Arnon pledges to fight 'unfair' sedition charges

Arnon pledges to fight 'unfair' sedition charges

Human rights lawyer Arnon Nampa on Saturday vowed to fight back against state officials for "treating him unfairly" in a sedition case brought against him and another political activist in connection with a July 18 anti-government gathering at the Democracy Monument.

Speaking after the Criminal Court granted him and Panupong Chadnok, known as "Mike Rayong", 24, bail yesterday, Mr Arnon said he was determined to take part in every gathering or activity that calls for a rewrite of the charter.

From the political rally on July 18, both are among seven people facing seven charges including inciting unrest or sedition (Section 116 of the Criminal Code); illegal assembly of more than 10 people (Section 215 of the Criminal Code); holding activities which risk spreading contagious diseases (emergency decree); obstructing public space (Section 385 of the Criminal Code); obstructing traffic (Section 114 of the Land Traffic Act); violating Section 19 of the cleanliness law and using loudspeakers without prior approval.

The charge under Section 116 carries a maximum penalty of seven years in prison.

Upon granting the activists bail despite a police request to further detain them while the sedition case probe is still underway, the court imposed a condition the pair must not be involved in any further misconduct.

A group of supporters led by Parit "Penguin" Cheewarak, a student activist at Thammasat University, showed up outside the court on Ratchadaphisek Road yesterday.

They confronted police guarding the court entrance when they attempted to make their way through a metal fence barring them from entry.

Mr Arnon insisted all past political gatherings and activities he had participated in were carried out in a peaceful manner and didn't break any laws.

The gathering by the youth-led anti-government movement on Aug 16 will become the next major event which he and any other activists intend to join.

It is not clear where the gathering will be held although they insisted they do not care if they are detained again.

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