Court weighs release of hunger-striking student activist leader ‘Rung’

Panusaya ‘Rung’ Sithijirawattanakul. Photo: United Front of Thammasat and Demonstration / Facebook
Panusaya ‘Rung’ Sithijirawattanakul. Photo: United Front of Thammasat and Demonstration / Facebook

After 59 days behind bars, a pro-democracy movement leader may be freed on a bond this afternoon.

Despite initial rumors that Panusaya “Rung” Sithijirawattanakul, who has been held two months on charges of insulting the king and sedition, had already been freed, the Criminal Court this afternoon postponed its ruling until 4pm.

Update: Rung was granted release on a bond late Thursday afternoon.

The 22-year-old student activist had been jailed since March 8 alongside most of the protest movement’s youth leadership. She went on a hunger strike Friday, joining fellow activist leader Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak. 

Rung was virtually unknown just months ago. But as the pro-democracy movement swelled into massive, near-daily rallies consisting of and led by young protesters, she emerged as one of its most recognizable faces. Vaulting her to public attention was a fiery speech she gave Aug. 10 at Thammasat University, where she enrolled. 

She delivered a now-famous 10-point manifesto calling for reforms of monarchy, which turned the fury of the state against her – she’s been charged with numerous serious crimes including sedition – and winning tremendous support in the protest movement.


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