Two activists under arrest for sedition, violating Emergency Decree

This is a developing story. We will be updating this article with new developments as they happen. 

As of 1.30 on 8 August, we are ending our live report of this story. We will be back once there is any new development. Please check our website and social media for updates. 

Human rights lawyer Anon Nampa and student activist Panupong Jadnok are now under arrest on sedition charges under Section 116 of the Criminal Code and for violating the Emergency Decree after they took part in the mass protest on 18 July.  

Anon Nampa on stage at the protest on 18 July

Anon was arrested in front of his condominiumat  around 14.10 today. Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) reported that around 8 uniformed and plainclothes police officers came to execute the arrest warrant and took him to Samranrat Police Station.

Anon also posted a picture of the arrest warrant on his Facebook profile with the comment “I have been arrested.”

The warrant accuses Anon of sedition under Section 116 of the Criminal Code; of organizing an assembly of ten or more people and threatening to cause violence or a breach of peace under Section 215 of the Criminal Code; violating the Emergency Decree, which bans large gatherings; obstructing the public way without permission under Section 385 of the Criminal Code; violating Section 19 of the Maintenance of the Cleanliness and Orderliness of the Country Act; and of using loudspeaker without permission under the Controlling Public Advertisement by Sound Amplifier Act. 

Anon's arrest warrant

“Anon can only be detained no more than 48 hours before he has to be produced before the court. At that time he will likely seek bail,” Yaowalak Anuphan, head of TLHR, told Khaosod English.

Yaowalak also said that the warrant named Anon the seventh suspect, suggesting that his arrest is part of a “larger crackdown on pro-democracy activists.”

At around 15.00, TLHR reported that Panupong, a Rayong-based student activist who previously face harassment from the authorities after he attempted to hold up a protest sign during Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha’s visit to Rayong last month, was also arrested in front of Ramkhamhaeng University and was also taken to the Samranrat Police Station. 

Panupong was arrested on the same charges as Anon and was named the fifth suspect on the warrant.

Panupong Jadnok in the inquiry room at the Samranrat Police Station

At around 15.30, police sneaked past the crowd gathering at Samranrat Police Station and took Anon to Bangkhen Police Station, while Panupong was held at the Samranrat Police Station.

The Free Youth Movement has called for a demonstration at 18.00 in front of Bangkhen Police Station, stating on their Facebook page that at least three people have now been arrested for taking part in the protest on 18 July.

At 17.40, both Panupong and Anon are being taken to the Bangkok Criminal Court on Ratchadaphisek Road. TLHR said that, if both are detained and are unable to post bail in time, they will be send to prison.

TLHR also reported that the inquiry officer at the Samranrat Police Station has forced Panupong to sign a statement without waiting for his lawyer to arrive. He was then taken to court without his lawyer.

The arrests took place after Anon gave a speech at the Harry Potter-themed protest on Monday (3 August), calling for monarchy reform and open criticism of the crown, and after the Free People Group’s launch event earlier today at the Democracy Monument, where they announced that they will be holding another protest on 16 August. Anon was also due to speak on monarchy reform at a rally in Chiang Mai on Sunday (9 August).

Around 30 other people involved in organising the 18 July protest or spoke on stage could also be currently targetted for arrest. 

18.00

Anon arrived at the Bangkok Criminal Court at around 18.00. TLHR noted that there was still a court officer waiting to process the request for temporary detention, even though it is now outside of the Court's official working hours, which is similar to what happened in 2015 when the Bangkok Military Court stayed open until 1.00 to process detention requests for student activists protesting against the 2014 military coup. 

The Military Court also stayed open until 22.00 to process temporary detention requests for people who were arrested for campaigning for the rejection of the draft of the constitution in 2016, and once again to process the temporary detention request for Jatupat "Pai Dao Din" Boonpattararaksa. 

19.15

A crowd gathered in front of the Bangkhen Police Station to call for Anon and Panupong's release. The Bangkhen Police Station then issued them an order to end the demonstration by 20.00. 

Student activist and member of the Student Union of Thailand (SUT) Parit "Penguin" Chiwarak tore up the order and said that the demonstration will not end until both Anon and Panupong have been released. 

Earlier, Parit also played a recording of Anon's speech on monarchy reform from the Harry Potter protest on 3 August. 

20.15

Anon and Panupong have now been in the arraignment room for around 2 hours as the Court process their temporary detention request.

Anon requested that the Court consider the objection against his temporary detention request, which was filed after official working hours and therefore unlawful. He said that he didn't want to see the judicial process used to limit freedom of expression.

8 Move Forward party MPs are now at the Criminal Court and will be using their positions as security to post bail for the pair. Activists Dr Tossapon Serirak and Nuttaa Mahattana are also present.

A crowd of around 50 people is also gathering at the Criminal Court to hear whether the Court will approve of the temporary detention request and whether Anon and Panupong will be granted bail.

Anon's note. (Source: TLHR)

20.35
Anon and Panupong have withdrawn their bail request. If the Court approved of the temporary detention requests, they will both be sent to prison.

Anon also wrote a note stating his intention in withdrawing his bail request:

"The dictator is using the judicial process as a tool in shutting the people up. Being granted bail with the condition of being prohibited from protesting or raising questions about the monarchy is something we cannot accept.

"I am willing to sacrifice my freedom to stand by my principles. I ask all of you to come out and fight for our goals. Don't waste your time on freeing Anon. Use your time to fight for the goals we are fighting for.

I believe in my friends who are outside.

Anon Nampa."

 
The demonstration at Bangkhen
 
21.00
 
Around 200 people have now joined the demonstration in front of the Bangkhen Police Station, which began at 18.00. 
 
Panupong's note (Source: TLHR)
21.30
 
Panupong has also written a note after he and Anon withdrew their bail request:

"When the law becomes a tool for the dictatorship, it probably is time for the people who fight for democracy. I ask you to stand and keep fighting with the strength of your beliefs. When I get my freedom, I will be fighting and I won't back down."

 
22.10

The Criminal Court did not accept the temporary detention request for Anon Nampa and Panupong Jadnok as the request was submitted outside of working hours and ordered the officers to bring them in for detention again within 48 hours.

As the Court refused the temporary detention requests, police officers can no longer hold them in custody. However, they are insisting on bringing Anon and Panupong back to be held at the Samranrat Police Station.

Anon and his lawyer objected to being held at the Samranrat Police Station. He is still sitting in the courtroom and refusing to go to the police station as the police no longer has the authority to keep him in custody.

22.45

Police officers, court officers, and security personnel are preparing to escort Anon and Panupong to the Samranrat Police Station. Their lawyer and members of the public are blocking the officers and insisting that they have lost the authority to detain Anon and Panupong as the Court has dismissed the temporary detention request.

23.10

The Deputy Chief Justice of the Criminal Court told Anon and Panupong's lawyers that the police can still hold them in custody, but the Court will not be issuing a detention warrant.

The police are now trying to take the pair to be detained at the Huai Khwang Police Station. Around 30 police officers are waiting to take them in police vans.

Panupong (top picture) and Anon (bottom picture) being forcibly taken away from the Criminal Court.

23.35

Police officers have forced Anon and Panupong into a police van to be detained in police custody, while the crowd shouted "stop abducting citizens". The van has left the Criminal Court, but it is unclear where they are being taken to.

23.50

Anon and Panupong have arrived at the Huai Khwang Police Station after being forcibly taken from the Criminal Court by police officers.

00.30

A crowd is still gathering in front of the Huai Khwang Police Station, where Anon and Panupong are currently being held.

A group of participants in the demonstration in front of the Bangkhen Police Station has now joined the crowd at Huai Khwang and is shouting "Stop harassing citizens! Free Anon! Free Mike!" with "Mike" being Panupong's nickname. 

1.30

The superintendent of the Huai Khwang Police Station said that Anon and Panupong will be held overnight at the station.

They will be taken to the Criminal Court again at 8.00 on Saturday (8 August) for the inquiry officers to file another temporary detention request.