Thai scholarship student charged with lese-majeste not allowed to leave country to pursue masters degree in Germany

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A Thai court has refused to let a Thai student charged with lese-majeste to go pursue her master’s degree in Germany where she has received a scholarship.

The 26-year-old who studied German at Chulalongkorn University was charged with lese majeste and sedition for reading out a statement by pro-democracy protesters and addressed to the Bundestag in front of the German embassy in Bangkok on October 26, 2020.

The prosecutor filed a lese-majeste case in July 2021 against her and the Bangkok South Criminal Court charged her along with 12 other protesters. She received bail but is not allowed to leave the country.

“I have been studying German since I was 15 and since then it is always my dream that one day, if I have given a chance like this scholarship, to go pursue a Master’s degree in Germany,” Ravisara “Dear” Eksgool told Thai Enquirer on Thursday.

Ravisara was granted a scholarship to go and pursue further studies at the University of Applied Science Osnabruck.

“I want to study this course because I believe that NGOs can help solve structural problems in Thailand,” she said.

“Being charged with lese-majeste allows me to see that NGOs in Thailand still lack the ability to negotiate with the government,” she said.

On February 7, she requested for the court to allow her to travel to Germany to continue with her studies but was denied by the court citing her bail condition and flight risk.

Ravisara filed for a second request on Wednesday and the court is expected to provide its verdict on Thursday.

“I have high hope on my second application since this time, I offered a lot of conditions to guarantee that I will not ask for asylum in Germany,” she said.

She said that if the court denied her request, she will keep on trying.

“If they allow, then I can go on with all visa applications and ticket bookings. If not, we will file for the request again,” she said.

According to Thai Lawyers for Human Rights, at least 173 people were charged with lese-majeste since November 2020 when the government of Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-ocha started to use the law to prosecute, arrest and detain pro-democracy protesters.


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