority over me. I'm not under Thai law. I'm only obeying international law. I'm head of the red gang," he yelled at the court, brushing off efforts by embassy officials to calm him down.

Purcell, who also claimed to have been beaten in prison, is facing similar charges to Savage. He is accused of inciting violence through a series of incendiary speeches made on the redshirts' main protest stage.

Both Savage and Purcell had their detentions in Bangkok remand prison extended under the emergency decree for another week. They will reappear in court on 4 June.

Led from the court, Savage was again defiant: "They won't gag us. This is a political case … they're charging me with a criminal case." 

Read more at The Guardian

Ed. Looks like Savage now realises his 15mins of fame might be his last, ever. Purcell ain't got the message yet.

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