Thai court releases two anti-government protest leaders


A court in Thailand on Monday (Sept. 07) ordered the release of two prominent activists arrested last month for their roles in anti-government rallies after spending five days in jail.

Human Rights lawyer Anon Nampa, 36, and student activist PanupongJadnok, 24, were sent to a Bangkok remand prison last week for breaching their bail conditions to refrain them from more protests.

But police from the precinct that initially arrested the pair revoked the detention request, saying an investigation into their conduct while on bail showed there was no need to hold them.

A Criminal Court statement said that “the court considered this and issued an order for their release”.

Both have participated in near-daily protests in the past two months to demand the military steps back from politics and the removal of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, who first came to power in a 2014 coup.

Mr. Prayut last month begged protesters “not to create chaos”and said problems can he solved together.

Panupong and Anon have been arrested several times and were among more than a dozen protesters charged recently with inciting unrest and breaching coronavirus-related regulations banning gatherings.

“This is a good lesson to those wielding powers in this country that their use of power must be just,” Anon told reporters.

Asked if he was concerned about mounting cases against him, Anon said: “Not at all, to catch a fish it’s normal to get wet”.

Panupong said their fight would continue.

“They can only lock us up physically but they cannot lock out our ideals and our fighting spirit,” he said.

Anon is also among several activists who made a bold public call for reform of the monarchy, until recently a taboo issue in Thailand.

A student group plans a major protest on Sept 19 and Anon said he and Panupong “will certainly participate”. (Source: The Straits Times)