Two monarchy reform activists have had their bail revoked yesterday (9 January) after the Criminal Court ruled that they had violated their bail conditions by joining an anti-government protest during the APEC summit in November 2022.
From left: Sopon Surariddhidhamrong and Nutthanit Duangmusit arriving at court ahead of their bail hearing (Photo by Ginger Cat)
Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) reported this morning (9 January) that the Criminal Court has revoked bail for monarchy reform activists Sopon Surariddhidhamrong and Nutthanit “Baipor” Duangmusit on the grounds that they had broken their bail conditions by joining an anti-government protest on 17 November 2022 at the Asoke Intersection.
TLHR said that the defendants decided not to testify because the prosecution did not bring an eyewitness to court, and because they believed that the prosecution did not have enough evidence to prove that they violated their bail.
According to iLaw, the Court ruled that Sopon and Nutthanit violated their bail because protesters at the 17 November 2022 protest clashed with the police, and because the two activists allegedly led the protesters to the police headquarters to continue the protest. The court also said that, because they did not testify against prosecution witnesses or justify their reasoning in joining the protest, the court considers them as having broken their bail.
The order revoking bail for the two activists was signed by judge Parit Piyanaratorn, Deputy Chief Justice of the Criminal Court.
Sopon and Nutthanit’s lawyers posted bail for them again, proposing a security of 100,000-baht each. However, the Criminal Court rejected the request on the grounds that they have already broken their bail conditions and are therefore likely to repeat their offense or cause other danger.
Sopon was previously held in pre-trial detention on a royal defamation charge for a month before being granted bail on 31 May 2022. He has been prohibited from leaving his residence without court permission unless for educational or medical reasons.
Nutthanit, meanwhile, was held in pre-trial detention for 94 days on a royal defamation charge. To protest the denial of bail, Nutthanit and fellow activist Netiporn Sanesangkhom, who was detained at the same time, went on a hunger strike for 64 days. They were granted bail on 4 August 2022.
Tantawan, Sopon, and Nutthanit speaking to reporters ahead of their bail hearing. (Photo by Ginger Cat)
Monarchy reform activist Tantawan Tuatulanon was also summoned to court today for a bail revocation hearing. However, the prosecution told the court that they are not aware of why Tantawan’s bail would be revoked and that the court called the hearing based on evidence found during investigation in another case instead of a request from the inquiry officer.
Tantawan’s lawyer also told the court that they were not informed of why the hearing was called and what Tantawan did that could go against her bail condition, and that they had only seen a document from the inquiry officer claiming that she violated her bail conditions in another case.
The lawyer asked the court why it called the hearing, since it should already have evidence that Tantawan broke her bail if it calls the hearing without a request and there would be no need for a hearing. The judge told them that the court called a hearing to give the defendant the chance to defend herself.
The court later ruled to postpone Tantawan’s hearing to 1 March 2023.