11 July 2024

A Criminal Court yesterday (Tuesday) rejected a bail application, by the Opposition’s Move Forward Party Leader Pita Limjaroenrat, on behalf of monarchy reform activist Tantawan Tuatulanon, aka “Tawan”, because Pita’s MP pay slip was not submitted with the application.

The court rejected the application on the grounds that the guarantor, Pita Limjaroenrat, did not provide a pay slip to prove he receives a salary and that there were no other special reasons to grant bail.

Pita used his parliamentary status as an MP, by submitting a letter of certification of his salary issued by the Office of the Secretary-General of the Parliament, as a bond for the bail of Tantawan yesterday, when the police sought a court order to have her detained for another 12 days.

According to Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR), the court granted permission for the police to detain the accused for only five more days, pending further investigation.

The 20-year-old activist is charged with royal defamation, resisting officers and violation of the Computer Crimes Act by live broadcasting before a royal motorcade on March 5th, during which she questioned the priorities of the police and His Majesty the King, as farmers protesting in the area were forced to move to clear the route.

The fact that she was wearing a black t-shirt during the live video is also deemed insulting to the monarchy, the court ruled, as black is considered an inauspicious colour, worn during mourning.

Tantawan has been detained since April 20th, after the court revoked her bail, claiming that she broke her bail conditions by going near a royal motorcade and posting about the monarchy on Facebook.

She then began a hunger strike, and has been so for 28 days, according to both Pita and the TLHR, which revealed she is now very weak.

Pita later said in his Tweet that he will apply for bail for Tantawan again.

The Move Forward party leader said that his attempt to arrange bail for the activist is to confirm the principle of political rights and rights of a citizen enshrined in Section 29 of the Constitution, regarding the right to bail and the right to defend oneself in court.