Release of 4 rally leaders 'justified'

Release of 4 rally leaders 'justified'

Decision to prosecute now up to police

The Office of the Judiciary insisted on Tuesday it acted in accordance with legal procedures when it released four anti-government leaders on Monday.

Judiciary spokesman Suriyan Hongwilai said the cases had not yet entered the court system, so its decision to turn down a police request to detain the protest leaders for a third time was in line with international legal standards.

It was now up to the police whether to prosecute the four leaders, Mr Suriyan said, adding that the court had only been asked to examine the way the police had exercised their power in the case.

Ekkachai Hongkangwan and Suranat Paenprasert, charged with intending to do harm to Her Majesty the Queen's liberty on Oct 14, were freed without bail.

So were Arnon Nampa and Somyot Prueksakasemsuk, charged in relation to the protests at Thammasat University and Sanam Luang and installation of a plaque on Sept 19-20.

Atthapol Buapat (aka Kru Yai Khon Kaen Por Gun Tee), Chai-amorn Kaewwiboonpan (aka Ammy The Bottom Blues), Suwanna Tarnlek, eight other protesters and Sasinan Thamnithinan, a lawyer from the Thai Lawyers for Human Rights yesterday met police officers at Chana Songkhram police station after they were summoned to acknowledge charges filed against them for leading demonstrations at Thammasat University Tha Prachan campus and Sanam Luang on Sept 19–20.

Mr Atthapol said he also had another arrest warrant to attend Pathumwan police station. However, he insisted that he had no intention of fleeing and there was no need for police to arrest him.

If he was arrested despite his intention to show up to acknowledge his charges, it would mean somebody had not played fair, he said.

Mr Atthapol added that parliament's extraordinary two-day session last week had been convened solely to whitewash the government's acts and inflict blame on the people. He said the government had not been sincere in its stated aim of trying to tackle the ongoing conflict and he vowed the protests would not be scaled down.

Ms Sasinan said a total of 17 protesters had been summoned by police and 11 of them had already acknowledged their charges at Chana Songkhram police station, after which they were allowed to go home.

A member of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Prakairat Tonthirawong, expressed concerns over the arrests of protest leaders, especially those who were still minors and who were arrested at night by plainclothes police officers.

She cited the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights that Thailand had ratified, saying arrests related to political protests must be appropriate, just and predictable in line with legal procedures. The government must respect the rights of the 2560 Constitution, she said.

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