Nine pro-democracy activists granted bail after being charged for sedition in an anti-government rally

Bangkok –

Nine prominent pro-democracy activists who were arrested for sedition were released on bail yesterday, August 20, on condition that they would not repeat their alleged offenses.

Following the arrest of five anti-government protest leaders yesterday, more activists, Thani Sasom, Nattawut Somboonsap, Tossaporn Sinsomboon, and 19-year-old rapper Thanayut Na Ayutthaya were also arrested earlier on the same day with the same alleged charges of sedition, illegal gathering, and violating the emergency decree.

Police had filed a request to the Criminal Court for detention against the nine activists. After a period of consideration by authorities, the Court approved a temporary release request with a bail of 100,000 baht per person and on the condition that they would not repeat the same alleged offenses.

Nine protestors were released in the evening. Speaking after, they insisted that their role in the July 18 rally at Democracy Monument was peaceful and they should not be arrested in the first place.

The lead rapper of Rap Against Dictatorship (RAD), Dechatorn Bamrungmuang, told reporters: “I was still stunned for what happened today. But we still insist that we will continue to stand for our political ideology and we will continue to fight because it is our right to show our voices.”

Baramee Chairat, secretary-general of the Assembly of the Poor and prominent human rights defender, said: “By attending the rally, I believe it was my right to decide what I could do. I told the court that they should not issue an arrest warrant or even receive any request from police officers because it is our freedom to do so. And we insisted that we would continue the activities.”

Human rights lawyer Arnon Nampa, who was re-arrested for the second time this month, claimed that the rally never had gone beyond the constitutional law in all aspects.

The anti-government rally leader told the Associated Press: “This release was also on the same condition, not to repeat the same wrongdoings, but we insisted that what we do was not illegal and we only hoped to see a real democratic society.”

“The police, however, should not issue the arrest warrant but instead should have issued a summons first. They should not make this matter cause chaos in the Criminal Court. Even though they issued summons, we were ready to enter the process anyway. The Court should also inform the police about this as well. Don’t use the law to threaten us.”

Photo Courtesy: Daily News and Khaosod

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