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

More from World

Western arms firms keep lead role in global sales

Defence firms in the United States and Western Europe dominated global arms sales in 2015, but sales by companies in...

Trump's talk with Taiwan leader only a "courtesy call," Pence says

US vice president-elect Mike Pence on Sunday brushed off the uproar surrounding Donald Trump's telephone...

Uzbekistan's Mirziyoyev, likely successor of deceased longtime ruler

Shavkat Mirziyoyev, prime minister of the authoritarian, former Soviet republic of Uzbekistan for 13 years and...

30 bodies recovered from wreckage of California warehouse fire

The number of confirmed dead in a California warehouse fire has risen to 30, investigators said after recovering...

US releases another Guantanamo Bay prisoner, leaving 59 at facility

The United States has released a detainee from its prison at Guantanamo Bay, leaving 59 prisoners at the Cuban...