Two lèse majesté convicts released
On 24 Aug, Warawut Thanangkorn, aka Suchart Nakbangsai, and Suriyan Kokpuey were released from Bangkok Remand Prison under the 2012 Royal Decree for Royal Pardon on the occasion of HM the Queen’s birthday on 12 Aug.
Warawut, an anti-coup activist, was sentenced to 6 years’ imprisonment, which was reduced by half due to his guilty plea. He was imprisoned for about one year and 10 months.
Suriyan, a shoe repairer, was sentenced to 6 years and one month in prison, and the jail term was also halved due to his guilty plea. He was imprisoned for about one year and 11 months.
Suriyan and his parents
Suriyan’s parents Suwit and Surin arrived at the prison at 6am in anticipation of their son’s release, after having been disappointed the previous day due to a delay caused by bureaucratic paperwork.
Other people who also came to greet the two released prisoners included Warawut’s elder brother, Chairwoman of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship Thida Thawornsate and her husband Weng Tojirakan (a red shirt leader and Pheu Thai MP), Chulalongkorn University lecturer Suda Rangkuphan and some 40 red shirts. Reporters from various news organizations were also present.
The pardoned prisoners were released in groups about 15 minutes apart, about 30 in each group. A total of 304 prisoners were released on that day.
Warawut and Suriyan were released in the second group at about 9.30 am. They came out and were met with the sound of greetings and were given garlands and flowers.
After his release, Warawut waited to visit other political prisoners still imprisoned there and ordered food for them, while Suriyan and his parents went to Lak Si Prison to visit political prisoners there.
Warawut told reporters that he would hold a talk show on 3 Nov to share the experiences of his anti-coup activities, prosecution and life in prison, with tickets priced at 112 and 2,000 baht.
Warawut Thanangkorn at Amphon's funeral on 26 Aug