6 activists’ bail revoked for courtroom graffiti

6 activists from the Thalufah group had their bail revoked last Friday (21 January 2022) for writing on the wall of a court arraignment room when they reported to the court on 18 January 2022, before one was released on Saturday (22 January 2022).

Thalufah members putting up their flag in front of Thung Song Hong Police Station on 3 August 2021 (Picture from Thalufah)

Songpol Sonthirak, Nawapol Tonngam, Phiraphong Phoemphun, Pawaris Yaemying, Wachirawit Limthanawong, and Wirocha Chatchawanwong were told to report to the Ratchadapisek Criminal Court on Friday (21 January 2022) by Chawannat Thongsom, Director of the Administrative Office of the Criminal Court.

Chawannat contacted the activists’ lawyer and said that while they were waiting in the arraignment room at the Criminal Court after reporting to court on 18 January 2022, the activists wrote “Free our friends” and “Repeal Section 112” on the wall of the arraignment room. Chawannat also claimed they wrote rude words on a picture of King Bhumibol inside the room.

The activists’ lawyer was told that they must report to court immediately, or an arrest warrant would be issued for them.

The activists were previously granted bail on charges relating to an incident on 3 August 2021, when Thalufah activists splashed paint in front of Thung Song Hong Police Station following their release after spending a night in detention on charges relating to a protest at the Narcotics Suppression Bureau on 2 August to demand that the police return a speaker truck seized after the 1 August 2021 ‘car mob’ rally.

They had their bail revoked since the court claimed that defacing the arraignment room was considered a repetition of their offense, since they were charged with destruction of public property for the 3 August 2021 incident. They were also charged with contempt of court.

Their bail revocation orders were signed by judge Attakarn Foocharoen, Deputy Chief Justice of the Criminal Court, and did not state the reason for revoking their bail.

The activists’ lawyer posted bail again on Saturday (22 January 2022) for 19-year-old Wirocha. She was later granted bail and was released from the Central Women Correctional Institution on Saturday evening.

The other 5 activists are still detained at the Bangkok Remand Prison. Nawapol, Wachirawit, and Pawaris were previously detained pending trial on the same charge for 33 days in late 2021, while Songpol was detained for 15 days before being granted bail.

Thawee Thiangwiset, another Thalufah member, is also currently detained pending trial on charges relating to the 3 August 2021 incident, as well as charges relating to a protest on 3 September 2021, in which he was accused of attacking a police officer. He has been in detention for 128 days and repeatedly denied bail.

According to Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR), 22 people are currently detained pending trial on charges relating to political expression.

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