BANGKOK — The Criminal Court has ordered police to release a prominent academic and anti-government protest leader, hours after he was arrested on insurrection charges.
Professor Sombat Thamrongthanyawong was detained by police this morning in the parking lot of the university where he used to work as a rector, the National Institute of Development Administration (NIDA).
Mr. Sombat is one of 30 activists affiliated with the People's Committee for Absolute Democracy With the King As Head of State (PCAD) who are wanted by police on charges of insurrection, encouraging strikes, disrupting and obstructing the 2 Feb election, and other offences related to their campaign against the government.
The arrest came a day after the Criminal Court approved the arrest warrants en masse.
Speaking to reporters after his arrest, Mr. Sombat said that he had already planned to turn himself in to the police next week. He also insisted that the charges against him are illegitimate because he was merely exercising his constitutional rights with the PCAD movement.
Officers of the Division of Special Investigation (DSI) brought Mr. Sombat to the Criminal Court and sought the court's approval to detain the activist for interrogation.
However, the court ruled against the DSI's request, explaining that there was no need for to detain Mr. Sombat after informing him of the charges laid against him.
The court ordered the police to release Mr. Sombat by the end of the day.
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