Protest pair released on a surety of ฿100,000 as police net widens to include up to 31 people with 16 new arrests warrants to be executed in the coming days. Opposition Pheu Thai leader, Khunying Sudarat Keyuraphan, has appealed to the Prime Minister Prayut Chan ocha to end what she termed intimidation but also appealed to all involved to ensure that there is no recourse to violence. Ms Sudarat and other MPs visited the arrested pair on Friday night after they were taken forcibly following an aborted court hearing to Bangkok’s Huai Khwang police station after the court, because of the late hour, refused to hear the case.

The two protest leaders arrested on Friday were bailed following a court sitting in Bangkok on Saturday. The court, however, pointedly warned them not to engage in similar behaviour while on bail. Directly afterwards, lawyer Arnon Nampa, somewhat defiantly, told reporters he was headed for Chiang Mai to take part in further protests against the government. 

Scenes from Saturday after lawyer and activist Arnon Nampa (left) and ‘Mike Rayong’ or Panupong Jaadnok (right) were released on bail by a court in Bangkok. Protests continued however at a nearby Skywalk by young people despite calls from police for them to stand down. All eyes are now on Sunday’s protest in Chiang Mai.

The two Thai protest leaders arrested on Friday were granted bail by a Bangkok court on Saturday morning after being brought to court as police sought an extension of their detention as investigations progressed into the July 18th protest at Democracy Monument in the city which has sparked a renewed student protest movement throughout the country.

Police told the court on Saturday that they were seeking to interview at least six more people in connection with their investigation.

Reports on Friday and Saturday suggested that warrants for the arrest of up to 29 people connected with the Saturday evening protest last July may be ultimately sought.

Further arrest warrants reportedly issued

Police have suggested that they are still seeking between 15 and 16 people on the basis of arrest warrants but that 31 suspects in all are concerned with the case. 

The court on Saturday did grant the activist and human rights lawyer, Arnon Nampa and a student named Panupong Jaadnok also known as ‘Mike Rayong’ bail.

This was based on a surety of ฿100,000 each. They face seven charges but the most serious is an offence under Section 116 of the Criminal Code for inciting unrest and sedition and which carries a seven-year jail term.

Court on Friday night refused to hear police request for further detention of the two men

Last night, police were turned away by the court at 9.50 pm when the two suspects were brought from Bang Khen police station on the basis that the hour was too late.

After the court appearance, Mr Arnon argued vigorously with police that the duo was being detained unlawfully as the court had not granted an order for their continued detention. This led to the two men being forcibly taken away in a police vehicle. 

Police have 48 hours after the execution of an arrest warrant to produce an accused person before the court.

Mr Arnon had argued that the request for further detention had not been granted but police viewed it as if a court hearing of the matter had not taken place.

Visited by MPs and key Pheu Thai leader Khunying Sudarat Keyuraphan who called for understanding

They were later visited at Huai Khwang police station where they were subsequently taken and jailed, by Pheu Thai Party chief strategist Khunying Sudarat Keyuraphan and MPs from the House of Representatives. 

Ms Sudarat emphasised her party’s support for the pair. She appealed to the government and Prime Minister Prayut Chan ocha, not to use the law to intimidate people.

She also emphasised the need for understanding so that all sides do their utmost to ensure that the arrests do not lead to unrest or violence.

Mr Arnon urged supporters, by note on Saturday, ‘to take good care’ of student protestors in Bangkok

On Saturday, during the court hearing where he was granted bail, Mr Arnon passed a note to his supporters.

‘I know a rally has been called at the Skywalk near the cultural centre at 4 pm today. I’d like to ask our older members to take good care of the students. Whatever will be, will be,’ the note said.

A crowd appeared on Saturday afternoon at the Skywalk and were addressed by young student leaders who defied repeated calls by police to disperse because the assembly was illegal.

Defiant lawyer vows to speak in Chiang Mai

Meanwhile, Mr Arnon after he was released with Mr Panupong on bail, told reporters he would be in Chiang Mai for a Sunday protest and would address the same subjects and theme he spoke about on Monday night, August 3rd when he controversially included references to Thailand’s monarchy which he said he supported but had fears in relation to democratic rights and the current constitutional provisions.

The activist and lawyer were specifically injuncted by the court in Bangkok on Saturday not to engage in behaviour relating to the charges before it.

Further reading:

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