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Cover photo: Anon Nampa

Convicted human rights lawyer Anon Nampa has decided to withdraw his bail applications in 20 cases despite facing 80 years of imprisonment. “This is not a guilty plea,” he asserted.

On 16 November, Anon posted a handwritten letter on Facebook stating that bail should be a common right, but being denied bail was not unexpected for political prisoners like him.

Anon requested his lawyer to withdraw his bail applications in 20 cases, affirming that this was not a guilty plea and he would never acknowledge that his actions and those of others were unlawful.

“We see problems in the country and fight for change, and to gain freedom and equality. That is not an offence. I do not have to plead guilty, and this is not an admission of guilt even if I have to be punished,” Anon wrote in his letter.

He also noted that the punishment for these 20 cases may result in over 80 years in prison.

On 26 September, Anon was found guilty of royal defamation for a speech he gave during a protest on 14 October 2020, in which he demanded the resignation of then-PM Prayut Chan-o-cha, a new constitution, and monarchy reform. He was sentenced to 4 years in prison without parole and fined 20,000 baht.

While being detained, he was denied provisional release 3 times even though he proved that he was not likely to flee. The Southern Bangkok Criminal Court had previously allowed him to travel to South Korea from 21-22 May 2023 to receive the Gwangju Prize for Human Rights and he reported to the court upon returning to Thailand.

Since 2020, the government has increased prosecutions of political dissidents under the royal defamation law. Anon counts one of the most frequently prosecuted activists under this defamation law with 14 charges, after Parit Chiwarak, who faces 24 charges.

Currently, there are 24 political prisoners. Of this number, 15 cases involve royal defamation and 9 cases involve possession of explosives and other charges.

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