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Appeals Court orders new hearing on activist’s illegal detention case

May 12. 2016
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By THE NATION

THE COURT of Appeals yesterday overturned a lower court decision and accepted a lawsuit filed by a leading anti-coup activist who accused the military of illegally detaining a fellow activist.
Sirawith Seritiwat, or “Ja New”, asked the court to quash charges against 25-year-old activist Thanet Anantawong.
Thanet has been charged with violating Article 116 of the Criminal Court for allegedly inciting disturbances and for violating Article 14 of the Computer Crime Act. He was accused of sharing false information about the construction of Rajabhakti Park in Prachuap Khiri Khan in December.
The Criminal Court on December 15 rejected the suit filed by Sirawith on the grounds it lacked evidence and included conflicting statements. 
Then on December 17, the Criminal Court rejected Sirawith’s second suit on the grounds that the detention of Thanet was legal since he had committed offences related to institutions and national security. 
The Military Court had the authority under the National Council for Peace and Order to detain him for not more than seven days, the court ruled.
After the ruling, Sirawith appealed the Criminal Court’s December 17 decision, but the Court of Appeals upheld that ruling, citing that Sirawith’s suit was a repetition of the earlier suit.
However, yesterday the Court of Appeals ruled that the Criminal Court must rehear the original case and issue a new order.
Thanet’s lawyer, Pawinee Chumsri, said the Criminal Court had not yet set a date for the new hearing. She has been unable to contact Thanet.
A source said Thanet was released on bail of Bt100,000 following a Military Court ruling on December 18 on the condition he refrain from engaging in political activities and inciting disturbances. He must report to the court every 12 days.
Thanet is featured in a YouTube video called “Thai’s Voice” that states he left the country to seek political asylum.

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