Police raid activists’ house; 1 arrested

On Friday morning (17 September), police officers raided the house of members of the student activist group United Front of Thammasat and Demonstration (UFTD), confiscating mobile phones and computers and arresting one person.

Police officers arrived at the activists' residence at 7.00 on Friday morning to search the house

A group of plainclothes and uniformed police officers went to search the house of activists Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul, Benja Apan, and Niraphon Onkhao at 7.00 on Friday (17 September). They presented a search warrant issued by the Thanyaburi Provincial Court.

The UFTD posted on their Facebook page that the police raided the house without waiting for a lawyer to arrive, and that they presented an arrest warrant for Niraphorn on charges under the sedition law, or Section 116 of the Thai Criminal Code, and the Computer Crimes Act. She was then taken to the Technological Crime Suppression Division (TCSD) headquarters on Chaeng Wattana for questioning.  

According to Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR), the arrest warrant was issued on 15 September 2021 by the Criminal Court. The warrant does not say why the warrant was issued and contained the wrong citizen ID number. Niraphorn also said that she has never received a police summons before being arrested.

TLHR said that the complaint against her was filed with the TCSD by Nopadol Prompasit, a member of the Thailand Help Center for Cyberbullying Victims, an online royalist group whose members have filed numerous lèse majesté charges against many netizens and activists, including Parit Chiwarak and Anon Nampa.

Niraphorn Onkhao was arrested and taken to the TCSD headquarters 

TLHR said that the inquiry officer’s temporary detention request stated that the complaint against Niraphorn was filed because she is involved with running the UFTD’s Facebook page, which contain messages calling for people to join protests, which Nopadol said were not peaceful protests and at risk of spreading Covid-19.

The request also stated that, following an investigation, officials found that the Facebook page contain what they consider to be seditious messages calling for people to rebel against the authorities, as well as accusations that officers used excessive force on protesters. They therefore requested a court warrant to search the house and for Niraphorn's arrest. 

Niraphorn denied all charges and refused to sign the arrest record. She was later released on bail using 25,000 baht as security.

Meanwhile, Benja posted on her Facebook page that the police confiscated all of their computers, which they still need for online classes and upcoming midterm exams, since all three activists are students at Thammasat University and are currently enrolled in classes.  

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