News: Chiranuch back in court (updated)

Six weeks after the postponement of her trial for charges under the Computer Crimes Act (more details here), Chiranuch Premchaiporn, the editor of Prachatai, finds herself unexpectedly back in court.

Reporting to police in Khon Kaen earlier this morning, Chrianuch was advised by police that in order to extend her bail she will be required to attend court later today. The court is currently in session in the northeastern province, and is being attended by Chiranuch and her defence team.

On Wednesday evening, Chiranuch received a phone call from police stating that her initial six-month bail period was due to expire. Having yet to finish investigating charges against her, officials sought to extend her bail for an additional period of 84 days.

Chiranuch is required by law to report regularly to police in the province of Khon Kaen. Given that the police station is some 450 kilometers away, it takes almost a day to reach the province from Bangkok.

On Wednesday Chiranuch asked police whether, given the late notice, she could delay travel for a day or two. She was told this it would not be possible. “No, because it has expired,” she noted. “If I didn’t come to Khon Kaen today then my assets would be seized.”

“The intent of the law is to protect the rights of the accused,” she says.

She expects that the police in Khon Kaen will not raise objections to a bail extension. But she suggests that, again, she will be required to report to local police every twelve days. Her lawyers will request that given the distance and inconvenience, she be asked to report to police in Bangkok, rather than in the northeastern province.

UPDATE:

A mildly relieved Chiranuch Premchaiporn of Prachatai heard in court today that a request from authorities to extend her bail conditions has since been dismissed.

Following an unexpected court session this morning, Chiranuch was advised to expect an extension of her bail order on charges under the Computer Crimes Act. Instead, the judge dismissed requests from local police that her bail be extended, relieving her of the requirement to report to police each fortnight in Khon Kaen.

However, the judge noted that the authorities’ case to reinstate bail may be reconsidered should an additional request for bail be submitted to the public prosecutor.

It remains uncertain whether the authorities will resubmit this request, and if so, when this could be expected.

For the meantime, however, Chiranuch seems relieved. “It makes my life easier,” she says.