Judicial harassment of activists and reporter

As part of the process of preparing for the military junta’s “election,” and probably for General Prayuth Chan-ocha’s drive to be unelected and continuing dictator of Thailand, the regime is continuing its crackdown on pro-democracy campaigners and a Prachatai journalist. For the “election,” there can be no democracy and no free media. We reproduce an updated posting from the Asian Human Rights Commission:

ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION – URGENT APPEALS PROGRAMME

Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAU-016-2016

1 September 2016

[RE: AHRC-UAC-089-2016: THAILAND: End judicial harassment of pro-democracy activists and reporter]
—————————— —————————— ———
THAILAND: Ongoing judicial harassment of pro-democracy activists and Prachatai reporter

ISSUES: Administration of justice; arbitrary arrest; freedom of expression; military
—————————— —————————— ———

Dear Friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received updated information regarding four activists and one journalist, indicted over anti-draft constitution leaflets. The Public Prosecutor has asked the Court to revoke the defendants’ right to vote for ten years.

UPDATED INFORMATION: (Based on documentation by Thai Lawyers for Human Rights)

On 29 August 2016, the Ratchaburi Public Prosecutor indicted the five defendants, namely Mr. Pakorn Areekul, Mr. Anucha Rungmorakot, and Mr. Anan Loket (all members of the New Democracy Movement), Mr. Panuwat Songsawatchai (a Mae Jo University student), and Mr. Thaweesak Kerdpokha (a Prachatai reporter), in the Provincial Court of Ratchaburi. They have been indicted for the offences related to the Constitutional Referendum Act B.E. 2559 (2016), Section 61, and the Announcement of Council for Democratic Reform under Constitutional Monarchy (CDRM) no. 25, on the arrangement concerning criminal prosecution.

The indictment states that on 10 July 2016,

“the five defendants had dared to distribute some documents and blue stickers displaying messages of ‘7 August: Let’s Vote No to Reject the Undesirable Future’ which means to say that people should be voting to reject the Draft Constitution made by the Constitutional Drafting Committee (CDC) in the Constitutional Referendum set on 7 August 2016. The distribution of the stickers displaying such messages to general public and their colleagues who were eligible voters was an attempt to transmit texts which are inconsistent with the truth or inciting aimed at preventing a voter from casting a ballot or vote in any direction, and the act was committed with five persons or more, to disrupt the referendum which was an act against the law”.

In addition, the Public Prosecutor has further asked the Court to revoke the right to vote of the defendants for ten years, in accordance with Section 61 of the Constitutional Referendum Act.

All of the defendants applied for bail during trial, which was granted by the Court, using the same sureties placed during the police investigation, for 140,000 baht (approx.4,000 $USD) each. The Court has scheduled a mediation hearing on 21 September 2016 and an arraignment on 17 October 2016.
__________________________

SUGGESTED ACTION:

Please write letters to the authorities below, asking them to immediately end any ongoing judicial harassment of the 4 activists and 1 reporter from Prachatai.

Please note that the Asian Human Rights Commission is writing a separate letter to the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression and seeking his urgent intervention into this matter.

To support this case, please click here:

SAMPLE LETTER:

Dear ___________,

THAILAND: Ongoing judicial harassment of pro-democracy activists and Prachatai reporter

Names of victims:

1. Mr. Pakorn Areekul
2. Mr. Anan Loket
3. Mr. AnuchaRungmorakot
4. Mr. ThaweesakKerdpokha
5. Mr. PanuwatSongsawatchai

Names of alleged perpetrators: Military Officers and Police Officers

Date of incident: 10 July 2016 to the present

Place of incident: Ratchaburi Province, Thailand

I am writing to voice my deep concern regarding the Ratchaburi Public Prosecutor indicting the New Democracy Movement (NDM) activists and a reporter on the offence against the Constitutional Referendum Act B.E. 2559 (2016), as a result of the documents recouped from their vehicle. The judicial action has been taken despite the activists not having distributed any material, much to the puzzlement of the suspects.

On 29 August 2016, the Ratchaburi Public Prosecutor indicted the five defendants, namely Mr. Pakorn Areekul, Mr. Anucha Rungmorakot, and Mr. Anan Loket (all members of the New Democracy Movement), Mr. Panuwat Songsawatchai (a Mae Jo University student), and Mr. Thaweesak Kerdpokha (a Prachatai reporter), in the Provincial Court of Ratchaburi. They have been indicted for the offences related to the Constitutional Referendum Act B.E. 2559 (2016), Section 61, and the Announcement of Council for Democratic Reform under Constitutional Monarchy (CDRM) no. 25, on the arrangement concerning criminal prosecution.

Under Section 61 of the Constitutional Referendum Act B.E. 2559 (2016), they face imprisonment not exceeding ten years and fine not exceeding 200,000 Baht. And, under the Announcement of Council for Democratic Reform under Constitutional Monarchy (CDRM), no. 25, they also face imprisonment not exceeding 6 months and/or fine not exceeding 1,000 Baht, for disobeying the order of the officials by refusing to give their fingerprints. In addition, the Public Prosecutor has further asked the Court to revoke the right to vote of the defendants for ten years, in accordance with Section 61 of the Constitutional Referendum Act B.E. 2559 (2016).

I also wish to point out that the deprivation of liberty, arbitrary arrest, and judicial harassment, arises in this case wherein the five defendants attempted to exercise their right to freedoms of expression and opinion. It means that the government has failed to recognize the rights guaranteed by Article 9 of the ICCPR, ratified by Thailand in 1996.

Therefore, I would like to urge the Thai Government and authorities, including the Attorney General Office, the Judge Advocate General, and the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) to end all acts of judicial harassment against the five victims.

Yours Sincerely,

—————-

PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO:
1. General Prayuth Chan-ocha
Prime Minister
Head of the National Council for Peace and Order
Rachadamnoen Nok Road
Bang Khun Phrom
Bangkok 10200
THAILAND
Tel: +662 283-4194
Fax: +662 288-4235
Email: panadda_d@opm.go.th

2. Pol Gen Chakthip Chaijinda
Commissioner General of the Royal Thai Police
Rama I Rd, Khwaeng Pathum Wan,
Khet Pathum Wan, Bangkok 10330
THAILAND
Tel: +662 2053 406
Fax: +662 2514 739

3. Pol.Sub.Lt. Pongniwat Yuthaphunboripahn
Deputy Attorney General.
The Office of the Attorney General
The Government Complex Commemorating His Majesty the King’s 80th Birthday Anniversary 5th December, B.E.2550 (2007), Building B 120 Moo 3
Chaengwattana Road
Thoongsonghong, Laksi Bangkok 10210
THAILAND
Tel: +662 142 1444
Fax: +662 143 9546
Email: ag@ago.go.th

4. Mr. What Tingsamitr
Chairman of National Human Rights Commission
The Government Complex Commemorating His Majesty the King’s 80th Birthday Anniversary 5th December
B.E.2550 (2007), Building B 120 Moo 3
Chaengwattana Road
Thoongsonghong, Laksi Bangkok 10210
THAILAND
Tel: +662141 3800, +6621413900
E-mail: help@nhrc.or.th

5. Mr. Phattarasak Vannasaeng
Secretary -General of Office of the Judiciary
Criminal Court Building, 12 Floor Ratchadaphisek Road
Chatuchak
Bangkok 10900
THAILAND
Tel:+662 5412307
Fax: 662 5412306
E-mail: phattarasak.v@coj.go.th

Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission (ua@ahrc.asia)

Visit our website with more features at http://www.humanrights.asia.

You can make a difference. Please support our work and make a donation here.

—————————–

Asian Human Rights Commission

G/F, 52 Princess Margaret Road

Ho Man Tin, Kowloon

Hongkong S.A.R.

Tel: +(852) 2698-6339 Fax: +(852) 2698-6367

Web: http://www.humanrights.asia

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: