Courts approve release of protest leaders Panupong, Jatupat

Courts approve release of protest leaders Panupong, Jatupat

Panupong Jadnok leads an anti-government rally outside the Finance Ministry on Jan 22, 2021. The activist was expected to be released on Friday afternoon, subject to conditions including wearing an electronic tag. (Photo: Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)
Panupong Jadnok leads an anti-government rally outside the Finance Ministry on Jan 22, 2021. The activist was expected to be released on Friday afternoon, subject to conditions including wearing an electronic tag. (Photo: Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)

The Ayutthaya Court on Friday granted temporary release for Panupong Jadnok, clearing the last hurdle for the detained protest leader to leave custody and return home.

A Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) statement said Mr Panupong, better known by his nickname Mike, was released by the court without bail being required, but must wear an electronic tag. 

His release is conditional on his staying away from all activities deemed a threat to the monarchy and remaining inside his home from 6pm-6am, and he has to wear an electronic monitoring bracelet all the time.

Mr Panupong could be fined 150,000 baht and his release would be revoked if the conditions were violated, the TLHR said.

His release by the Ayutthaya court followed a similar decision to allow the release of another activist by Phu Khieo Provincial Court in Chaiyaphum province on Thursday and the Criminal Court in Bangkok on Wednesday.

"We are waiting for our friend at Bangkok Remand Prison to send him home," student activist Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul tweeted.

Mr Panupong was released on Friday evening and was greeted by his mother, Yuphin Maneewong, and supporters waiting for his release outside the Bangkok prison. He reminded his supporters that other activists, including human rights lawyer Anon Nampa and student activist Parit Chiwarak, remained under detention. 

The Bangkok Criminal Court and Pheu Khieo court granted temporary release for Jatupat "Pai Dao Din" Boonpathararaksa. He returned home from Bangkok Remand Prison on Thursday night, released under the same conditions as Mr Panupong. 

Mr Jatupat said outside the prison that the voices of the people would play a key role in the call for the government to step down.

The Dao Din key member had been detained for six months. Mr Panupong had been held for four months.

The two young protesters are fighting several charges, including alleged lese majeste. 

In the latest attempt to secure their temporary release, TLHR lawyer Kritsadang Nutjaras, who represented the two, petitioned the criminal and other courts to allow his clients to leave prison to help their parents.

Mr Jatupat's mother suffered a broken leg in an accident and he was needed to help his father take care of her at home, the lawyer said.

Mr Panupong was needed to help his mother support other members of the family. The money she earned from selling fruit was not enough, he said.

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