Home > News > Regional
Wednesday July 2, 2014 MYT 5:29:00 PM
Wednesday July 2, 2014 MYT 6:11:10 PM
This file picture taken on June 12, 2014 shows Thai anti-coup activist Sombat Boonngamanong (centre) joining his hands as he arrives escorted by police and soldiers at a military court in Bangkok. -AFP
BANGKOK: A prominent Thai activist who led an anti-coup campaign using the three-finger salute from the "Hunger Games" films has been freed on bail after nearly a month in detention, officials said Wednesday.
Sombat Boonngamanong faces up to 14 years in jail on charges of incitement, computer crimes and ignoring a summons to turn himself in to the junta.
Following his release Tuesday he was taken to another court in the northeastern province of Roi Et to hear a separate charge of insulting the monarchy, which carries a punishment of up to 15 years in prison.
That case, filed by a member of the public, relates to a photo that Sombat allegedly posted online, said Roi Et chief investigator Lieutenant Colonel Suriya Saengonta.
"He denied the charge and said he did not intend to insult the monarchy," Suriya said.
Sombat was one of several hundred politicians, activists, academics and journalists called in by the junta following the May 22 coup.
Sombat, the leader of a faction of the "Red Shirts" movement that broadly supports fugitive former premier Thaksin Shinawatra, refused to turn himself in, posting a message on Facebook saying: "Catch me if you can".
While on the run he urged followers to stage peaceful public demonstrations, flashing the three-finger salute from "The Hunger Games" films that became a symbol of defiance against the junta.
He was later tracked down and arrested.
Sombat said Wednesday that he was not mistreated while being questioned in military detention.
"They were very gentle. There was no intimidation, no physical contact at all," he told AFP.
He said the legal cases against him were expected to proceed, and insisted he was innocent of insulting the monarchy.
Sombat said his bail conditions restrict him from further political involvement.
"I have to stay still unlike in the past when I was involved in a lot of activities," he said.
The military banned public protests and temporarily imposed a night-time curfew after the coup, which followed months of mass opposition protests and political violence.
Critics see the coup as a pretext for a long-planned power grab by the military-backed royalist establishment to purge politics of the influence of Thaksin, who was himself ousted by the army in 2006.
The billionaire tycoon-turned-populist politician lives in Dubai to avoid jail for a corruption conviction. -AFP
Tags / Keywords:
Regional, Thai activist, three finger salute, Hunger Games, Sombat Boonngamanong
Movie attractions coming to Dubai
#5QuestionsWith Lenny Kravitz: Faith in God, life and people
Read them first: Dystopian teen fiction to feed your fandom
‘Hunger Games’ chosen as school text
Most hyped movies of the second half of 2015
Asean, China discuss ‘hotline’ for sea dispute
Australian museum to display‘world’s finest opal’
Myanmar rescuers race to flood zones, 46 dead
Opening the hearts and minds of youths
Aussie Speaker resigns
How to manage your project cashflow
Gomez wins in Rio amid concern over roads
Hooked on Asia’s tantalising flavours
Exploring our roots via various lenses
Copyright © 1995-2015 Star Media Group Berhad (ROC 10894D)(Formerly known as Star Publications (Malaysia) Berhad)