In another riveting development emerging from the streets of Thailand, the esteemed human rights attorney, Arnon Nampa finds himself embroiled in a complex legal battle. His plea for bail was declined for the second time, a decision announced by the Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) on 16th October.
The Thai appeal court stood its ground, attributing the tough stance to the gravity of the regal defamation allegations burdening Arnon. The authorities expressed concerns over the probability of the lawyer evading law enforcement, which led them to back the preliminary ruling – a refusal of bail.
Legal aides defending Arnon argued that the lawyer’s busy schedule involving up to 39 cases placed him far from the risk of flight. His clientele stretches across the cityscape of Bangkok, reaching to other provinces, which assures his continuous presence. Elaborating on this assertion, they reminded the court about Nampa’s visit to South Korea this May to receive the Gwangju Prize for Human Rights. Despite travelling abroad, his dedication to law and justice brought him back to Thailand, duly complying with court procedures.
Just over two weeks ago, Arnon Nampa found himself confined within the premises of Bangkok Remand Prison due to his conviction on September 26. His major offence? A speech delivered at a gathering advocating democratic ideals in October 2020. But his legal woes don’t end there. Nampa has to face an additional 13 charges under Section 112 of the Criminal Code, which incorporates the lese-majeste law— an offence relating to derogatory conduct against monarchy.
It seems the tightening reins on political expression and participation have been leading to an increasing number of prosecutions in Thailand. As per data released by TLHR till the end of August this year, the number of such individuals stands at a staggering 1,925. This count took off following the initiation of Free Youth protests in July 2020. From these, about 257 individuals are grappling with charges under Section 112, while another 130 face charges of inducing unrest or sedition under Section 116. Bangkok Post provides further details on this front.
In a related update, a young girl, the second youngest in Thailand to be implicated in committing lese majeste, secured bail from a juvenile detention centre earlier this year. However, upon release, she exhibited symptoms of a bacteria-induced skin rash on her back, an issue arising due to poor water conditions in these centres.
For those wanting a more in-depth recounting of this eventful episode, a click HERE will reveal the labyrinth of issues involved. Moreover, following Thaiger on their new Facebook page HERE will help stay updated with all the evolving stories from the Land of Smiles.