Student activist’s bail extended

The South Bangkok Criminal Court has extended student activist Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul’s bail period until 25 May 2022.

Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul

Panusaya was previously granted bail on 30 November 2021, after spending 17 days in detention pending trial on 4 defamation charges filed with three different courts. The South Bangkok Criminal Court, the Ratchadapisek Criminal Court, and the Ayutthaya Provincial Court granted her bail until 12 January 2021 to allow her to take her final examinations and complete class projects.

Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) said that the South Bangkok Criminal Court ruled on Wednesday (12 January) to extend her bail period until 25 May 2022, the last day of final examinations for the second semester of Academic Year 2021 at Thammasat University.

The Court also set Panusaya the conditions that she must not participate in activities that are damaging to the monarchy or cause public disorder and must not leave the country. She must also wear an electronic monitoring bracelet and is not allowed to leave her residence between 18.00 – 6.00.

The Ratchadapisek Criminal Court granted her bail yesterday (13 January) until 15 June 2022. The Court does not require her to wear an electronic monitoring bracelet or set her a curfew, but set the condition that she must not participate in activities which are damaging to the monarchy or the court.

The Ayutthaya Provincial Court also granted her bail yesterday (13 January) without setting a time limit, but set the conditions that she must not participate in activities that are damaging to the monarchy or cause public disorder and must not leave the country.

After the South Bangkok Criminal Court issued its ruling on Wednesday (12 January), Panusaya told TLHR that she was surprised that the court granted her bail.

She said that while the 18.00 curfew is not so much of a problem while classes are still online, it might be difficult when students return to on-site classes, as students not only go to campus for classes but also have group projects and other campus activities. Requiring her to wear an electronic monitoring bracelet and prohibiting her from joining activities that can affect the monarchy or cause public disorder should be enough, Panusaya said, noting that she found the court’s conditions to be a violation of her freedom.

Panusaya said that having to spend the past 42 days inside her dorm room caused her a lot of stress to the point that she felt she needed to see a psychiatrist. Her living expenses also increased, since she has to order food through delivery services.

She said that although having to be at home at all times is better than being in prison because she can still use social media to contact other people, the court should no longer set conditions and should grant bail to all political prisoners, since they have not been found guilty and what they have done is within their rights.

Panusaya hopes that her fellow activists, such as Parit Chiwarak and Benja Apan, will also be granted bail, as both are also still enrolled at Thammasat University.

TLHR said yesterday (13 December) that lawyers have filed a bail request for Benja. A hearing is scheduled this afternoon (14 December) in which the South Bangkok Criminal Court will rule whether it will grant her bail.

Meanwhile, Parit announced on 27 December 2021, along with three other detained activists, via their lawyer Krisadang Nutcharus that they will no longer request bail as a protest against the denial of bail for detained activists, and the unfair justice system.

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