The 14 students and allied Human Rights Defenders (HRDs) will be released in the morning of 8 July, the Bangkok Military Court ruled today dismissing the police request for further pre-trial detention.
However the charges against the activists, who have been under custody since the 26 June, are not dropped and the military prosecutor will decide whether to confirm the pending prosecution.
Also, the court’s rejection concerns just the case of the group’s peaceful demonstrations on 24 and 25 of June, for which the students and allied activists are facing charges under section 116 of Criminal Code (sedition). However, the 14 activists are also charged with violating National Coucil for Peace and Order’s Order No. 3/2015 for their peaceful activities marking one year of the coup on 22 May 2015 in Bangkok and Khon Kaen Province.
The arrest warrants for this second charge are still standing, hence they might be arrested and prosecuted any time after being released tomorrow. If declared guilty, each activist may face up to 7.5 years in jail.
Since their arrest, the international community and many NGOs issued statements in supports of the 14 student and allied HRDs, urging the Thai junta to unconditionally drop all charges against them.
Among these, Protection International calls on the Thai junta to:
– To immediately and unconditionally drop all charges and against all 16 activists (including 2 activists released on bail, facing fewer charges);
– Publicly condemn the Human Rights violations and repression of civil and political rights which this criminalisation of peaceful, pro-democratic activism constitutes; – Immediately stop the campaign of intimidation, harassment and misinformation which is targeted at the detained activists’ families, friends, lawyers, allied community-based HRDs, academics and other affinity groups.
– To cooperate with independent Human Rights mechanisms and allow them to work effectively in Thailand, namely by ensuring their ability to conduct country visits.
The National Human Rights Commissioner and Chairperson of the NHRC Sub-Committee on Civil and Political Rights, Dr. Niran Pitakwatchara, also intervened in favour of the students, holding an enquiry on the arrest after having visit them at the Bangkok Remand Prison the 3rd of July.
“The government must allow different political thought to be expressed without being faced by soldiers.” the Commissioner said on this occasion, claiming that Neo-Democracy Movement (NDM) is completely unrelated to violence and is acting for the common good of society.
To read the statement made by the EU, please click here
To read the statement made by Forum Asia, please click here
To read the statement made by Front Line Defenders, please click here