[Media Lines] Thailand: Revocation of bail for youth activist Panusaya ‘Rung’ Sithijirawattanakul’s highlights continuing harassment of human rights activists
24 November 2021 3:24 pm
On the revocation of bail for youth pro-democracy activist ‘Rung’ Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul by the Thailand Criminal Court on 22 November, the Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA) said:
The courts have an obligation to ensure the right to a fair trial for Rung and other human rights defenders, regardless of their political views. However, yesterday’s revocation of bail for Rung, following a bail denial just last week, demonstrates the government’s relentless targeting and use of reprisals against well-known pro-democracy activists in continued efforts to clamp down on the pro-democracy movement.
On 22 November, the court revoked Rung’s bail granted in May over protests that took place in September last year, stating that Rung had breached conditions after leading a protest this year.
Last week, her application for bail for a separate ‘crop-top’ protest calling for monarchy reform was rejected, with the court stating that she had repeatedly breached bail conditions. Rung has been detained in the Central Women’s Correctional Institution, over charges of lèse-majesté under Section 112 of the Criminal Code.
The recent development follows a constitutional court ruling stating that Rung, along with two other pro-democracy activists Arnon Nampa and Panupong ‘Mike’ Jadnok, had intended to overthrow the monarchy in their speeches calling for reform. The ruling further ordered the pro-democracy movement and their networks to cease their activities and speeches, in a move decried as further restricting the space for freedom of expression.
FORUM-ASIA calls on the Thai government to ensure that the right to a fair trial is guaranteed for all individuals, including for human rights defenders who merely exercise their right to express their views. Thailand, as a State Party of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), must protect and respect fundamental freedoms, and end its relentless use of judicial harassment of defenders and critics.
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