Political arrests I

7 08 2020

The challenge posed to the regime (and monarchy) by the student- and democracy activist-led has been met by an expected crackdown.

Most readers will know by now, as reported by Prachatai, that:

Anon Nampa and student activist Panupong Jadnok are now under arrest on sedition charges under Section 116 [sedition] of the Criminal Code and for violating the Emergency Decree after they took part in the mass protest on 18 July.

Recall that when last extending its emergency decree, the regime took time to explain that it was not to be used for preventing protest. That was a lie.

Arrested at about 2 pm on 7 August, the warrant:

… accuses Anon of sedition under Section 116 of the Criminal Code; of organizing an assembly of ten or more people and threatening to cause violence or a breach of peace under Section 215 of the Criminal Code; violating the Emergency Decree, which bans large gatherings; obstructing the public way without permission under Section 385 of the Criminal Code; violating Section 19 of the Maintenance of the Cleanliness and Orderliness of the Country Act; and of using loudspeaker without permission under the Controlling Public Advertisement by Sound Amplifier Act.

Panupong was arrested at about 3 pm. at Ramkhamhaeng University. He is “a Rayong-based student activist who previously face harassment from the authorities after he attempted to hold up a protest sign during … Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha’s visit to Rayong last month…”.

Depending on the report read, it is clear that this is a wider crackdown, with the police going after somewhere between 7 and 31 protesters, with “[s]tudent activist Parit ‘Penguin’ Chiwarak said on the phone he was informed by his lawyer that he was among the wanted list.”

As is usual in such cases, the police ignore law and constitution:

At 17.40, both Panupong and Anon are being taken to the Bangkok Criminal Court on Ratchadaphisek Road. TLHR [Thai Lawyers for Human Rights] said that, if both are detained and are unable to post bail in time, they will be send to prison.

TLHR also reported that the inquiry officer at the Samranrat Police Station has forced Panupong to sign a statement without waiting for his lawyer to arrive. He was then taken to court without his lawyer.

They appeared before the court outside court hours, considered an unlawful act.

Move Forward party MPs reportedly attended the Criminal Court and were said to be “using their positions as security to post bail for the pair.” However, as a political act, both men withdrew their bail requests. Arnon explained:

“The dictator is using the judicial process as a tool in shutting the people up. Being granted bail with the condition of being prohibited from protesting or raising questions about the monarchy is something we cannot accept.

“I am willing to sacrifice my freedom to stand by my principles. I ask all of you to come out and fight for our goals. Don’t waste your time on freeing Anon. Use your time to fight for the goals we are fighting for.

I believe in my friends who are outside.

In the latter, he was referring to the crowds assembled outside the court and at the Bangkhen police station.

Panupong explained why he withdrew his bail request:

“When the law becomes a tool for the dictatorship, it probably is time for the people who fight for democracy. I ask you to stand and keep fighting with the strength of your beliefs. When I get my freedom, I will be fighting and I won’t back down.”

At about 10 pm, the Criminal Court decided that it would “not accept the temporary detention request for Anon … and Panupong … as the request was submitted outside of working hours and ordered the officers to bring them in for detention again within 48 hours.”

According to reports, this meant that the police could not hold the two men. Again, the police ignored the law and detained them overnight, planning to return them to the Criminal Court in the morning.

Clipped from Prachatai

Protesters unsuccessfully tried to block the forcible transfer of Arnon and Panupong and crowds grew outside the police station where they were detained.



3 responses

9 08 2020
Political arrests III | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] A couple of days ago, Thai Enquirer referred to the regime’s political strategy against mounting student protests as “decapitation arrests,” meaning that it sought to remove or repress those it considers the protest leaders. Hence the arrest of Arnon and Panupong. […]

13 08 2020
Hardening lines | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] Phasuk at Human Rights Watch warns that legal measures and intimidation of pro-democracy protesters “is getting more and more […]

15 08 2020
Hardening lines I | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] Phasuk at Human Rights Watch warns that legal measures and intimidation of pro-democracy protesters “is getting more and more […]

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