Background: On 23 June 2016, 13 of the NDM activists and some of labour rights groups were arrested by military while distributing and handing out leaflets and documents campaigning for ‘vote no’ in the referendum. All of them are charged with violating the junta’s ban on political gathering of five persons and an offence against the Constitution Referendum Act 2016. They are subject to military court jurisdiction and, if found guilty, could face up to 10 years of imprisonment, fine of 200,000 Baht, and also have their right to vote revoked by court according to the Referendum Act.

The 13 activists included 1. Mr. Rangsiman Rome, 2. Mr. Korakoch Saengyenpan, 3. Ms. Tueanjai Waengkham, 4. Mr. Anan Loket, 5. Mr. Thirayut Napnaram, 6. Ms. Pimai Ratwongsa, 7. Mr. Rac
kchart Wong-arthichart, 8. Mr. Yuttana Dasri, 9. Mr. Somsakol Thongsuksai, 10. Ms. Konchanok Tanakhun, 11. Mr. Worawut Butmat, 12. Ms. Phanthip Saengathit, 13. Mr. Nantapong Panmat.

On 24 June 2016, six alleged offenders; Ms. Tueanjai Waengkham, Ms. Pimai Ratwongsa, Mr. Rackchart Wong-arthichart, Ms. Konchanok Tanakhun, Mr. Worawut Butmat, and Ms. Phanthip Saengathit, were released by the order of the Military Court by placing bail bond at 50,000 Baht for each of them. They, however, have to comply with the conditions set forth by the Military Court including to “not get involved with any act aimed to instigate, disrupt public order, persuade, compel people to rise up by any means possible in order to make possible any public assembly which may bring about public disorder or cause any harm or infringement on peace, order or the moral high ground of the people or any act which may induce people to commit a legal offence”.

The other seven students and activists; Mr. Rangsiman Rome, Mr. Korakoch Saengyenpan, Mr. Anan Loket, 5. Mr. Thirayut Napnaram, Mr. Yuttana Dasri, Mr. Somsakol Thongsuksai, and Mr. Nantapong Panmat, had been held in custody at the Bangkok Remand Prison from 24 June-5 July 2016. They all refused to apply for bail citing that they had done nothing wrong and should not be subject to the jurisdiction of the Military Court. They did not want to accept the conditions attached to the release as dictated by the Military Court. On 5 July 2016, when the first period of remand ended, the 7 jailed activists were brought before the Bangkok Military Court for hearing of  12-day second round of pre-trial remand which was requested by police.

Release of the jailed activists: On 5 July 2016, the Bangkok Military Court dismissed the police’s request for further pre-trial detention of the 7 activists; Mr. Rangsiman Rome, Mr. Korakoch Saengyenpan, Mr. Anan Loket, 5. Mr. Thirayut Napnaram, Mr. Yuttana Dasri, Mr. Somsakol Thongsuksai, and Mr. Nantapong Panmat, citing it was no longer necessary to have them in further custody. They were set to be released without conditions from the Bangkok Remand Prison in the morning of 6 July 2016, but charges against them are not dropped.

                                                                    Mr. Korakoch Saengyenpan(center)

Rearrest of one of the 7 activists: On 6 July 2016,  around 8 am in the morning, six of the seven were released, except Mr. Korakoch Saengyenpan, aka. “Por”, who was rearrested by the police from the Thonburi Railway Police Station for another case in which Por was charged with violating the ban on political gathering under the Head of the NCPO Order no. 3/2015 for allegedly participating in an activity on a train ride to call for investigation into an alleged corruption of army in a construction of the Rajabhakti Park in Hua Hin, Prajuab Kirikhan. Por was kept in prison custody until police came to transfer him to present to a military prosecutor at the Bangkok Military Court.  At 14.00, Mr. Korakoch or Por was indicted to the Bangkok Military Court for committing an unlawful assembly or a political gathering of five persons and upward without permission from the NCPO which is a violation of the Head of the NCPO Order no. 3/2015’s Article 12 as a result of his joining the assembly at the Thonburi Railway Station on 7 December 2015.

The Military Court ordered to have him detained during trial, despite his objection to the detention as the offence against him is not severe and carries the maximum sentence not more than 6 months of imprisonment. However, the Court late granted  him bail upon placing cash in the amount of 10,000 Baht and imposing release condition to prohibit him from participating in any assembly or gatherings for the political purposes. Korakoch was released from the Bangkok Remand Prison in the evening of 6 July 2016.

Conclusion: All of the 13 activists are released. 6 of them were released on bail on 24 June and subject to release conditions imposed by the Bangkok Military Court. On 6 July, the other 7, who were subject to 12 days of pre-trial detention from 24 June- 5 July, were released without restrictions or conditions as a result of dismissal of police request of further detention, not by bail application. However, the charges against all of them; violating of ban on political gathering of five persons under the Head of the NCPO No. 3/2015 and Section 61 of the Referendum Act, are pending in police investigation and subject to military court jurisdiction.