11 July 2024

The Criminal Court today sentenced Ratsadon core leader Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak, who is already being held on remand, to 15-days additional detention for contempt of court, after his misconduct in the courtroom on March 15th.

Initially, the court sentenced him to 1 month, but commuted the sentence to 15 days because he pleaded guilty and because he is a student who has not been convicted before.

Before the court delivered its judgement, however, court officials showed Parit and his lawyer video footage of the incident in question, during which he had tried to read a statement protesting the court’s rejection of his bail application, prompting court officers to restrain him, resulting in a brief scuffle and the sitting judges leaving the courtroom.

Defending Parit during the hearing, his lawyer, Kritsadang Nutcharas, told the court that his client was upset that his mother was not being allowed to visit him in Bangkok remand prison and that applications for bail had been repeatedly rejected.

Parit, who arrived in a wheel chair and looked tired, told the court that he had no intention to cause trouble, but simply wanted to demand justice, adding that he does not regret losing his freedom, but feels disappointed at not receiving justice.

Later in the afternoon, the court held an inquiry into Arnon Nampa’s letter of complaint, expressing concern for the safety of Ratsadon leaders being held on remand, following an incident on the night of March 15th, when officers at Bangkok remand prison tried to escort Chatupat Boonpatthararaksa, alias Pai Dao Din, Panupong Jadnok, alias Mike Rayong, and nine others out of their cell for COVID-19 screening.

Chatupat and Panupong told the court that they were suspicious of the prison officers’ actions, which took place in the middle of the night, and that they were afraid that they might be harmed if they left their cell.

In defence, Dr. Veerakit Harnpripan, deputy director-general of the Corrections Department, explained that screening detainees and prisoners at night is normal practice in prison and that the process was open to being witnessed by other detainees. He also said that this was the first time that detainees have refused to be screened for the virus.

The inquiry will resume on March 29th, when a ruling is expected from the court.