Student Union threatens more protests if arrested activists are not released

Pro-democarcy protesters stand outside the criminal court building demanding a representative be allowed inside were two leader still detained at the criminal court in Bangkok, Thailand August 8, 2020. REUTERS/Chalinee Thirasupa

Thailand’s Student Union announced on social media this afternoon (Saturday) that they would stage a protest in front of the Ratchadapisek Criminal Court if two anti-government activists are remanded in continued custody by the court.

They also threatened to increase the size of their protest and urged supporters to join them in their fight to free the activists in police custody, human rights lawyer Anont Nampa and Panupong Jaadnok, alias Mike Rayong, leader of the Eastern Youth for Democracy movement.

Another activist, Prit “Penquin” [sic] Chivarak, was not arrested by police, as earlier reported, although he is among some 30 people, including many student activists, who are facing arrest for their recent anti-government activities.

Supporters of the two in detention kept a vigil in front of the Ratchadapisek Criminal Court on Friday night, after the pairwere escorted from Bang Khen police station to the court to seek approval to hold them in detention for another 12 days for further questioning.  Their lawyer opposed the police request.

The two are charged with seven offences, including inciting public unrest. The court considered the case for about two hours before returning the police application, on the grounds that it was submitted after office hours.

The court asked the police to resubmit it today, during working hours.

After the court session, police were to take Anont and Panupong to Huay Khwang police station, but the two resisted, claiming that the police had no right to keep them in custody, after the court returned, thus not approving, the remand application.

According to the Criminal Procedure Code, police must seek court approval for their detention for 12 days for questioning within 48 hours of their initial arrest.

Anont and Panupong were taken to the court again this afternoon, where their supporters were waiting to offer them moral support.

A number of police were deployed to keep order, but there were no breaches of the peace.

The court decision on the police application, for the pair’s continued detention, will be known late this afternoon.

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