Bail revocation hearings of four human rights defenders prosecuted with Lèse-majesté

On 3 November 2021 at 9.00 hrs., the Criminal Court at Ratchadapisek road is to conduct  bail revocation hearings of four human rights defenders; Arnon Nampa, a human rights lawyer; Panupong Jadnok; Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul, a university student activist leader; and Chaiamorn Kaewwiboonpan also known as Ammy The Bottom Blues, a singer and activist, in the case of #19SeptemberTimetoReturnPowertoPeople rally on 19 September 2020, calling for monarchical reformation with 10-point proposals. If their bails are revoked, they could face immediate detention pending trial which could be indefinite unless the Court grants them bail or the trial is concluded with them not guilty or acquitted.

The public prosecutor indicted Arnon and other four defenders on 9 February 2021 and  Panupong, Panussaya, Chaiamorn and other 13 defenders on 3 March. They were indicted under 116 of the Criminal Code (sedition); and Act of Ancient Monuments, Antiques, Objects of Art and National Museums, B.E. 2486. Of which, Arnon, Panupong, Panussaya and other four defenders were additionally indicted under Article 112 of the Criminal Code (Lèse-majesté). Upon their indictment days, they were detained pending trial; Arnon between 9 February and 1 June; Panupong between 8 March and 1 June; Panusaya between 8 March and 6 May; and Chaiamorn between 3 March and 11 May. Even though the defendant is presumed to be innocent, the Court consistently denied bail citing the severity of the offense, violation of previous bail conditions, and the possibility of re-offending, if released.

Despite temporary releases, they were imposed with bail conditions, including; not tampering with evidence; not participating in activities that can jeopardize the monarchy’s image; reporting consistently to the court; and not travelling overseas without court permission. Such bail conditions hamper their basic rights to freedom of assembly and expression, open up for broad interpretation, and can be misused with cases that occurred before the conditions. Thus, the public prosecutor submitted a petition to the Court citing the breach in the conditions.

Currently, between August and October 2021, at least 27 individuals remain in detention. Of which, five individuals, including Arnon and Panupong, were detained due to other lèse-majesté cases and two individuals, Parit Chiwarak and Jatupat Boonpattararaksa, had their bails revoked in the similar case.