11 July 2024

Thailand’s Central Juvenile and Family Court ordered the release of 15-year-old “Yok” yesterday (Thursday) after 51 days of detention at Baan Pranee remand home in Nakhon Pathom province on a lèse majesté charge.

In ordering her release, the court rejected the police request to keep her in custody, reasoning that the police claim that they are waiting for confirmation on whether to proceed toprosecution is an internal affair and does not justify continued detention.

Yok, who attends a prestigious school in Bangkok, is the youngest Thai national ever to be arrested on a lèse majesté charge. She was 14 at the time of her arrest, which was basedon a complaint filed against her by a member of a royalist group, Anon Klinkaew, over the spray-painting of a message against the lèse majesté law and an anarchist sign on the wall of the Grand Palace.

After her release yesterday, Yok told the media that she had wasted 51 days in the remand home and questioned whether she deserved such incarceration, which hurts her physically and mentally and is against human rights principles.

Yok’s detention was the subject of an online campaign and protests by human rights and anti-establishment groups demanding her release. Last week, nine “Talugas” protesters, including two former hunger strikers, Tantawan Tuatulanon and Orawan Phuphong, were arrested after they went on a rampage at Samran Rat police station after police filed an additional charge of violating an archaeological site against Yok.