Jailed student activist leader Panusaya “Rung” Sithijirawattanakul has been granted bail of 200,000 baht today after repeated denials of bail requests over the last 2 months. Rung was detained on charges using Thailand’s strict lese majeste laws that carry a 15-year maximum sentence for insulting the royal monarchy and has been held without bail since March 8.
She joined her fellow activist leader Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak on March 30 in his hunger strike to protest the bail denials. Penguin was recently hospitalised over health concerns due to his hunger strike that began March 16.
Rung was granted bail just after 5 pm by the criminal court, with conditions. The 22 year old activist was ordered to wear a monitoring device and not do anything that the court could deem damaging to the monarchy.
After 59 days in jail and 36 days without food in her protest for freedom, the release is a pivot by the government, which has denied fellow activist Penguin’s request for bail 9 times already. Many of the leaders of the pro-democracy movement are still being detained, even after Covid-19 has infected one from within the prison.
Rung rose to national fame after a passionate speech at Thammasat University where she is a student on August 10. She recounted a 10-point manifesto demanding reforms in the government and the monarchy. She became a familiar face in the growing movement that has been fueled since last July by students and young protesters, demonstrating almost daily despite the harsh punishment the government could hand down using the lese majeste laws.