Detained Thai monarchy reform activist gets bail

Bangkok, May 26 (EFE).- A Thailand court Thursday granted bail to a pro-democracy activist detained for insulting the monarchy.

Tantawan “Tawan” Tuatulanon who has been on a hunger strike since Apr.20 in protest against the denial of bail several times for being accused of lese majesty crimes.

The NGO Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) that defended her tweeted that the 20-year-old activist has been ordered to wear a monitoring device and not leave her residence without court permission.

The young woman, who is in a precarious state of health due to her hunger strike, must also avoid any critical comments against the monarchy.

Tantawan, affiliated with the pro-democracy Draconis Revolution group, has advocated reforming the monarchy and abolishing Thailand’s draconian lese majeste (insulting the monarchy) law.

She was arrested after carrying out a street survey last February about the traffic restrictions due to royal processions and criticizing the monarchy in a video on Facebook.

The Bangkok Criminal Court has repeatedly extended her pre-trial detention.

Another activist charged with lèse-majesté, Sophon “Get” Surariddhidhamrong, 23, continues on a hunger strike for the last 21 days in protest against the courts not granting him bail.

Sophon, arrested earlier this month for a critical speech against the monarchical institution on Apr.22, told the THLR that he was not in good mental condition and had asked to see a psychiatrist.

The lèse majesty law, criticized by the United Nations for being excessively harsh, prescribes three to 15 years in prison for defaming, insulting, or threatening the king, queen, or crown prince.

After almost a three-year hiatus in which lese majeste cases were not brought before the courts, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha, in November 2020, ordered the authorities to restore prosecutions under the law due to growing criticisms of the monarchy.

Since then, officials have charged more than 200 people with lese majeste crimes concerning various activities at pro-democracy rallies or comments on social media, Human Rights Watch has said.

“Holding those charged with lese majeste in pretrial detention violates their rights under international human rights law,” the global rights watchdog said. EFE


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