In a bid to secure bail rights for political prisoners, Move Forward Party (MFP) MPs will propose legal amendments guaranteeing bail rights for all citizens.
On 31 August 2023, MFP MPs led by Chonticha Jangrew held a press conference to address the matter of securing bail for political prisoners, particularly those charged under the royal defamation law. They hope to convey their message to the new justice minister, highlighting that there are citizens in prison engaged in hunger strikes to demand bail rights that have been unjustly denied them.
Chonticha raised the case of Warunee, who has been incarcerated for 65 days. On 21 August, Warunee began a hunger strike, only drinking soy milk. On 24 August, she began a dry fast, consuming nothing at all. Six days later, she was hospitalised for exhaustion. She is not the only hunger striker; several other activists charged with royal defamation have also begun strikes.
According to Chonticha, at least 7 people are currently being detained while awaiting trial for royal defamation charges. Until they have been found guilty, she said, the court must presume their innocence and grant them bail, as guaranteed by the constitution. That they now have to place their lives in danger to secure bail rights is a mark of a failed judicial system, she added.
Remarking upon the unequal treatment afforded defendants in royal defamation cases, she noted that to obtain bail, the accused are often compelled to repeatedly submit requests and even place their lives in jeopardy.
Chonticha reiterated that to protect the credibility of the judicial system, the MFP continues to advocate for an amended royal defamation law. It has also established a working team to amend Sections 108 and 108/1 of the Criminal Procedure Code to ensure that every citizen is guaranteed a fundamental right to bail during legal proceedings.