Since pro-democracy protests began in 2019, the current administration have arrested and detained hundreds of youth-led activists on a variety of charges including lese majeste and sedition.
According to the Thai Lawyers for Human Rights’ latest report for April, at least 1,808 people in 1,065 cases have been prosecuted due to political assemblies and expression between July 2020 and April 2022.
Of those, 280 were minors under the age of 18.
The majority of the defendants were charged with the alleged violation of the state of emergency decree (1,451 people in 630 cases), the lese-majeste act (190 people in 204 cases), violation of the Computer Crimes Act (129 people in 148 cases), sedition (125 people in 39 cases), and violation of the Public Assembly Act (107 people in 75 cases).
Although most protest leaders that have been detained were released on bail at least 10 protesters and activists are still imprisoned.
Eight are being detained on pretrial detention and two were sentenced to jail and are in the appeals process.
Here is the list of the detainees and their charges.
- Weha Sanchonchanasuk – 78 days in pretrial detention – He was arrested on March 10 for lese-majeste and the alleged violation of the Computer Crime Act. It was his second royal defamation charge. In the latest case, the police said he shared a post about the government’s procurement of Covid-19 vaccines and a message about his previous lese-majeste charge which were both deemed to have insulted the royal institution.
- Kataporn and Kongphet – 47 days in pretrial detention – The two are members of a vocational-student-led protest group who were arrested while they were making their way to a protest site on April 10. The police said they were arrested for carrying knives and small homemade explosive devices and charged accordingly.
- Patima – 47 days in pretrial detention – She was arrested on April 11. The police said she and her boyfriend, a rapper name Book Eleven Finger, threw an explosive device in front of the 1st Infantry Regiment’s camp.
- Pornpoj Chaengkrachang – 46 days in pretrial detention – He turned himself in to the police on April 11 and was detained the next day. The police said he was involved in an incident where a group of people threw a small homemade explosive device (ping pong bomb) in front of the 1st Infantry Regiment’s camp after a protest on April 10.
- Sophon “Get” Suraritthamrong – 26 days in pretrial detention – The youth activist was arrested on May 1 while traveling to join a May Day protest. He was charged with lese-majeste. The police said he insulted and threatened the royal family while making his political speech. He is now on his 23rd day of hunger strike in protest of political prisoners’ right to bail.
- Bai-Por and Pak-Bung – 25 days in pretrial detention – The Bangkok Shouthern Criminal Court revoked the bail for the two youth activists who were charged with lese-majeste on May 3. The police said they insulted the royal intuition by conducting street polls about the institution. The court said the bail was revoked because they have continued to conduct street polls while on bail which was against their bail condition. The court said they denied the new round of bail requests because they will disrupt peace within the society. Bai-Por is 20-year old.
- Ekkachai Hongkangwan – The activist was sentenced to one year in jail on April 19 for posting about his sex life in prison. This was the fourth time he was imprisoned in his life and he is still facing other political-related charges including life in prison for allegedly threatening the Queen’s liberty by standing near a royal motorcade in October 2020.
- Sombat Thongyoi – The former head of volunteer guard groups during the Red Shirts protests in 2010 and the latest pro-democracy movement was sentenced to six years in jail after his social media posts were deemed to have defamed the royal family. The Criminal Court said Sombat posted three social media posts between October and November 2020, including one with the phrases “very brave”, “very good” and “thank you” that was posted along with a news article about university students who refused to accept their diploma from members of the royal family. The court said the ceremony is sacred so for Sombat to make fun of it by using the phrases was equal to royal defamation.