Thai court allows activist to self defend against continued detention

21:32, July 01, 2010      

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The Ratchada Criminal Court in capital Bangkok will allow Sombat Boonngamanong, president of the Mirror Foundation, to defend himself on Friday against his continued detention, the Bangkok Post's website reported.

His lawyer Anon Nampa on Thursday requested the Court to allow his client, now in custody at the Border Patrol Police 1st Region Command Office in the central Pathumthani province, to speak before the court against the authorities request for an extension of his detention.

The emergency decree permits authorities to hold suspects for a week, and any extension must be approved by the court with a limit of 30 days. Sombat's detention will expire Saturday.

The state of emergency has been imposed from April 7, 2010, in capital Bangkok and 23 provinces of Thailand's 76 provinces, empowering police and army to control the then anti-government protests.

Sombat, a northernmost Chiang Rai native, was arrested on June 26 while tying a red ribbon at Ratchaprasong area in remembrance of the bloody May crackdown against the anti-government "Red-shirt " demonstrators.

The police had arrested him when he and other dozens of "Red- shirt" sympathizers gathered under the Lad Prao expressway in Bangkok to share information and photos of the government's dispersal of the "Red-shirt" protest that led to several dozen of deaths during the May 13-19 operation.

Though the anti-government protests ended on May 19, the government has still maintained its enforcement of the state of emergency in order to ensure security for the public.

The death toll from a series of violent clashes between the " Red-shirt" protesters and troops during March 12 to May 19 stood at 88 as some 1,885 others were wounded.



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