Amnesty Thailand urges government to free activist Arnon Nampa

Photo courtesy of The Nation

Amnesty International Thailand urged the Pheu Thai-led administration to immediately free political activist Arnon Nampa, who stands accused of insulting the monarchy. Despite facing serious threats from Thai conservative groups, the pressure mounts for his release.

Amnesty, alongside numerous political activists, gathered near the government house, some donning wizard costumes akin to Arnon’s attire at previous protests. The NGO submitted a petition, now supported by 7,301 individuals, demanding the release of Arnon and other detained activists.

According to Amnesty’s Facebook post, the petition outlines three key demands. Firstly, Arnon must be unconditionally and promptly released, with all charges against him and fellow activists nullified, asserted the human rights advocacy group.

Secondly, pending court rulings, Arnon and his compatriots should be granted bail without conditions impeding their peaceful exercise of rights. Thirdly, Amnesty calls for the amendment or repeal of laws curtailing freedom of expression.

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In response, Secretary to the Prime Minister Somkid Cheukong stated that the government is not ignoring the issue and promised to address it in the upcoming parliamentary discussions. However, this effort faces staunch opposition from the pro-monarchy group, Royal Vanguard, reported The Nation.

The Royal Vanguard delivered a letter to the Prime Minister’s Office, demanding Amnesty cease its intervention in the Thai justice system. They argued that Amnesty’s actions violated Thai sovereignty and contravened section 139 of the criminal code.

This law prohibits individuals from coercing officials into acting improperly or obstructing their duties through violence or threats thereof.

In related news, Thai lawyer Teerayut Suwannakaesorn and political activist Sonthiya Sawatdee demanded that 44 Move Forward Party (MFP) MPs be permanently banned from politics after violating political ethics for supporting the reform of lese majeste law, also known as Section 112 of the Criminal Law.

Teerayut previously accused the MFP, along with its former leader Pita Limjaroenrat, of attempting to overthrow the monarchy and Thailand’s democratic form of government, with the king as the head of state. The Constitution Court deliberated on this accusation before announcing its agreement with Teerayut on January 31.

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Puntid Tantivangphaisal

Originally from Hong Kong, Puntid moved to Bangkok in 2020 to pursue further studies in translation. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Hong Kong. Puntid spent 8 years living in Manchester, UK. Before joining The Thaiger, Puntid has been a freelance translator for 2 years. In her free time, she enjoys swimming and listening to music, as well as writing short fiction and poetry.

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