Today (8 March 2020) at the Office of Attorney General on Ratchadapisek Road, the public prosecutors indicted 18 members of the “Ratsadon” movement cases related to the #19SeptRestoringPeoplePower demonstration. They are accused of violating the Penal Code’s Sections 112 and 116 and other 9 charges. They were then brought to the court for bail hearing during which the Criminal Court granted bail to 14 defendants indicted on other charges except the four defendants including Panupong “Mike” Chadnok, Panusaya ‘Rung’ Sittijirawattanakul and Jatupat ‘Pai’ Boonpattararaksa who are indicted on Section 112. Meanwhile, Chaiamorn “Ammy” Kaewwiboonpan has not applied for bail since he was remanded in custody at the Thonburi Remand Prison for setting fire to a portrait of the King in front of the prison.
On 19 September 2020, the United Front of Thammasat and Demonstration organized the #19SeptRestoringPeoplePower demonstration at Thammasat University’s Tha Prachan Campus and Sanam L uang. After their initial rally speeches and brief gathering inside the university, the demonstrators moved to Sanam Luang and spent the night there to continue their speeches criticizing the government, the army and the monarchy. In the following morning, they submitted their 10-point-demand calling for monarchical reform to the Chairperson of the Privy Council while installing the New Ratsadon Plaque at Sanam Luang.
#WalkThroughTheSky March in support of the 18 Ratsadon activists prior to indictment
At 9.30 a.m. at the exit of the Office of Attorney General on Ratchadapisek Road, check points were set up and crowd control police deployed to impose strict screening of people who came in and out of the office. All visitors had to show their ID cards, had their names and telephone numbers taken down and had their picture taken by the cameras installed there.
Around 09.35 am, Jatupat Boonpattararaksa and Panupong Chadnok led the #WalkThroughTheSky marchers who went on foot from the Lat Prao MRT station to the Office of Attorney General. They were there to report themselves and hear the indictment decision while the other demonstrators sat on the footpath outside the Office of Attorney General listening to the speeches and showing their solidarity with suspects who were to hear the indictment decision. The authorities then announced restrictions and security measures imposed in response to the Covid-19 pandemic as a reason to require the check of ID cards and the entering through screening check points. Billboards were also put up to tell people to refrain from bringing their protest banners and arms inside the premises.
17 suspects due to report themselves to the Office of Attorney General today included Panusaya ‘Rung’ Sittijirawattanakul, Jatupat ‘Pai’ Boonpattararaksa, Panupong “Mike” Chadnok, Attapon “Kru Yai” Buapat, Shinawatra Chankrachang, Chukiat Saengwong, Nawat “Amp” Liangwattana, Nutchaphat Akkhahad, Thanachai Eauruecha, Thanop Amphawat, Thani Sasom, Phattharapong Noipang, Sitthithat JIndarat, Suwanna Tanlek, Adisak Sombatkham, Anurak “Ford” Jeantawanich, and Nutchanin Phairote while Chaiamorn “Ammy” Kaewwiboonpan, also a suspect in this case, was remanded in custody at the Thonburi Remand Prison for setting fire to a portrait of the King in front of the prison.
The attorneys were then informed by the inquiry officers from Chanasongkram police station that they were about to press more charges against Panupong and Anurak for violating the Penal Code’s Section 215, last paragraph (being organizer of an illegal assembly of ten persons and upwards) and Section 215, respectively. But the attorneys refused to acknowledge the hearing of the charges since it would be an unfair treatment against the suspects as they were deprived of the chance to deny the charges.
Around 11.30 a.m. the public prosecutors announced the decision to indict the 18 alleged offenders . Then, the 17 activists and their attorneys walked to the Criminal Court on Ratchadapisek Road and waited in the courtroom.
18 Ratsadon activists indicted on 8 common charges, while 3 protest leaders also indicted on Section “112”
At 12.45 p.m., the public prosecutors of the Department of Special Litigation 7 have filed the case with the Criminal Court mainly based on the violation of Section 116. The Court accepted to review the case as the Criminal Black Case no. O539/2564 and then read the plaint in brief to the 18 defendants via teleconference screen. Meanwhile, live feed of Chaiamorn “Ammy” Kaewwiboonpan was pulled in from the Thonburi Remand Prison in order that he heard the plaint as well.
Each defendant has been indicted on different charges. For Thanop, Thani, Phattharapong, Sitthithat, Suwanna, Adisak, Anurak and Nutchanon, they are indicted on eight main charges including;
- “Sedition” pursuant to the Penal Code’s Section 116
- Illegal assembly of ten persons and upward while Panusaya and Panupong were indicted as the managers who give order pursuant to the Penal Code’s Section 215
- Failure to notify the authorities at least 24 hours prior to the public assembly pursuant to the Public Assembly Act
- Violating regulations issued by virtue of Section 9 of the Emergency Decree
- Obstructing public path pursuant to the Penal Code’s Section 385
- Obstructing the traffic in violation of the Land Traffic Act
- Placing and piling objects on public roads in violation of the Act on Maintenance of the Cleanliness
- Unauthorized use of amplifiers in violation of the Controlling Public Advertisement by Sound Amplifier Act
While Attapon, Nawat, Shinawatra, Thanachai and Chukiat were indicted on 9 charges plus one more against the Act on Ancient Monuments
For Chaiamorn and Nutchaphat, they are indicted on 9 charges plus one more on “mischief” pursuant to the Penal Code’s Section 358.
As to Panusaya, Panupong and Jatupat, apart from the 8 charges, they are also indicted on Section 112 as well while Panusaya and Panupong were also indicted on the violation of the Act on Ancient Monuments. Altogether, Panusaya and Panupong are indicted on 10 charges while Jatupat on 9 charges.
The plaint that describes the offences committed by the 18 defendants can be summarized as follows;
The 18 defendants have committed an offence against multiple legal provisions on multiple occasions including organizing a political assembly while disregarding the Covid-19 prevention measures imposed by the government and failing to inform the Superintendent of the Chanasongkram police station as the in-charge authority at least 24 hours prior to the public assembly. This has rendered the public assembly unlawful.
Panusaya, Panupong, Attapon, Nawat, Shinawatra, Thanachai and Chukiat together used a concrete drilling machine to make a hole at Sanam Luang and together placed a yellow metal plaque on the hole causing damage to the nearby ground. The damage could be estimated at 16,781.62 baht and it was an offence against the Act on Ancient Monuments.
Chaiamorn and Nutchaphat together used force to break one metal barricade causing damage to the property of the Bangkok Metropolitan Authority at the amount of 264 baht which is a mischief offence pursuant to the Penal Code’s Section 358.
In addition, Panusaya, Panupong and Jatupat have made speeches to defame, insult, and threaten the King in the midst of a number of people gathered at Sanam Luang. While Panusaya spoke about the 10-point call for reform to the monarchy, Panupong spoke about how the King lived in Germany while the people were agonizing and Jatupat spoke about his experience having been prosecuted on an offence against Section 112 after sharing an article from BBC related to the profile of King Rama X.
The public prosecutors even propose a half more of the punishment against Jatupat given his repeat of the same offence within three years since his release. In addition, a third of the punishment in this case should be added given his repeat of the same offence within five years after his release.
At the end of the indictment states that the plaintiff objects to their bail as its request was given the high penalty rate and an infringement on national security.
3 protest leaders, defendants of Section 112, denied bail, feared of repeating the offence
At 15.30 p.m., the Court dismissed to issue the bail applications of the 3 protest leaders citing that the grievous nature of the offence and there are plausible reasons to believe that if they are released temporarily, they shall commit the same offence again or may commit other harmful acts, despite the attorneys and the bailors have offered surety including the positions of Members of the Parliaments and Faculty Members worth 90,000 baht each.
According to reports by media outlets, the three of them were brought into the minivans which drove off the Court since 15.30 p.m., while at 15.50 p.m., the bailors claimed they were yet informed of the decision regarding the bail request of the 18 Ratsadon activists.
Upon the denial of bail, Panupong and Jatupat were immediately transferred to their custody at the Bangkok Remand Prison and Panusaya the Central Women’s Correctional Institution.
After the Court accepts to review a case, an order of detention has to be issued to have the defendant remanded in custody pending the trial and the corrections officer has the power to bring them to the prison right away. But normally and practically, should the defendant apply for bail, the corrections officer shall wait until the Court issues its order and wait for the defendant to sign and acknowledge the order. But in this case, Panusaya Panupong and Jatupat were yet to sign the judicial order that denied them bail.
It demonstrates that the three of them have been taken by the corrections officers from the Court by car to the prison even before the Court issued an order whether to grant them bail or not. This has prompted Faculty Members from Thammasat University and academics from the Institute of Human Rights and Peace Studies who acted as bailors of Panusaya and Jatupat refuse to sign the judicial order to deny them bail.
Apart from the 18 activists indicted today on the #19SeptRestoringPeoplePower demonstration, on 9 February 2021, the other four activists, Parit Chiwarak, Anon Nampha, Somyot Pruksakasemsuk and Patiwat Saraiyaem had already been indicted on 11 charges including an offence against Section 112 as well. The four of them were also denied bail and have since been detained pending the trial for one month already.
In the wake of the denial of bail for Panusaya, Panupong and Jatupat, there are now 18 activists being detained pending the trial as a result of their expressing their political opinions or other acts related to politics. All of them have been denied bail and 9 have been indicted on the offence against the Penal Code’s Section 112.