Activist Parit Chiwarak released on bail

Student activist Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak has been granted bail today (15 August) after being arrested the day before while travelling to a demonstration at the Nonthaburi Pier and accused of sedition and holding an illegal public assembly.

The crowd waited in front of the Bangkok Criminal Court as Parit is being released. 

A crowd of supporters gathered in front of the Bangkok Criminal Court at 9.40 this morning as Parit was brought in for a hearing on a temporary detention request. He has been detained overnight at the Samranrat Police Station. Student activist Panupong Jadnok, who was arrested alongside human rights lawyer Anon Nampa last week, also came to the Court to support Parit, but was denied entry into the courtroom.

The entrances to the Court were blocked and an order was posted on the fence telling people waiting outside to stay quiet. Only reporters with government-issued press ID cards were allowed inside the cordoned-off area.

The order also forbade anyone from recording or broadcasting events happening within the court area, and stated that doing so will amount to contempt of court. 

Meanwhile, a police unit went to Parit’s house with a search warrant. According to Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR), there were five officers in uniform and 10 plainclothes officers from an unidentified agency. Parit’s friend livestreamed the entire police operation. By 10.40, the unit had left the house and nothing was seized as evidence. 

At 13.20, the Court ruled to temporarily detain Parit for 12 days. He and his lawyer then requested bail using the academic position of Adisorn Chantarasuk, a lecturer from Thammasat University’s Faculty of Political Science, as security. An hour later, Parit was granted bail and released on the condition that he will not commit offenses similar to what he was accused of, the same condition that Anon and Panupong were given when they were released on bail last week.

Parit flashed the three-finger "Hunger Games" salute, a well-known symbol of resistance seen at every anti-government protest in Thailand this year, following his release. 

He re-read the first declaration of United Front of Thammasat and Demonstration which stated the 10 demands for monarchy reform. He also said as long as monarchy reform cannot be addressed publicly, the phrase “make it end in our time”, a slogan used by the student movement, will only be a dream.

Parit was forcibly dragged away during his arrest yesterday. 

Parit was arrested yesterday (14 August) while traveling to give a speech at a demonstration at Nonthaburi Pier and was accused of sedition and organizing a public gathering that risked the spread of Covid-19.

He was also informed during his hearing today of a contempt of court allegation filed against him by the Director of the Criminal Court after he staged a demonstration to support Anon and Panupong at their court hearing last Saturday (8 August). The hearing about the new allegation will take place on 11 September at 9.00.