Arrest warrant issued for political activist Parit Chiwarak

Photo courtesy of Bangkok Post

The Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Parit Chiwarak, better known as Penguin, after the political activist failed to appear for a ruling in a high-profile lese majeste case.

Parit, facing approximately 24 charges under Section 112 of the Criminal Code, remains free on bail, according to Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR).

The ruling, originally scheduled for yesterday, June 25, stems from a complaint filed by Nopadol Prompasit, a member of a pro-monarchy group. The complaint targets Facebook messages posted by Parit over five days in July 2021, which were deemed threatening to the monarchy. Additionally, Parit faces charges under the Computer Crime Act for disseminating harmful information online.

Charges under the Computer Crime Act often accompany lese-majeste charges, the latter carrying sentences of three to 15 years. This legal combination isn’t unique to Parit, former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra also faces similar charges, formally indicted last week.

The court has rescheduled Parit’s ruling to July 31. This case is part of a broader crackdown on political dissent in Thailand.

According to TLHR data as of May 31, 1,954 individuals have been prosecuted for political participation and expression since the Free Youth protests began in July 2020. Of these, at least 272 are facing lese-majeste charges under Section 112, and 152 have been charged with sedition under Section 116, reported Bangkok Post.

In related news, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) urged the Thai government to halt plans to deport Vietnamese activist Y Quynh Bdap, expressing concerns for his safety. Y Quynh Bdap is a prominent figure within the Montagnard ethnic group from Vietnam’s Central Highlands and co-founded Montagnards Stand for Justice, an organisation advocating for religious freedom.

In other news, Thalu Wang activists gathered outside the Government House in Bangkok demanding judicial reforms following the tragic death of Netiporn Sanesangkhom. The activist’s untimely demise, attributed to medical negligence while in pretrial detention, has ignited a fervent call for change.

Bangkok NewsPolitics NewsThailand News

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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