Students arrested, accused of burning king’s portrait

Two students from Khon Kaen University were arrested on Friday morning (17 September), after the police raided their house and charged them with arson in relation to the burning of the King’s portrait on 13 September 2021.

Police officers guarding the Khon Kaen Police Station, where the students were held

Panupong (last name withheld) and Ruangsak (last name withheld) were arrested after a group of around 30 plainclothes and uniformed police officers tried to break into their residence to search the house.

The students were taken to Muang Khon Kaen Police Station. Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) said that the police took them into separate rooms for questioning and provided Ruangsak with a lawyer  who has a police rank and did not inform the suspect of his rights.

Pol Maj Gen Netipong Thatthamlae, Deputy Commander of Provincial Police Region 4, said that the students were suspected of burning a portrait of King Vajiralongkorn in front of Srinagarind Hospital in Khon Kaen on 13 September 2021.  The police also confiscated a car which they believed to be the vehicle involved in the incident.

Activist and musician Patiwat Saraiyaem sang and spoke in front of the Khon Kaen Provincial Court, while the students are waiting for the result of their bail request

Panupong and Ruangsak were charged with arson. They were taken to court for a temporary detention request via teleconference. They were later granted bail without security, on the condition that they will receive a fine of 35,000 baht each if they violate their bail. The court also appointed the Deputy Dean of their faculty’s as their guarantor.

TLHR reported that while the students were held at Muang Khon Kaen Police Station, officers blocked off the entrance and the road next to the station.

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