The cases continue: Arnon was brought from Chiang Mai to Bangkok to acknowledge another allegation against him

Last night (26 Oct 2020), Arnon Nampa, a human rights lawyer, was bailed out after submitting the second bail motion to the Chiangmai Provincial Court (the case derived from him giving a speech at the gathering held in Chiang Mai on 9 Aug 2020; he was arrested according to the arrest warrant at the dawn of 15 Oct 2020 amidst the crackdown of the mass gathering). Prior to this submission, Arnon firstly submitted the bail motion to the court on 15 Oct 2020, the first day of being remanded at the Chiang Mai Central Prison, but his pursuit for freedom was turned down by the court. 5 days after (19 Oct), Arnon submitted the statement to the Chiang Mai Provincial Court. The statement can be summarized as follows:

The holding in custody of this alleged offender is proof of the irregularities in society and affirms that the people’s movement is heading in the right direction. This alleged offender affirms that he is ready to dedicate his life to the fight for social change. The arrest and detention bear no effect on his searing heart. The most vivid illustration of the current state of the justice system is all the unfair orders, judgments and proceedings meted out by the Court.

This alleged offender used to believe in the fairness of the judiciary. This prompted him to decide to study law. His direct experience with it, however, has confirmed for him that the judiciary is simply part and parcel of the system that makes dictatorship possible.

Toward the end of his statement, he notes that “While languishing in jail, I try to rekindle my spare hope that the judiciary will eventually come to terms with its own mistakes and will pivot to stand with the people and serve as a pillar in society.”

On 21 Oct 2020, the Region 5 Appeal Court overturned the Trial Court’s decision to not grant bail of Arnon Nampa and Prasit Krutharoj, a student of Chiang Mai University in a legal case related to the #ChiangMaiCan’tBearItAnymore demonstration at Tha Phae Gate on 9 August 2020 (Prasit was arrested shortly before Arnon at the dawn of 15 Oct during the gathering’s crackdown). The Region 5 Appeal Court ordered both of them to be released on bail and Prasit was released from the Chiang Mai Central Prison at around 19.15 after a faculty member from the CMU Faculty of Law used their position to post bail for him and it was granted by the Court.

Then, on 22 Oct 2020 at 11.00, at the Chiang Mai Central Prison, pro bono lawyers from TLHR went to ask to visit Arnon to discuss his defense and bail application with him. However, they were denied visitation. The officials claimed they had not yet received any “instructions” to allow the lawyers to meet with their client. Meanwhile, relatives of other inmates were allowed to go inside the prison. As a result, the lawyers had to wait outside the fence of the prison for around 30 minutes. Around 11.30, the lawyers were then allowed to go inside the prison. Still, they had to confer with the prison officials about their request to visit Arnon, their client.

Around 13.00, after the lawyers were able to meet with Arnon, Arnon decided to not post bail. According to the lawyers, the reason he decided not to post bail was the concern that he could be rearrested for other charges after his release from the Chiang Mai Central Prison. The previous transfer of Arnon to face legal proceedings in various locales creates insecurity and it makes it likely that he could be subjected to enforced disappearance during transfer.

For example, on 15 October 2020, after being arrested at the demonstration at Government House, Arnon was taken to and held in custody at the Border Police Patrol Region 1 Headquarters in Pathumthani and was then transferred to Chiang Mai via a police plane that departed from Air Force airstrip at Don Muang Airport. He was accompanied by a fully-armed SWAT team carrying weapons loaded with live ammunition. His lawyers and confidantes were denied the opportunity to board the flight with him. Then, Arnon was taken to and held in custody at the Chiang Mai Wing Division 41 and was then transferred to attend the hearing at the Court right away without the presence of his lawyers.

In addition, the Region 5 Appeal Court 5 asked for 200,000 baht as a bail bond. If he posted bail in this amount and was then rearrested for other offenses unbeknownst to him, it would be a waste of money. He thinks that money should instead be used to bail out other people or students who are arrested and need bail funds.

After Arnon made the decision to not post bail, his lawyers appealed to the Chiang Mai Provincial Court to object to the second remand motion against Arnon submitted by the inquiry officer. The first remand order against him would be effective until 26 Oct 2020. The lawyers also asked the court to summon the police who requested the second remand order to give evidence at the Chiang Mai Provincial Court and to conduct a hearing and to inform the lawyers about the timing of the hearing.

Update:Today (27 Oct 2020), after being bailed out last night, he was then rearrested and brought to Chana-Songkram Police Station to acknowledge additional allegations presumably derived from the gathering held on 19 – 20 Sep 2020 at Sanam Luang. Right now (at 14.54), Arnon is waiting for the court to rule whether to remand him in custody according to the motion submitted by the inquiry officer.


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Report on “Thailand: End crackdown, respect the right to protest”

Voice of “Rung Panusaya” from the Central Women’s Prison (22 Oct 2020)