Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Hunger-striking Thai democracy protest leader granted bail



Hunger-striking Thai democracy protest leader granted bail

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A protester holds up an image of jailed democracy activist Parit "Penguin" Chiwarak outside Bangkok Remand Prison Tuesday. AFP

Hunger-striking Thai democracy protest leader granted bail

A prominent Thai democracy protest leader facing royal defamation charges was granted bail on May 11 amid deteriorating health following a hunger strike that lasted more than 50 days.

Parit Chiwarak, who goes by the nickname "Penguin", had been remanded in custody since March when authorities indicted him under Thailand's strict lese-majeste laws.

Late last month, he was transferred to hospital after losing 12kg.

The university student faces 20 lese-majeste charges for his role in last year's demonstrations against the Thai government, which called for reforms to the country's monarchy.

On May 11 a criminal court granted Parit bail.

"Parit has made a statement with free will that if he gets bail he will not carry out any action to dishonour the monarchy and will not attend any activity causing unrest. He will not leave the country unless the court gives permission," the court said.

Late on May 11 night he left the Klong Prem maximum security prison in an ambulance, accompanied by his mother, and wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with "monarchy reform".

He gave a three-fingered salute – a symbol of resistance – out the window of the vehicle, which was expected to take him to a Bangkok hospital for further medical treatment.

Before his release he was hit with a further arrest warrant for a separate criminal charge, but was granted bail.

Musician Chaiamorn Kaewwiboonpan was also granted bail over two royal defamation charges he faces.

He also gave a three-finger salute as he was driven away from the prison.

A bail hearing on May 11 for a third activist – Panupong "Mike" Jadnok, who is facing eight royal defamation charges – has been postponed because he is at risk of developing a coronavirus infection after coming in close contact with a positive case.

Eighty-six people from the democracy movement have fallen foul of Thailand's royal defamation laws since July last year and are awaiting trial.

Those convicted can be sentenced to up to 15 years in jail per charge.

Student-led protests in Bangkok last year drew tens of thousands of people at their peak but the near daily rallies have petered out as Thailand grapples with a third wave of coronavirus infections and tighter restrictions on public gatherings.

Another student leader, Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul, more commonly known by her nickname Rung, was freed from custody last week.

She faces nine charges of insulting the monarchy.

Another high-profile protest leader, human rights lawyer Anon Numpa, who is facing 12 charges, has been unable to apply for bail while he recovers from a coronavirus infection in hospital.

MOST VIEWED

  • Restrictions re-imposed in capital as Covid cases surge

    Amid the ongoing community outbreak of Covid-19, which has shown no sign of subsiding with 750 infections and 10 deaths reported on June 2 alone, the Phnom Penh Municipal Administration has decided to re-impose the suspension of all occupations and business activities deemed as posing high risk of

  • Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville expressway 51% complete

    The construction of the nearly $2 billion Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville Expressway is 51.35 per cent complete and is expected to be finished in 2023, according to Ministry of Public Works and Transport secretary of state Vasim Sorya. Invested in by Cambodian PPSHV Expressway Co Ltd, the first expressway in

  • First 7-Eleven store to open mid-June, ambassador says

    Thai retail conglomerate CP All Pcl will open Cambodia’s first 7-Eleven convenience store in mid-June, Cambodian ambassador to Thailand Ouk Sorphorn told The Post on June 1. The Bangkok-listed 7-Eleven franchise operator, the retail arm of Charoen Pokphand Group Co Ltd, granted CP All (Cambodia)

  • With herd immunity likely in 2022, is Cambodia ready to reopen for tourism?

    The government aims to inoculate 80 per cent of the target population by June next year, giving it a head start among regional peers to reboot the sector but first, it has to do a few things to up its game A sign on a glass

  • US embassy guard gets Covid despite two doses of Pfizer jab

    The Covid-19 tracking commission on June 4 said a security guard at the US embassy in Phnom Penh had contracted the novel coronavirus, despite having received a second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech shot two weeks ago. Embassy spokesperson Chad Roedemeier confirmed the SARS-CoV-2 infection to The

  • US wants 'full access' to Ream Naval Base

    On June 11, the US embassy's Defense Attaché Colonel Marcus M Ferrara visited Ream Nava Base in coordination with Cambodian officials following the recent approval of Prime minister Hun Sen to allay the concerns on Chinese military presence at the base as raised by US Deputy