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Thailand Court Frees Two Key Anti-Government Activists

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Thailand Court Frees Two Key Anti-Government Activists

A Thailand Court has freed 2 prominent Thai activists after they were arrested last month for their roles in anti-government rallies. They were released on Monday after spending five days in prison for bail breaches.

Human Rights lawyer Anon Nampa, 36, and student activist Panupong Jadnok, 24, were sent to a Bangkok remand prison last week. A court ruled their recent political activities were against their bail conditions.

But police from the precinct that initially arrested the pair revoked the detention request. Saying an investigation into their conduct while on bail showed there was no need to hold them. A Criminal Court statement said on Monday, the court considered this and issued an order for their release.

Both have participated in near-daily protests in the past two months to demand the military steps back from politics and the removal of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, who first came to power in a 2014 coup.

Mr Prayut last month begged protesters “not to create chaos”and said problems can he solved together.

Both anti-government activists face multiple charges

Panupong and Anon have been arrested several times and were among more than a dozen protesters charged recently with inciting unrest and breaching covid-19 regulations banning gatherings.

“This is a good lesson to those wielding powers in this country that their use of power must be just,” Anon told Asia One. Asked if he was concerned about mounting cases against him, Anon said: “Not at all. To catch a fish it’s normal to get wet”.

Panupong said their fight would continue. “They can only lock us up physically but they cannot lock out our ideals and our fighting spirit,” he said. Anon is also among several activists who made a bold public call for reform of the monarchy, until recently a taboo issue in Thailand.

A student group plans a major protest on Sept 19 and Anon said he and Panupong “will certainly participate”.

Amnesty International Launches Campaign Against Thai Government

Thailand’s military backed government has issued statements in response to a campaign launched by Amnesty International. The Foreign Ministry and Royal Thai Police Office both made independent statements.

London-based rights organization urges more than 8 million people who are its members, supporters and democracy activists around the world to write to Thailand’s Prime Minister. Asking him to drop charges against the 31 protest leaders of the July 18 demonstration at the Democracy Monument in Bangkok. Also to stop obstructing people from taking part in public gatherings to criticize his government.

Amnesty International also asks the government to repeal laws it deems suppressing. Especially to people’s freedom of expression and right to peaceful gatherings. The Amnesty International campaign will continue until Oct 21.

The Prime Minister’s Office on Monday published two statements issued by the Foreign Ministry and Royal Thai Police Office (RTPO).

Amnesty International campaign refuted

The Foreign Ministry’s statement says the government has not blocked critics. During the past two months, students and people were allowed to hold several demonstrations. Furthermore their freedom of expression and right to peaceful gatherings wasn’t violated.

“However, in exercising such rights and liberties, demonstrators are required to comply with the laws. Also respect the rights and freedom of others for the sake of law and order; as well as national security; in line with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) of which Thailand had signed.

The government is open to constructive criticisms which are not aggressive or insulting to other people.

The Royal Thai Police said in its statement that in monitoring the gatherings. Police have been careful to avoid any form of violence to ensure safety of the demonstrators and passers-by. Some of the demonstrators have been charged, without discrimination, for violating the laws.

However, they have the right to fight the charges in the justice process. Their fundamental human rights are respected in line with international standards. The Royal Thai Police adheres to the human rights principle regarding peaceful gatherings and expression.

As for the protest leaders who broke the law, the RTPO has set up a committee to look into the violations to make sure that legal action taken against them are lawful, transparent and accountable.

With solid evidence, the police investigators sought court approvals for their arrests. Most of those arrested were temporarily freed on bail. Only those who broke the bail conditions saw their temporary releases revoked.

“The RTPO assures that the legal action taken against the protest leaders is in line with the Criminal Procedures Code and other related laws,” says the statement.

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