Four detained activists will no longer request bail, says lawyer

In a statement issued on Monday (27 December), the lawyer of activists Parit Chiwarak, Panupong Jadnok, Anon Nampa, and Jatupat Boonpattararaksa announced that his clients will not be filing another bail request, having been denied bail again last Friday (24 December).

Protesters marching from Paholyothing MRT Station on Lad Phroa Road to the Criminal Court on 24 December to demand the right to bail for detained activists, holding a banner saying "Free our friends."

Krisadang Nutcharus, a Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) attorney who currently representing the four activists, released the statement on his Facebook page.  After the Criminal Court again denied them bail last week, the activists reportedly decided that they will no longer request bail and will not authorize any party to file requests on their behalf.

According to Krisadang, the activists believe that the Court’s grounds for denying them bail are not in keeping with local jurisprudence, judicial principles, and international conventions. They also contend that not allowing them bail strips them of the opportunity to prove their innocence, making it appear as if they have already been judged guilty.

Parit, Panupong, Anon, and Jatupat were denied bail on the grounds that they are likely to repeat their offences.  However, during the 17 December hearing, they explicitly told the court that they would not engage in any activities damaging to the monarchy, take part in protests causing public disorder, flee the country, or violate Court-mandated travel restrictions. They also said that they would be willing to wear an electronic monitoring bracelet and remain in their residences, other than for purposes approved by the court such as attending classes, taking exams, seeking medical treatment, and contact legal authorities.

The four activists are being detained pending trial on royal defamation charges resulting from their participation in pro-democracy protests. Parit, Jatupat, and Anon have been imprisoned since 9 August 2021, while Panupong has been imprisoned since 23 September 2021.

The activists noted that their decision does not apply to other detained activists and protesters who have been denied bail. According to TLHR, at least 16 others are being detained pending trial on charges relating to their participation in pro-democracy protests.  This includes student activist Benja Apan, who has also been detained pending trial on royal defamation charges.

“All four are still committed to the fight to change this country into a true democracy; detained or released, they will continue to struggle as they have in the past for the country’s reform,” the statement noted.

The four also reiterated their solidarity with fellow protesters, calling upon them to stand by the three demands and to continue the struggle using peaceful, democratic means.

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