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Court of Appeal refuses bail request for 4 pro-democracy activists

Maya Taylor

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Court of Appeal refuses bail request for 4 pro-democracy activists | The Thaiger
PHOTO: DW.com

4 detained protest leaders, from the pro-democracy Ratsadon group, have had their bail request rejected by the Court of Appeal. Parit Chiwarak, Anon Nampa, Patipan Luecha, and Somyot Phrueksakasemsuk have all been declared a flight risk, with the court also citing their violation of the lèse majesté law as a further reason to keep them in custody. They previously had their bail request turned down by the Court of First Instance.

4 academics from Thammasat University and Chulalongkorn University have read out a statement in front of Bangkok Remand Prison, calling for the 4 activists inside to be released. The academics say they represent 255 lecturers, from 31 education establishments. Yesterday, protest leader Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul declared her intention to read a statement at the PM’s Office, the Constitutional Court, the Ministry of Justice, the Criminal Court, and at Royal Thai Police headquarters, in which she too will call for the release of the activists.

Fellow activists have also declared their intention to hold another rally on February 20, if the detained protesters are not released within a week. The Bangkok Post reports that when questioned about the police’s readiness for another protest, police chief Suwat Jangyodsuk couldn’t confirm how many officers might be deployed. He adds that a briefing is planned for February 13, in which officers will explain to the public why violence erupted at last Saturday’s rally.

Prasit Watanapa from the Medical Council of Thailand has condemned the use of violence by both sides at Saturday’s protest, during which a volunteer medic was beaten by riot police. However, Pakkapong Pongpetra, from the Metropolitan Police Bureau, has spoken out in defence of his officers, saying the medic happened to be at the scene of violent clashes. 8 protesters have been arrested and 20 wounded during the rally.

Meanwhile, PM Prayut Chan-o-cha has also denounced the violence, saying such developments have a negative impact on Thailand as a whole. He says authorities have the evidence they need to prosecute those responsible and has called on the media to report how anti-government protesters treated security officers at the scene on Saturday.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Issan John

    Tuesday, February 16, 2021 at 11:04 am

    There’s as much chance of “the media reporting how anti-government protesters treated security officers at the scene on Saturday” as there is of their reporting how the “medic” who wasn’t a medic managed to change not only his hi-vis vest during photoshoots but his shirt as well.

    Honesty and objectivity in reporting has never been something the media is known for.

    • Avatar

      Gosport

      Tuesday, February 16, 2021 at 12:13 pm

      If suits your tastes, justified reporting, if not, fake news.

      • Avatar

        Issan John

        Tuesday, February 16, 2021 at 2:15 pm

        Ummm … no.

        “Justified reporting” is a question of opinion.

        “Fake news” is a question of fact.

        It’s fact that the video shows him wearing a plain, blank yellow vest and a long sleeved shirt, while the alleged still photos show a different person wearing a completely different hi-vis vest with a prominent DNA logo and reflective bands and a short sleeved shirt.

        It doesn’t suit the media’s agenda to report, though.

  2. Avatar

    Slugger

    Tuesday, February 16, 2021 at 1:35 pm

    Good. Let them and their co-horts rot.

  3. Avatar

    harry1

    Tuesday, February 16, 2021 at 2:25 pm

    what is difficult to understand, is why these 4 kids get bail denied,for attending a peaceful protest with their demands for reform,yet the very subject is being debated in parliament.the authorites say they might be a flight risk.but on the same day gives bail to kingpin who was running illegal casino,s,try working that out ??

    • Avatar

      Andre

      Wednesday, February 17, 2021 at 12:45 am

      Corruption from bottom to top. Did you really expect something else?

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Thailand

Thailand classified as a “not free” country in Freedom House report

Caitlin Ashworth

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Thailand classified as a “not free” country in Freedom House report | The Thaiger
October protest at the Asok-Sukhumvit intersection in Bangkok / Photo by Caitlin Ashworth

On a scale of 0 to 100, with 100 being absolute freedom, Thailand scores at 30, a “not free” country, according to the nonprofit Freedom House. Each year, the organisation reviews the political rights and civil liberties of countries around the world. According to their recent assessment, Thailand has declined in terms of rights and liberties, dropping on the scale from “partly free” to “not free.”

The main reason for the drop on the freedom scale, the organisation says, is “due to the dissolution of a popular opposition party that performed well in the 2019 elections, and the military-dominated government’s crackdown on youth-led protests calling for democratic reforms.”

The Future Forward Party was dissolved in February 2020 after the court found that the founder, Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, had made a large donation to the party that exceeded the legal limit. The party’s leaders were then banned from politics for the next decade.

Youth-led protests started in February, but the demonstrations were put on pause due to Covid-19 restrictions banning large public gatherings. Protesters gathered in July as restrictions lifted, but some leaders then faced charges for holding a public gathering, which was still banned under emergency orders.

In October, the prime minister imposed what Freedom House calls a “severe” State of Emergency order in Bangkok that banned gatherings of more than 5 people. Some protesters were arrested for violating the order nearly immediately after it was imposed.

With activists pushing for monarchy reform and an end to the military’s involvement in government, raising subjects considered taboo and unprecedented in Thai society, the Thai government has increased its use of the draconian lèse majesté law. Since November, dozens of activists have faced charges for insulting or defaming the Thai Monarchy.

Freedom House scores countries on topics like the electoral process, questioning if politicians and leaders were elected in free and fair elections, as well as freedom of expression and individual rights.

Thailand’s military seized power in 2014 in a bloodless coup. The 2017 constitution was drafted by a committee appointed by the military’s National Council for Peace and Order. In 2019, the country transitioned to what Freedom House calls a “military-dominated, semi-elected” government.

The 2019 elections were overseen by the Election Commission of Thailand, whose members were appointed by the military. All 250 senators were appointed by the military in 2019 to serve 5 year terms.

In 2020, the combination of democratic deterioration and frustrations over the role of the monarchy provoked the country’s largest anti-government demonstrations in a decade. In response to these youth-led protests, the regime resorted to familiar authoritarian tactics, including arbitrary arrests, intimidation, lèse majesté charges, and harassment of activists. Freedom of the press is constrained, due process is not guaranteed, and there is impunity for crimes committed against activists.

SOURCE: Freedom House

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Riot police officer in Bangkok tests positive for Covid-19

Caitlin Ashworth

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Riot police officer in Bangkok tests positive for Covid-19 | The Thaiger
Protest in Bangkok on February 28 / Photo by Thai News Pix

A riot police officer, who was deployed at the recent pro-democracy protests in Bangkok, has tested positive for Covid-19. His supervisor, chief of Wang Thonglang station Ekapop Tanprayoon, says the officer had visited Samut Sakhon, a coronavirus hotspot.

Riot police who worked closely with the infected officer, Somyot Nuamcharoen, are ordered to quarantine. The Wang Thonglang police station and any items the police officer handled are being disinfected, the chief says.

The officer had met up with friends during a visit to Samut Sakhon, just southwest of Bangkok. He travelled to the coastal province on February 18 and returned to Bangkok the next day.

On the 20th, he was deployed to a protest outside of parliament, just after returning from his trip to the “red zone” province. On Sunday, he deployed the protest outside the military barracks in Bangkok. The demonstration turned violent and numerous people were injured.

On Tuesday, his friend from Samut Sakhon tested positive for the virus. The infected officer was tested for Covid-19 that day and his result came back positive yesterday.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Transport

“Sealed route” set at Bangkok airport for international transfers

Caitlin Ashworth

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“Sealed route” set at Bangkok airport for international transfers | The Thaiger
Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok / Photo by Caitlin Ashworth

Thailand is now allowing international transits and transfers at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport by using a so-called “sealed route” arranged at the airport to prevent the spread of Covid-19. The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand has now set guidelines for passengers who have a layover at the Bangkok airport.

Passengers will not be allowed to leave Concourse E. A “sealed route” for the passengers will be set up at Gate E10 and E9, allowing passengers to enter the airport at Gate E10, go through security screening and then either board the transit aircraft at Gate E9 or go on a designated shuttle bus directly to an aircraft.

Social distancing is required for all passengers in waiting areas and a face mask must be worn at all times. The CAAT says food and beverage services will be available at the airport’s “sealed route” waiting area, but there will be “active oversight” on the services. Areas will also be cleaned and disinfected regularly.

Passengers must present required documents…

  • A fit-to-fly health certificate
  • Medical certificate declaring a negative Covid-19 result issued no more than 72 hours before departure
  • Travel health insurance that covers Covid-19 treatment expenses up to $100,000 USD

If demand increases, the airport will add Gates E5, E7 and E8 to the sealed route. If Concourse E is under maintenance, then Concourse F will be used under the same plan.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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