Lawyer jailed for lese-majeste denied bail

Lawyer jailed for lese-majeste denied bail

Court says activist Arnon Nampa, facing 13 other charges under Section 112, is a flight risk

Arnon Nampa, already convicted once, is facing 13 additional charges of violating the royal defamation law. (Photo: Nutthawat Wichieanbut)
Arnon Nampa, already convicted once, is facing 13 additional charges of violating the royal defamation law. (Photo: Nutthawat Wichieanbut)

The Court of Appeal has denied a bail request from prominent activist and lawyer Arnon Nampa, who is appealing his four-year sentence for violating Section 112 of the Criminal Code, the lese-majeste law.

The decision was reported by Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) in a post on X, formerly Twitter, on Saturday morning.

The organisation said the court reasoned that after considering the severity of the charge and the behaviour of the defendant, it was seen that the actions of Mr Arnon had caused too much detriment to the constitutional monarchy.

The court took the view that due to the four-year prison sentence handed down by a lower court, it was likely the defendant would attempt to flee if allowed to be released on bail.

The court also ruled against a request by Mr Arnon for it to review witnesses in his case, stating that the evidence was sufficient to support the earlier ruling and no further review was required.

Mr Arnon’s lawyer, Krisadang Nutcharus, said he would consult with his client on whether to make another bail request or appeal the order to the Supreme Court.

The Criminal Court on Sept 26 sentenced Mr Arnon, an attorney with TLHR, to four years in prison and a fine of 20,000 baht for violating Section 112. The conviction stemmed from his appearance and statements made to a gathering at Victory Monument in Bangkok on Oct 14, 2020.

While waiting for the decision of the appeals court, Mr Arnon was detained at the Bangkok Remand Prison.

TLHR had earlier expressed confidence that bail would be granted as Mr Arnon showed no likelihood of fleeing or violating the terms of his earlier release on bail. The group also noted he is the father of two children.

Mr Arnon, 39, is widely known for taboo-breaking speeches during pro-democracy protests in 2020 during which he called for public debate on the role of the monarchy.

Section 112 carries a maximum prison sentence of 15 years for each perceived insult of the monarchy. Mr Arnon is facing 13 other charges under the same section.

According to data from TLHR to Aug 31 this year, 1,925 people have been prosecuted for political participation and expression since the beginning of the Free Youth protests in July 2020. At least 257 are facing lese-majeste charges under Section 112 and 130 have been charged with sedition under Section 116.

Do you like the content of this article?