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Saturday, September 23, 2023

Court Charges Missing Activist’s Family 450,000 Baht in Bail


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BANGKOK — Family of an anti-monarchy activist who’s presumed to have been dead for months said they still have to pay a large sum of bond money to the court.

Although friends and family of Surachai Danwattananusorn believe he was murdered shortly after his abduction nearly a year ago, the court still considers him to be alive and treats his case as jumping bail, according to his wife, Pranee Dawattanasunorn.

Writing in an online post, Pranee said she owed a total of 450,000 baht to the court, and she has been paying a monthly installment of 3,000 baht since February 2018. A deposited amount of 50,000 baht was also seized by the court, said Pranee, who added she can no longer bear the burden of the cost due to her low income as a retiree.

She also asked for donations from friends and supporters of Surachai to pay back the debt.

Under Thai laws, a person can be legally declared as a disappeared individual by the court five years after he or she was last seen.

Surachai was one of the suspects charged with insurrection for an anti-government protest in 2009, when demonstrators broke into a hotel where ASEAN summit was being held.

The activist was also wanted by Thai authorities for alleged insults to the monarchy. He fled to Laos shortly before the coup in 2014 and regularly called for a movement to turn Thailand into a republic from his exile.

He disappeared in December 2018 along with two of his aides – whose mutilated bodies washed up on Mekong River a month later. His family accused the Thai government of engineering their killings, though the authorities denied the charges.


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