UN urges Thailand to drop charges against student activists

The United Nations called on Thai authorities Friday to drop all charges against 11 student activists arrested for violating a ban on political gatherings.

"The right to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression and opinion are fundamental rights and should never be regarded as a serious criminal offence," the UN Office of the High Commission for Human Rights said.

Thailand is currently ruled by a military junta. Gatherings of five people or more in public spaces for political reasons are outlawed.

The 11 activists were stopped en route to a planned protest site in December at a 28-million-dollar park built by the army that is plagued with corruption allegations. Arrest warrants were issued later.

Four of them were arrested Wednesday evening - including one who was snatched from a Bangkok street and bundled into a car.

They appeared in a military court Thursday and were released pending a later hearing.

The junta took power in a May coup after months of political violence.

It has been criticized for suppressing freedom of the press and public criticism, with dissidents facing arrest and military trial.

Last update: Fri, 22/01/2016 - 12:54

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