Patiwat gets bail as protest cohorts stew

Patiwat gets bail as protest cohorts stew

The Criminal Court has granted bail to Patiwat Saraiyaem, one of several key protesters held in prison on charges -- including lese majeste -- linked to last year's mass protests.

Patiwat, better known by his northeastern folk-singing alias of Morlum Bank had sought to be placed on a 200,000-baht bond along with two other detainees, Somyot Pruksakasemsuk and Jatupat "Pai" Boontararaksa, on condition they break no further rules regarding public discussion of the monarchy.

Speaking before the court at a March 29 hearing, Mr Patiwat pledged not to breach Section 112 in the Criminal Code and also stay away from political rallies. He added that if given bail, he would go back to singing mor lum folk songs for a living and was willing to meet all bail conditions set by the court including wearing an electronic tag.

However, the court rejected the applications from Mr Somyot and Mr Jatupat, saying they were likely to reoffend. The two were among 22 others detained on charges related to the protests who have criticised their treatment in court. These protest figures -- who also include Parit "Penguin" Chiwarak, Arnon Nampa, Panupong "Mike" Jadnok and Panusaya "Rung" Sithijirawattanakul -- have spent weeks in prison after being charged with lese majeste and denied bail.

On Friday, Mr Somyot and Mr Jatupat also joined other protest figures in signing a letter expressing their intention to withdraw their lawyer from their Section 112 trial.

Mr Arnon said in a statement read out in court that a lack of due fairness in this case made the lawyer's role redundant so was therefore no longer required to defend them.

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