Not long after the mass gathering staged by the Free People Movement on 16 August 2020, which for the first time has broken the record as the biggest political gathering since the Red Shirt movement in 2010 and after the coup in 2014, the cycle of arresting spree once again continued unabatedly despite the NCPO has already become the nation’s bitter pasts.
The sequences of events began on the evening of 19 August 2020 when the police had arrested Arnon Nampa, a key catalyst in promoting the reform of the monarchy, due to the speech he gave during the gathering on 3 August 2020. Before reaching midnight, 3 activists were also arrested as a result of involving with the gathering held earlier on 18 July. The tension arose again in the morning of 20 August 2020 when 5 more suspects had been arrested into the case, including the famous rap crew member who was prosecuted merely for performing on the stage. Until the dusk came, the situation boiled down to its conclusion when 9 of them were bailed out.
In this situation logs, TLHR has documented the 2 days’ event which proves that the state’s attempts to intimidate and suppress dissidents still exist, but come in the guise of the elected government. Amidst the escalating political situation, along with the proliferation of the public criticism towards the monarchic establishment, it is evident that the crackdown on political dissent is being intensified once again.
The Arrest of Arnon Nampa on the charges of “Sedition”
19 August 2020 – Arnon Nampa, a human rights lawyer and a renowned political activist, reported on his personal account on Facebook that he had been closely followed and monitored by several plainclothes police officers, while he was performing his duty as a lawyer for the defendants in the state-security related case at the Criminal Court on Ratchada Road.
16.25 – Arnon decided to submit the motion to the Director General of the Criminal Court, calling for the revocation of any warrant made against him, and that the court should consider the measurement that could ensure the safety and security of lawyers as they perform their duty inside the court’s area. This motion was made as a troop of plainclothes officers had been found inside the Criminal Court, implying their attempt to arrest Arnon despite no official arrest warrant nor any clarification presented to him (at that time).
At approximately 17.52, after he had performed his duty and about to leave, around 10 plainclothes police officers were still waiting for Arnon at the stair leading up to the court’s building. Onsite, several press and reporters were also waiting for him to have an interview; some of them tried to take photo and video of Arnon, but were warned by the court’s security as such actions are prohibited inside the court’s area.
Urgent! 19.10 while @arnonnampa was still in the court’s area, outside the police showed him an arrest warrant from Chana Songkram Pol. Stat., issued on 11 Aug, in the case derived from giving a speech regarding the monarchy during a gathering on 3 Aug. (1)#saveทนายอานนท์ pic.twitter.com/HJNEF7WulJ
— TLHR / ศูนย์ทนายความเพื่อสิทธิมนุษยชน (@TLHR2014) August 19, 2020
At 19.10, while Arnon was still behind the court’s fence, his lawyer was escorted by the police to have a talk with other officers outside the court’s area. At the footpath on the other side, the police showed an arrest warrant to Arnon’s lawyer, issued by Chana Songkram Police Station on 17 Aug 2020. The arrest warrant stated that Arnon has been accused of violating Article 116 “Sedition” of the Criminal Code, the Public Gathering Act, the Sound Amplifier Act, and the Computer Crime Act; these allegations derived from him giving a speech regarding the monarchy at the “Harry Potter” gathering (#เสกคาถาปกป้องประชาธิปไตย – #castingaspelltoprotectdemocracy) staged at the Democracy Monument on 3 Aug 2020.
19.15 – Arnon as well as his lawyer were then escorted to Chana Songkram Police Station.
19.59 – After Arnon and his lawyer arrived at the police station, the officers informed them that they would document an arrest record at Chana Songkram Police Station, and then they would relocate Arnon, the suspect, to Huay Kwang Police Station for further interrogation.
Outside the police station, the crowd of around 30 people were starting to form as they tried to show their support for Arnon. The police blocked the stair leading up to the station, prohibiting any unrelated parties from entering the premises.
At 20.37, one of the lawyers in the team who represented Arnon gave an interview with the reporters, stating that he and his team were trying to negotiate with the police regarding the bail, as the suspect still had a mission to attend the court hearing as a lawyer tomorrow. If the police turned down the bail request, it would cause the situation to be more complicated. He also said that, for this case, the MPs from Move Forward Party had agreed to be a surety for the bail.
21.20 – The police read the arrest record for Arnon to approve, while the crowd at the front of Chana Songkram Police Station yelled “Free Arnon!”. They also sang a song to celebrate his birthday as yesterday was his birthday.
22.45 – The suspect submitted an appeal for the bail, depositing 150,000 Baht as a security as well as the MPs’ position of Rangsiman Rome. The appeal was, however, dismissed by the police as they feared that the suspect would disturb the investigation process or even fleeing.
01.32 – Arnon Nampa acknowledged and later denied all the allegations made against him. During giving a statement to the inquiry officer, he confirmed that his posts on social media were made according to the rights given by the nation’s constitution and the ICCPR, and thus shall not be subjected as the violation of the Article 116 and other related laws. As for the gathering on 3 Aug, he came to give a speech merely as a participant, not an organizer to the gathering. The speech concerning the monarchy that he gave on that day was also made in good faith and in an academic manner, with an intention to express his opinion regarding the amendment of the law that allows for the expansive power of the Thai monarchy which has centralized the hegemonic influences and thus dominating various aspects of Thai society.
After all the process at the police station, the police temporarily detained Arnon overnight at the station. He will be transferred to the Criminal Court on Ratchada Road in the morning for the court to rule whether to remand him in custody.
Another 8 participants of the Free Youth’s gathering on 18 July 2020 were arrested and brought to Samran Rat Police Station for further interrogation.
On the same day of the arrest of the human rights lawyer, 3 participants from the mass gathering staged back on 18 July 2020 by the Free Youth Movement were also arrested according to the arrest warrants issued by Samran Rat Police Station.
Around 21.36, it is reported that Baramee Chairat, the coordinator of the Assembly of the Poor, was arrested by the police in uniform. The police then took him to Samran Rat Police Station for further interrogation.
To show support for the suspect in the case that is clearly political, at 22.35 Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, former leader of the Future Forward party that had been disbanded earlier this year, visited Samran Rat Police Station. He had tried to negotiate with the officer onsite as he wanted to enter the premises, but the officer turned down his request.
At 22.41 The TLHR’s lawyer who offered the suspect legal assistance and the surety (in case of the bail) arrived at Samran Rat Police Station. However, they were prohibited from entering the interrogation room as the front door was locked. At the front of the station, around 20 people came to show support for Baramee. 15 minutes later, the police deployed barriers at the entrance to the station’s building in order to prevent any people from disturbing the interrogation process.
23.28 – The police allowed the surety and Baramee’s lawyer into the station. At that time, the police had already finished documenting the arrest record and about to read the allegations for the suspect to acknowledge.
23.45 – Tattep Ruangprapaikitseree, one of the leaders of the Free Youth Movement and the Free People Movement, arrived at Samran Rat Police Station. Before allowing anyone to enter the station area, the police set up a checkpoint to scan the visitors’ ID and press verification tag. Prior to his visit, such screening measurement had never been in use.
23.50 – Participants at the gathering on 18 July who were listed as the case’s suspects in the previously-leaked police document came to Samran Rat Police Station to report themselves in. Suvanna Tarnlek, one of the members of “24 June Democracy” whose name was amongst the list, gave an interview to reporters, saying that, if the police had already issued an arrest warrant, they should officially inform the suspects under broad daylight and proceed according to the legal procedure. She and the other suspects had no intention of fleeing at all.
23.52 – The inquiry officer finished informing Baramee of the allegations. He denied all the allegations made against him and stated that he will submit the statement letter on 7 September 2020. He and his lawyer then proceeded for the bail. There are 8 allegations made against him:
- Criminal Code: Article 116 “sedition”
- Criminal Code: Article 215 “assemble for unlawful purposes”
- Criminal Code: Article 385 “obstructing the public pathway”
- Communicable Disease Act – Article 34
- Land Traffic Act – Article 114 “obstructing traffic”
- Cleanliness and Orderliness Act – Article 19 “placing objects on the road”
- Sound Amplifier Act – Article 4
- Emergency Decree
23.25 – The police showed an arrest warrant to Suvanna and informed her of the allegations, as a result of joining the gathering on 18 July. She was then being escorted into the station.
The other suspects, including Tattep, who were also listed in the police document insisted they would keep staying at the police station until the police brought them an arrest warrant.
00.30 – The police brought an arrest warrant to Korakoch Sangyenphan of the Democracy Restoration Group (DRG) for him to acknowledge (there were 4 suspects at the front of Samran Rat Police Station that night including: Suvanna, Korakoch, Tattep, and Phanumat Singprom – only Tattep and Phanumas were not arrested that night). Korakoch was also escorted by the police into the station.
01.17 – The police read an arrest record for Korakoch to approve.
01.52 – The police informed the allegations made against Suvanna, after they had already finished documenting the arrest record for her to approve. She denied any allegations (she was slapped with the same 8 allegations as Baramee) made against her and will submit the statement letter to the inquiry officer on 7 Sep 2020. Outside, the crowd were starting to leave, only some remained there until morning in support for their fellow activists who were prosecuted.
02.17 – After Baramee had submitted the request to be bailed out using the MPs position of Wirote Lakkhana – Adisorn from Move Forward Party as security, however, Pol. Col. Itthipon Pongthorn, the superintendent of Samran Rat Police Station, considered not to grant the bail request, claiming that the suspect might obstruct the investigation process or even fleeing.
02.22 – The police had finished documenting the arrest record for Korakoch to approve and informed him of the allegations. He denied any allegations (same as the two earlier) made against him and will submit the statement later on 7 Sep 2020.
03.51 – Pol. Col. Itthipon Pongthorn, the superintendent of Samran Rat Police Station, considered not to grant the bail request for Suvanna and Korakoch for which the suspects used the MPs position of Wirote Lakkhana – Adisorn from Move Forward Party as security, claiming that the suspects might obstruct the investigation process or even fleeing.
In the morning, the police will bring 3 suspects to the Criminal Court – Ratchada Road for the court to rule whether to remand the suspects in custody.
5 more had been additionally arrested into the case for joining the 18 July gathering; amongst them was a member of the creative-dissent rap crew “Rap Against Dictatorship” (RAD).
Amidst the rush hour at 8.20 of 20 Aug 2020, netizens were shaken by the news of Dechathon Bamrungmuang, one of the members of the politically-active rap crew “Rap Against Dictatorship,” who was arrested according to the arrest warrant. Dechathon was then taken to Samut Prakan Police Station for the documentation and will be relocated to Samran Rat Police Station for further interrogation.
9.11 – At Chana Songkram Police Station, Arnon Nampa underwent a health check-up operation before being taken to the Criminal Court.
9.17 – It is reported that around 70 police officers were deployed to monitor the Criminal Court area, with the fence set up to barricade any unrelated parties from entering the premises.
9.46 – Tossaphorn Sinsomboon, suspect No. 20 in the case derived from the Free Youth’s gathering on 18 July, had been arrested at his residence.
10.00 – Arnon left Chana Songkram Police Station for the Criminal Court. Also, at 10.00, Thani Sasom, one of the suspects in the case of the Free Youth’ gathering in July, was arrested at Soi Rang Nam and then brought to Samran Rat Police Station to join other suspects.
10.25 – Natthawut Somboonsap, one of the suspects in the case derived from the gathering in July, was arrested while he was driving on an expressway. He was on the way to the police station to report himself in, but was stopped by around 10 officers who then showed him of his arrest warrant.
10.50 – After the police had submitted the motion to the court to issue a search warrant against Arnon Nampa, the court ruled to grant the motion. The police read the recently-approved search warrant for the suspect to approve, but Arnon insisted on reserving one condition: the searching troop must not take any photo nor video of his residence and the belongings inside.
11.09 – The police put Arnon in the temporary detention facility inside the Criminal Court, while they proceeded the motion to the court calling to remand Arnon in custody.
11.10 – Dechathon, an artist known by his stage name “Hockhacker”, arrived at Samran Rat Police Station. At the front, several press and reporters were waiting for him for an update on the situation.
11.20 – The police at Samran Rat Police Station didn’t allow TLHR’s lawyers to enter the interrogation room, claiming that the suspect already had a lawyer (only two TLHR’s lawyers were with the suspects inside,) and that it was too crowded in the room. Piyarat Chongthep, a political activist who had also attended the gathering on 18 July, came to report himself to the police, after receiving a summon warrant as a witness in the case. However, the police barred him from entering.
Before noon, Baramee-Suvanna-Korakoch had arrived at the Criminal Court and were detained inside the detention facility at the underground area of the court. In the motion calling for the temporary detention of the suspects, the police reasoned that there are 6 more witnesses waiting to be testified, the pending result of the fingerprint examination, and the penalty record of the suspects in need for further examination.
11.41 – The police read the arrest record for Tossaphorn to approve. At Samran Rat Police Station, 4 suspects were being interrogated at that time (Dechathon-Tossaphorn-Natthawut-Thani).
11.43 – Troop of officers arrived at Arnon’s residence; 8 were in plainclothes and 1 in uniform. They were waiting for the officer from the Technology Crime Suppression Division (TCSD) to join the team before proceeding with the searching procedure.
12.30 – After the police had raided Arnon’s residence, they found no evidence nor any unlawful objects related to the case he was accused of.
12.40 – The police had arrested Thanayut Na Ayutthaya, a rapper known by the stage name “Eleven Fingger” who performed during the gathering on 18 July. He was then brought to Samran Rat Police Station.
12.42 – The police completed documenting the arrest record of Natthawut.
14.10 – 5 suspects walked out of the station’s office into the police car to be taken to the Criminal Court. They held up their 3 fingers in solidarity as if to affirm their rights, with the supportive crowd cheering in the background.
15.05 – 5 suspects arrived at the Criminal Court to join with the other 3 arrested earlier last night, as well as Arnon who was taken from Chana Songkram Police Station. They were waiting for the court’s order whether to remand them in custody. It is reported that several MPs and academics came to the court, in case the suspects were in need for a surety for the bail.
16.45 – The court approved the police’s motion to detain all suspects in custody. The lawyers then proceeded with the bail motion submitted to the court without placing any security.
18.14 – The court approved the bail motion submitted by the 9 suspects, including Arnon Nampa, requiring a bail bond of 100,000 Baht as security. The court has also imposed a condition for the bail, prohibiting the suspects from involving in any actions resembling the cause of the case (if the suspects breach the condition, they will be fined 100,000 Baht).
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