Environmental journalist released on bail

The police on Friday released a freelance environmental journalist on bail after arresting him for trespassing into a disputed gold mine in 2015. 
Jamon Sonpednarin was released from Wang Saphung District Police Station in the northeastern province of Loei on Friday morning after a university lecturer offered her civil servant position as the bail. 
The arrest warrant accuses Jamon of trespassing into a controversial gold mine in Wang Saphung District in 2015 which was operated by Tungkum Co Ltd before its closure. In 2015, a group of villagers entered the controversial mine to install anti-mine banners. Jamon followed them into the mine in a journalist capacity. Tungkum later filed a police report against two villagers and Jamon for trespassing into its land plot. However, the Loei police arrested only the two villagers who live in Loei and failed to find Jamon who is a resident of Bangkok. The Court of First Instance ruled on 25 November 2017 to acquit the two villagers because the land permit given to Tungkum had already expired when the incident occurred.
Jamon was arrested on 29 November 2017 when he attempted to cross the Thai border from Kanchanaburi Province to Myanmar. 
The freelancer has reported about environmental and land rights issues for more than five years. His work has appeared on Thai PBS and in Prachatai. 
A Loei villager gives moral courage to Jamon Sonpednarin after his release on bail.


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