Monarchy reform activist’s bail revoked

Monarchy reform activist Tantawan Tuatulanon’s bail was revoked today (20 April), after the Criminal Court claimed she has broken her bail conditions by going near a royal motorcade and posting about the monarchy on Facebook.

Tantawan Tuatulanon arriving at the Ratchadapisek Criminal Court this morning (20 April) for the hearing (Photo by Ginger Cat)

The Ratchadapisek Criminal Court ruled to revoke bail for Tantawan, claiming that she intended to cause disorder by going near a royal motorcade and that her Facebook posts are a repetition of her offence. The order was signed by judge Parit Piyanaratorn, Deputy Chief Justice of the Criminal Court.

Tantawan, 20, was charged with royal defamation, resisting officers, and violation of the Computer Crimes Act for live broadcasting before a royal motorcade on 5 March, during which she questioned the priorities of the police and the King as farmers protesting in the area at the time were forced to move to clear the route.

She was arrested again on the evening of 5 March on Ratchadamnoen Nok Road, the route of King Vajiralongkorn’s motorcade, by about 60 officers. She was initially taken to Phaya Thai Police Station before being moved to the Police Club on Vibhavadi Rangsit Road since the police feared her supporters would stage a demonstration in front of the police station.

Tantawan was detained in the Narcotics Suppression Bureau located inside the Police Club from 5 March to 7 March when she was granted bail on a 100,000-baht security and the conditions that she must not repeat her offense or participate in activities which damage the monarchy, and must wear an electronic monitoring bracelet.

Police from Nang Loeng Police Station asked the court to revoke her bail in late March, claiming that she violated her bail conditions by driving into an area where a royal motorcade was scheduled to pass on 17 March, and for posting on her Facebook page comments about royal motorcades and about being harassed by the police.

At around 11.40, Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) said that the police notified them that they will be taking Tantawan to the Central Women's Correctional Institution immediately, even though her lawyer has yet to file another bail request for her.

Meanwhile, Tantawan posted on her Facebook following the court ruling: "Please continue the fight. When you go out to fight, please think of me."

Flowers and ribbons were placed in front of Klongprem Central Prison to show support for Tantawan

At 19.00, a crowd gathered in front of the Klong Prem Central Prison to show support for Tantawan. They tied ribbons to the wall and the razor wire in front of the prison gates and lit candles. Protesters also hung a banner saying "Get Tawan home" in front of the prison gates. 

In addition to Tantawan, 6 other people are currently detained for political expression:

  1. Weha Saenchonchanasuek was charged with royal defamation for making 2 posts on Facebook, one of which is sharing a post from the Facebook page of the activist group Free Youth. He was arrested on 10 March and has been detained for 41 days. 
  2. Vocational school students Khatatorn and Kongphet (last names withheld), who were arrested on 10 April while on their way to the memorial event for the 10 April 2010 crackdown on Red Shirt protests for being in possession of explosives and weapons. They have been detained for 10 days.
  3. Patima (last name withheld), who was arrested on 11 April and accused of being involved with a small bomb-throwing incident which occurred during the evening of 10 April near the gates of the 1st Infantry Regiment military base, where Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha’s house is located. She has been detained for 10 days. 
  4. Activist Ekkachai Hongkangwan, who is being detained while the Supreme Court consider his bail request after the Appeal Court sentenced him on 19 April to 1 year in prison on a charge under the Computer Crimes Act resulting from posts he made on his Facebook profile in 2017 about his sexual experience in prison. 

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