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Thailand: Pro-Democracy Leaders Indicted, Remanded to Prison to Await Trial

The Clooney Foundation for Justice (CFJ) condemns the detention of four Thai pro-democracy activists — Arnon Nampa, Parit ‘Penguin’ Chiwarak, Somyot Pruksakasemsuk, and Patiwat ‘Bank’ Saraiyam — on charges of insulting royalty.  The four were indicted and remanded to detention by a criminal court in Bangkok. They are currently in custody and may remain detained throughout the trial, for which no date has been set. CFJ’s TrialWatch initiative has been monitoring the numerous proceedings against these and other activists in Thailand, all of which arise from their participation in pro-democracy protests. We have urged the Thai authorities to dismiss the charges against Mr. Nampa, Mr. Chiwarak and others.

The arrests come one day after UN experts, examining recent convictions in Thailand, reiterated that “lèse-majesté laws have no place in a democratic country.”  On Tuesday, the criminal court ordered all four defendants detained, denying bail because of the ‘risk that they would commit further crimes.’  But peaceful protest and criticism of government leaders are not legitimate ‘crimes’.  A court cannot cite actions that are protected by international human rights law as a basis to justify detention.

TrialWatch will continue to monitor and report on the proceedings against Mr. Nampa, Mr. Chiwarak, Mr. Pruksakasemsuk, and Mr. Yamsarai. We call upon the Government of Thailand to dismiss these lèse-majesté charges against these defendants and order their release.

Photo source: © Reuters