Opinion: Suicide attempt should change government minds on bail request

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If nothing else can convince the authorities to grant bail to young pro-democracy protesters (who should not be jailed in the first place) languishing in prison while awaiting trial than the latest news that one of them tried to commit suicide while in prison should force them to change their minds.

Given that this is Thailand and the Prayut Chan-ocha administration, it should come no surprise that no bail is forth coming and once again the pro-democracy political prisoners are being punished to the extremes to frighten them into silence. 

According to Section 29(2) of the current constitution, a defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

According to the Criminal Procedure Code Section 7, a defendant has the right to a fair trial and a right to request bail.

Looking at the circumstance before his detention, the reasons that the court has given to why they have denied Palaphon, one of the demonstrators who tried to commit suicide, were incompetently inadequate.

Palaphon (last name omitted) for those that don’t know is a 20-year-old pro-democracy protester. He was accused of damaging and setting fire to a police vehicle during a protest at Din Daeng on June 11.

Unlike ten other defendants who were all detained on June 17 for protests at Din Daeng between June 11 and 15, Palaphon was the only one who turned himself in.

Four others were also accused of the same crime and all of them received an arrest warrant before they reported to the police.

Palaphon told Teerawit (last name omitted), another defendant age 41, that he turned himself in because he know that he did not commit the crime and he wanted to prove his innocence to the police.

Palaphon’s time in jail has caused enormous stress and he is visibly more distressed than others while in detention Teerawit told lawyers from Thai Lawyers for Human Rights who went to visit the detainees on Monday.

The Department of Corrections confirmed in a statement on Tuesday that Palaphon overdosed on painkillers in the attempted suicide. They said his condition is now stable.

It is time the government does the right thing and grant this man bail.


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