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Rights group demands release of detained activists

The May 18 Memorial Foundation, a South Korea-based foundation established to remember the spirit of democratic struggle and solidarity during the 18 May 1980 uprising in South Korea, issued a statement today (3 April) demanding the release of activists Anon Nampa and Sirapob Phumpheungphut, both of whom are detained pending appeal on a royal defamation charge.

Left: Sirapob Phumpheungphut
Right: Anon Nampa

The statement reads: 

The Thai government must immediately release Anon Nampa and Sirapob Phumphengphut, and Guarantee freedom of expression!

We, the May 18 Foundation, condemns the undemocratic actions of the Thai government in suppressing the freedom of expression of Anon Nampa, winner of the 2021 Gwangju Prize for Human Rights, Sirapob Phumphengphut and the Thai people.

On March 25, 2024, student activist and human rights defender Sirapob Phumphengphut was convicted of lèse-majesté and sentenced to 2 years in prison for criticizing the Thai monarchy. He has been held in detention.

Sirapop Pumphengput attended a peaceful protest on November 18, 2020, where he gave a speech questioning why people are not allowed to talk about the king in a constitutional monarchy. For this reason, he was indicted on December 18 of the same year, and was also indicted on May 6, 2021, but was granted conditional bail. However, this year, the Bangkok South Criminal Court sentenced him to jail for tarnishing the King’s reputation

Anon Nampa and Sirapob Phumphengphut are not criminals or enemies of the royal family, but defenders of democracy who want to realize democracy in Thailand through political and monarchy reforms

The May 18 Foundation denounces the Thai government that has consistently oppressed the pro-democracy movement of its people. The May 18 Foundation will stand in solidarity with the international communities to support Thailand’s democracy.

Release Anon Nampa and Sirapob Phumphengphut and stop oppressing the people who fight for political and monarchy reforms!

April 3, 2024

The May 18 Foundation
Asia Democracy Network(ADN)

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