Military court denies bail for eight abducted junta critics

The Military Court has rejected bail for the eight abducted junta critics for a second time while the junta leader maintains that the eight violated the law.

The Military Court of Bangkok on Tuesday, 3 May 2016, denied bail for the eight junta critics who were charged under Article 116 of the Criminal Code, the sedition law, for their alleged involvement in a Facebook page called ‘We Love Gen Prayut’, featuring political satire mocking the Thai junta leader.

The court rejected bail after Anon Nampa, a human rights lawyer representing the eight, submitted bail requests with 150,000 baht surety for each of the suspects; the court argued that the behaviour of the suspects did not appear to have changed.    

This is the second time that the Military Court has rejected bail for the eight.

The eight suspects are: Supachai Saibutr, a photographer, Harit Mahaton, former reporter of Matichon and independent writer, Noppakao Kongsuwan, a person affiliated with the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD), the main red shirt faction, Natthika Worathaiwich, Worawit Saksamutnan, Yothin Mankongsanga, Thonnawan Buranasiri and Kannasit Tangboonthina.

Among the eight, Harit and Natthika also face charges under Article 112 of the Criminal Code, the lѐse majesté law, for sending messages deemed defamatory to the Thai Monarchy in their private Facebook chat.

On the same day, Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha, the junta leader and Prime Minister, said that the eight were not arrested because they allegedly mocked him on social media, but because they violated the law.

“Their charges are not related to mocking me. Some of them repeatedly violated the law. They were released and arrested again and again,” said the junta premier. “Go warn them, will they study or do jobs like this? If Thammasat University is not afraid of losing its reputation, then they can just let these people study.”

On the two suspects who were charged under the lѐse majesté law, Gen Prayut asked if Thai people can tolerate anyone who defames the monarchy.

If found guilty under the sedition law alone, the accused could face up to seven years’ imprisonment.

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