Thailand court denies bail to prominent protest leader Arnon Nampa News
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Thailand court denies bail to prominent protest leader Arnon Nampa

The Court of Appeal in Thailand on Saturday rejected the bail application of Arnon Nampa, a prominent leader of the Thai protest movement, according to a social media announcement from the Thai Lawyers Center for Human Rights (TLHR).

Arnon Nampa was convicted under Thailand’s lèse-majesté law, which imposes strict penalties for defaming or insulting the monarchy. The charges against him stemmed from a speech he delivered during pro-democracy protests in October 2020, where he called for open discussions on the power and political role of the Thai monarchy.

In denying bail, the court cited the serious nature of Arnon’s charges, claiming his actions undermined Thailand’s democratic system by disagreeing with the king’s role atop the political structure. The court also indicated concern Arnon may try to evade the legal process.

Arnon’s defense lawyer, Krisadang Nutcharus, expressed intentions to appeal the decision and pursue the case to the Supreme Court if necessary. However, Arnon will remain in custody during the ongoing legal proceedings, with the bail decision expected to take several days.

The decision regarding Arnon Nampa’s bail has raised concerns about freedom of expression and the protection of human rights in Thailand. The denial of bail to Arnon Nampa is part of a wider pattern of actions taken by Thailand’s conservative royalist establishment to suppress the protest movement’s leaders. According to Thai Lawyers For Human Rights, the use of the lèse-majesté law has been instrumental in criminalizing criticism of the monarchy, with numerous individuals facing charges under this law since the 2020 protests.