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Key members detained in Bangkok

A number of Ratsadon protesters have gathered at Pathumwan intersection in Bangkok after the Criminal Court denied bail for four of their key members who faced royal insult charges.

Public prosecutors on Tuesday charged Anon Nampa, Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak, Somyot Prueksakasemsuk and Patiwat “Mor Lam Bank” Saraiyaem with lese majeste (Section 112 of the Criminal Code), sedition (Section 116), violating the Ancient Sites Act and lesser charges for their roles during the rally at Sanam Laung on Sept 19.

Mr Parit also faced another lese majeste charge for his role during the Mob Fest at the Democracy Monument on Nov 14 last year.

The two cases are the first group involving reyal defamation that reached the court since youth-led demonstrations began in April last year.

Their lawyers sought bail for a surety of 200,000 baht each but the court turned down the request, citing the heavy penalties of the offence and their tendency to repeat it. They were taken to Bangkok Remand Prison.

Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) noted pre-trial detention had no time limit. Unless the court changes its mind, they could be detained until the final ruling comes.

After the news spread, key Ratsadon allies such as the Daodin group, posted on Twitter and Facebook urging people to rally for their temporary releases.  

Since Nov 24 last year, when the use of lese majeste charges resumed after a two-year hiatus, 58 people were accused in 44 cases related to political protests that began last year, according to TLHR.

Mr Parit has faced the most lese majeste cases, at 16, while Mr Anon faced nine.

Of the cases, 23 were started by members of the public, three by the Digital Economy and Society Ministry and the rest by police.     

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