Skip to main content

In parallel with ongoing dry fasts and no-sleep protests of activists demanding bail rights, the Court has granted bail to 3 detainees whose charges relate to political protests, leaving 3 still detained.

A file photo of portraits of detained activists, both sentenced and awaiting trial. Displayed in a protest in Los Angeles.

Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) reported on 20 February that Ratchadaphisek Criminal Court granted a request from their lawyers to temporarily release Sopon Surariddhidhamrong, Nutthanit Duangmusit, and Pornpot Jaengkrajang.

They are three among six people for whom bail has been requested. The remaining three are Thiranai, Khathathon, and Chaiyaporn (surnames withheld in all cases).

In Thiranai and Chaiyaporn’s case, the Court has passed the request to the Court of Appeal for consideration. In Khathathon’s case, Ratchadaphisek Criminal Court asked for further information. All cases would take a few days before a decision is made.

With three released, the remaining three are the last being detained pending trials for actions related to the pro-democracy protests.

However, there are other 6 people who have been sentenced to prison terms for crimes related to expression about the monarchy and actions related to the protest. The longest serving is Anchan, who has been sentenced to 43 years and six months for violating Article 112 of the Thai Criminal Code (lèse majesté).

Bail came after a month of a dry fast started by Tantawan ‘Tawan’ Tuatulanon and Orawan Phuphong, two activists known for their monarchy reform activism. Their demands are the release of political prisoners and reform of the judicial system so that human rights and freedom of expression take priority, and so that courts are independent and protect people’s freedom, as well as for judges to make decisions without intervention from their own executives.

They also called for all charges to be dropped against those exercising their rights to freedom of expression and assembly, and for every political party to guarantee people’s rights, freedoms, and political participation by backing the repeal of the royal defamation law and sedition law.

As their health deteriorated, they were initially admitted to the Department of Corrections Hospital but were transferred to Thammasat University Hospital on 24 January where they remain at the time of writing (20 February). 

Their protests were joined by other detainees: Sitthichok Sethasavet, who staged a hunger strike before being released in mid-February, and Mongkhon Thirakot, who was temporarily released on appeal after being sentenced to 28 years in prison for royal defamation. At the time of writing, Mongkhon remains on a hunger strike in front of the Ratchadaphisek Criminal Court.

Sopon, who was just allowed bail, had been refusing to sleep for 14 days.

As their hunger strike enters its 33rd day, Thaluwang (Pierce the Palace), a monarchy reform group to which Tantawan and Orawan are affiliated, posted that the two would leave Thammasat hospital and continue to protest in front of the Supreme Court on Tuesday if all the bail requests are not promptly granted.

Prachatai English's Logo

Prachatai English is an independent, non-profit news outlet committed to covering underreported issues in Thailand, especially about democratization and human rights, despite pressure from the authorities. Your support will ensure that we stay a professional media source and be able to meet the challenges and deliver in-depth reporting.

• Simple steps to support Prachatai English

1. Bank transfer to account “โครงการหนังสือพิมพ์อินเทอร์เน็ต ประชาไท” or “Prachatai Online Newspaper” 091-0-21689-4, Krungthai Bank

2. Or, Transfer money via Paypal, to e-mail address: [email protected], please leave a comment on the transaction as “For Prachatai English”