In a post yesterday we updated on the arrest of activists and a Prachatai reporter in Ratchaburi, detained after the police searched a car of the activists and found copies of New Democracy Movement’s booklet which provides information that opposes the junta on the draft constitution.
The four activists and reporter are accused of violating the draconian Referendum Act by spreading false information and vulgar messages about the charter, presumably in the the booklet that seems to bother the royalist, repressive regime.
The accused proclaim their innocence.
Prachatai reports that the activists and reporter have been freed on bail:
The Provincial Court of Ratchaburi Province on Monday afternoon, 11 July 2016, granted to the police custody permission to detain Taweeesak Kerdpoka, Prachatai’s journalist, three anti-junta NDM activists, Pakorn Areekul, Anucha Rungmorakot and Anan Loked and Phanuwat Songsawadchai, a student activist from Mae Cho University of Phrae Province.
However, at around 4:30 pm the court later granted 140,000 baht bail for each of the five.
The Bangkok Post reports that the police declare “they found documents on opposing views on the draft charter in Mr Pakorn’s pickup truck. They subsequently detained them for breaking Section 61 (2) of the 2016 referendum law.”
The Post seems to say that the arrest of Phanuwat Songsawadchai, a Maejo University student on the same charge was illegal:
The police claimed to have entered his house by the authority of the junta’s order No.13/2559 which allows officials to take such action for certain crimes. However, violating the referendum law is not among them.
The Dictator initially cheered the arrests but the rapid spread of photos of the students and reporter incarcerated and the social media storm they created seem to changed the junta’s attitude to continued incarceration.