'Pai' freed on bail, vows to continue with protests
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'Pai' freed on bail, vows to continue with protests

Activist vows to stay in front of prison until remaining 7 detainees are released

Jatupat “Pai” Boonyapattaraksa is greeted by a supporter on his release from the Bangkok Remand Prison on Friday. (Photo from @daodincommoner Facebook account)
Jatupat “Pai” Boonyapattaraksa is greeted by a supporter on his release from the Bangkok Remand Prison on Friday. (Photo from @daodincommoner Facebook account)

The Court of Appeal has approved bail for northeastern activist Jatupat “Pai” Boonyapattaraksa in two cases for a surety of 70,000 baht each.

The order, read by the Criminal Court on Friday afternoon, allowed his temporary release in the so-called Khana Ratsadon Isan case in which he, along with 19 other activists, was held by Samran Rat police on Oct 13 on Ratchdamnoen Avenue for trying to set up tents on the road ahead of a royal motorcade. The other actvisits had earlier been granted bail.

The court also agreed to free him temporarily pending trial for the charges that Chana Songkhram police filed against him for his roles during a Sept 19 rally at Thammasat University and Sanam Luang.

Mr Jatupat faced numerous charges ranging from illegal assembly under the Criminal Code and the emergency decree, resisting officials on duty, as well as violations of the laws on disease control, traffic and cleanliness, among others. 

Benja Saengchan used her position as a Move Forward list MP as the surety instead of putting up cash.

Earlier, the Criminal Court denied him bail twice, describing his actions as seditious and citing a likely repeat of such behaviours.

In approving his bail, the Court of Appeal reasoned the suspect was a student and there was no proof he was a flight risk or would tamper with evidence.

Mr Jatupat walked out of the prison at 4.40pm. He was greeted by around 300 young protesters who had been waiting there for him.

He told the crowd no police are on the people's side and no judges stand with the people. "Even in jail, more police came to question me for more charges. They even tried to send me to Khon Kaen but the plan was cancelled."

He said he planned to stay in front of the prison until the remaining seven detainees were freed. "Nobody deserves to be in jail for taking to the streets to oust Prayut. No one should be jailed for wanting a new constitution. No one should be imprisoned for seeking monarchy reform," he said citing his group's three demands.

Before his release, there was a concern he might not be able to walk free from the Bangkok Remand Prison on Friday evening given the outstanding warrants police have on him.

Two other student co-leaders — Parit "Penguin" Chiwarak and Panusaya "Rung" Sithijirawattanakul — had been granted bail in some cases. However, police had waited at the prison and the moment they were released, the pair were brought back behind bars on charges in other cases, forcing a restart of the lengthy bail application.

Apart from Mr Jatupat, eight other activists from recent rallies remain in prison. The court has yet to approve the bail requests for seven of them, including Mr Parit and Ms Panusaya for their new charges.

The other was lawyer Arnon Nampa, who is being detained in Chiang Mai province. The Court of Appeal already approved his temporary release on bail but he has yet to apply for it. 

Police treatment of the activists has reportedly been a reason Mr Arnon decided not to apply for bail.

The human rights lawyer reckoned the money, which mainly comes from a fund raised from the public by Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR), would be better spent on other activists with fewer outstanding warrants, according to TLHR.

In any case, Mr Arnon's lawyer would oppose a police request for the second round of his detention after the first ends on Monday, according to TLHR.

A number of youth protesters arranged to meet in front of the prison to demand the releases of their friends and welcome Mr Jatupat on Saturday evening.

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