Court revokes bail for prominent protest leader Anon Numpha

The Bangkok Criminal Court revoked bail for a prominent protest leader on Thursday saying that he breached conditions of his release by participating in more protests.

The court said, Anon Numpha, a 35-year old human rights lawyer was guilty of violating the conditions of his parole by participating in protests through out the country as part of the the Free People Movement that has been organizing the latest pro-democracy rallies.

Student-led protests have gripped the country over the past two months with students calling for a rewrite of the military-drafted constitution, the dissolution of parliament, and the end to the harassment of activists by the state.

The protests originally began in February after the dissolution of the progressive Future Forward Party but were abruptly halted due to the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. As the pandemic subsided in Thailand, the protests have started up again led by student leaders and prominent activists like Anon.

Anon was arrested on August 7 for making speeches at the first major rally on July 18 which resulted in minor altercations between the police and protestors.

However, he was charged with inciting unrest or sedition (Section 116 of the Criminal Code), illegal assembly of more than 10 people, holding activities at risk of spreading the coronavirus (the state of emergency decree), obstructing public space, obstructing traffic, breaking the cleanliness law and using loudspeakers without permission from authority.

The sedition charge alone carries a maximum jail sentence of up to seven years. 

Anon has told Thai Enquirer after his speech at a rally at the Democracy Monument on August 16 that he do not believe that his participations and speeches at political rallies during his bail release is against court condition because he did not incite any violence or unrest.

After rejecting appealing for another bail hearing, Anon released a note through his representatives which have been posted online.

“I am happy to have fought alongside everyone. We have come a long way so keep on moving forward with bravery,” the note said. “My duty outside the jail cell has ended and will now believe in the necessary changes.”

“Please come out on September 19 to confirm that we have come on the right path. I believe in everyone.”

A large rally at Thammasat’s Tha Pra Chan campus is scheduled for September 19.

So far, 29 individuals have either been arrested or charged for organizing, performing and participating at these rallies. The majority of them of them are university students and activists with 14 charged for sedition.

Anon told reporters before he entered the court on Thursday that they believe the movement against PM Prayut’s government and for democratic reform will continue regardless of his personal liberty.

“If I…have to be in prison then it means that we have fought all the way already,” he said. 

“If our bail is revoked, I believe that it will not affect the people’s calling for democracy because I believe that everyone will be able to move it forward together. Incarcerating us is not going to help them with anything,” he added.     

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