Witness of 2010 massacre released on bail, banned from travelling abroad

Despite an objection from the prosecutor, a key witness of the 2010 massacre charged with royal defamation has been released on bail with 400,000 baht as surety.

On 4 July 2018, Winyat Chatmontree, a lawyer from United Lawyers for Rights & Liberty, posted on Facebook that the Bangkok Military Court released Nutthida Meewangpla on bail after serving three years and five months for royal defamation and criminal association. She had to pay 400,000 baht as surety.

According to Winyat, the court stated that although the prosecutor opposed the release, the offered surety was credible enough to make the judge believe that Nutthida will not flee prosecution. However, the judge prohibited her from travelling abroad without court permission.

Nutthida, a former volunteer nurse, is a crucial witness in the extrajudicial killing of six individuals by state authorities at Wat Pathum Wanaram temple during the crackdown against red-shirt protesters in Bangkok on 19 May 2010.

Arrested and accused of terrorism and royal defamation, Nutthida has been detained for over three years, and the court had repeatedly denied her bail requests.

Nutthida was accused of being involved in the 2015 bombing of the Criminal Court in Bangkok. The accusation stems from a transfer of 5,000 baht from Surapol Iam-suwan, another terrorist suspect, into Nutthida’s bank account. Nutthida argued that she merely borrowed the money from Surapol to pay the rent for her laundry business.

In July 2017, the Bangkok Military Court released her and three other suspects charged with terrorism on bail. However, Nutthida was further detained for violating Article 112 of the Criminal Code, the lèse majesté law. The evidence was a screenshot of her chatroom in the Line application.

Nutthida Meewangpla is transferred to the Central Women Correctional Institution after a witness hearing today (Photo from Banrasdr Photo)

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