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Jailed activists Penguin and Ammy finally granted bail

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: Penguin and Ammy have finally been granted bail. (via Facebook_เพนกวิน - พริษฐ์ ชิวารักษ์_Parit_Chiwarak)
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Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak, the high-profile student activist leader that has been jailed for months, has finally been granted bail after 10 requests. Another student protester champion, singer Chaiamorn “Ammy the Bottom Blues” Kaewwiboonpan, was also released yesterday. Both activists were being held without bail in Bangkok Remand Prison, charged under Thailand’s strict lèse majesté laws that prohibit anyone from speaking out against the royal family.

As a condition of their bail and release, the activists are barred from taking part in any activities including protesting, organising or giving speeches, that are in any way against Thailand’s royalty. They were made to pledge to respect and not to dishonour the monarchy as a condition of their release. The activist leaders will have to follow a schedule of reporting to the court and are not permitted to leave the country without prior permission.

According to the Court’s ruling, the nature of their cases had changed since this was the first time that they agreed to the conditions silencing them from further protesting. Public prosecutors then saw no reason to oppose bail for the activists. Panusaya “Rung” Sithijirawattanakul, another influential student activist that had been on a hunger strike in prison with Penguin, was released last week as well.

Penguin has been held since February 9, with his mother advocating for his release with growing desperation after 9 previous bail denials for the activist. He spent 93 days in custody and launched a 59-day hunger strike that saw him recently hospitalised and needing emergency assistance. His bail was 200,000 baht for each of two charges against him, one for the Mob Fest and one for the Ratsadon plaque incident. His release is precarious though as more than 20 previously unprosecuted charges of defamation against the royal family could technically see him re-arrested at any point.

Ammy had been in jail since the beginning of March for 70 days pending trial for both arson and the lèse majesté charges. He received bail of 50,000 baht for the Ratsadon plaque incident, but his main infraction was being accused of setting a portrait of the royal family on fire at Khlong Prem Central Prison in Bangkok on February 28, for which bail was set for 200,000 baht.

A third activist, Panupong “Mike Rayong” Jadnok, had to have his bail hearing postponed yesterday to be retested for Covid-19 after having been in close contact with Arnon Nampa, a jailed activist lawyer who contracted Covid-19 in prison. Though testing negative for the Coronavirus last week, a second test was required before he would be allowed to be released.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News and Bangkok Post

 

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Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10 years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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