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Thailand: Draft Media Law Threatens News Reporting 2 Years in Prison for Reporting Without License

https://www.hrw.org/…/thailand-draft-media-law-threatens-ne…

For Immediate Release

Thailand: Draft Media Law Threatens News Reporting
2 Years in Prison for Reporting Without License

(New York, April 29, 2017) – The Thai government should immediately withdraw the latest draft law that seeks to tighten control of news reporting in Thailand, Human Rights Watch said today. The Media Reform Committee at the National Reform Steering Assembly (NRSA), whose members are appointed by the military junta, announced that the National Assembly will consider the bill on May 1, 2017.

The Bill on the Protection and Promotion of Media Rights, Freedom, Ethics and Professional Standards provides for a government-appointed national media council to regulate all media platforms – print, broadcast, or online. It also subjects anyone who directly or indirectly earns income from reporting news to the public without a license – and their company, agency, or organization – to up to two years in prison and a 60,000 baht (US$1,715) fine.

“The misnamed media rights and freedom law is the junta’s latest attempt to increase government interference and control of any independent news reporting,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “Passage of this draft law would mean that reporters in Thailand will be constantly looking over their shoulder at a government-appointed panel that can have them jailed.” Continue reading

จดหมายจากภาคีไทยเพื่อสิทธิมนุษยชน ถึงประยุทธ์ จันทร์โอชา เรียกร้องให้คืนสิทธิประกันตัวให้กับไผ่ ดาวดิน และนักโทษการเมืองทั้งหมด

จดหมายจากภาคีไทยเพื่อสิทธิมนุษยชน ถึงประยุทธ์ จันทร์โอชา เรียกร้องให้คืนสิทธิประกันตัวให้กับไผ่ ดาวดิน และนักโทษการเมืองทั้งหมด
ภาคีไทยเพื่อสิทธิมนุษยชน
Thai Alliance for Human Rights (TAHR)
________________________________________________
๒๓ มกราคม ๒๕๖๐
 
เรื่อง เรียกร้องสิทธิประกันตัวแก่ไผ่ ดาวดิน และนักโทษการเมือง
 
เรียน พลเอกประยุทธ์ จันทร์โอชา ผู้นำรัฐบาลเผด็จการทหาร แห่ง
ประเทศไทย
 
นับตั้งแต่ท่านได้เข้ามาบริหารประเทศได้เกือบ ๓ ปี ท่านได้สัญญากับประชาชนว่า ท่านจะคืนความสุขให้แก่ประชาชนและมุ่งสร้างความปรองดองให้คนทั้งชาติ ตลอดระยะเวลาที่ท่านเข้ามาบริหารประเทศนั้น ประชาชนส่วนใหญ่มีความรู้สึกว่า สิ่งที่ท่านได้ให้สัญญานั้น มันเป็นแค่ความฝันทั้งสิ้น ท่านมิได้แม้แต่เปิดโอกาสให้ประชาชนได้แสดงออกทางความคิด แม้กระทั่งกิจกรรมต่าง ๆ ซึ่งถือว่าเป็นสิทธิมนุษยชนพื้นฐาน ท่านได้สร้างเงื่อนไข สร้างกฎระเบียบหลาย ๆ ด้าน เพื่อปิดกั้นประชาชนไม่ให้มีโอกาสแสดงความคิดต่างๆห้ามมิให้ชูสามนิ้ว ห้ามชุมนุมเกิน ๕ คน ห้ามกินแซนด์วิชเป็นกลุ่ม ห้ามถาม ห้ามวิจารณ์ และห้ามต่างๆนานา ซึ่งข้อห้ามเหล่านี้ เป็นการละเมิดสิทธิของประชาชนไทย ซึ่งเป็นความชอบธรรมที่พวกเขาสมควรจะได้รับ แต่ท่านกลับเห็นว่าสิ่งเหล่านี้เป็นภัยร้ายแรงต่อความมั่นคงของชาติ
ในกรณีของไผ่ ดาวดิน เขาก็เป็นประชาชนคนหนึ่ง เป็นนักศึกษาธรรมดาคนหนึ่ง เขามีสิทธิที่จะแสดงความคิดเห็นในฐานะประชาชนที่มีความเชื่อมั่นในระบอบประชาธิปไตย และไผ่ ดาวดินก็มีแค่มึอเปล่า และความที่รักประชาธิปไตย เขาไม่ใช่ผู้ร้ายเดนตายมาแต่ไหน เขาแค่เป็นนักศึกษาที่ใกล้สำเร็จการศึกษา ไผ่ไม่มีความผิดอะไรและไม่มีเหตุผลใด ๆ ที่จะต้องถูกจองจำในเรือนจำ ไม่มีค่ากล่าวอ้างใด ๆ ที่จะอธิบายเหตุผลว่าไผ่จะต้องหมดอิสรภาพและสมควรต้องเข้าไปอยู่ในเรือนจำ ที่สำคัญที่สุด ไผ่ ดาวดินจำเป็นต้องสอบวิชาสุดท้ายเพื่อจะจบการศึกษาในปีการศึกษานี้ การจองจำไผ่ในเรือนจำโดยไร้เเหตุอันสมควรจนเขาไม่สามารถกลับไปสอบได้นั้น ถือเป็นความโหดร้ายเกินไปสำหรับเยาวชนซึ่งจะเป็นกำลังสำคัญของชาติในอนาคต ต้องหมดโอกาสด้วยเหตุเพียงแค่ว่า ไผ่มีแนวความคิดเห็นตรงกันข้ามกับท่านประยุทธ์และคณะ เปรียบเสมือนว่าผู้ใหญ่รังแกเด็กและจงใจทำลายอนาคตเยาวชนไทยคนหนึ่ง
เจตน์จำนงของท่านที่ได้ยึดอำนาจของปวงชนชาวไทยนั้น ท่านอ้างว่าเพื่อต้องการแก้ไขปัญหาของประเทศชาติ มุ่งสร้างความปรองดอง และคืนความสุขให้ประชาชน แต่ทุกสิ่งที่ท่านได้ทำ มันตรงกันข้ามกับที่ท่านได้สัญญาไว้ทั้งหมด อันที่จริง ไผ่ ดาวดินเป็นเยาวชนตัวอย่างคนหนึ่ง ซึ่งเป็นความหวังและแรงสำคัญที่จะช่วยพัฒนาประเทศชาติในอนาคตข้างหน้าได้ ดังนั้น หากท่านมีเจตนารมณ์ที่จะทำเพื่อประเทศชาติและประชาชนจริงตามที่ท่านอ้าง เราจึงใคร่ขอความเป็นธรรมจากท่าน จงปล่อยให้ไผ่ ดาวดิน รวมถึงนักโทษการเมืองทั้งหมดได้รับอิสรภาพกลับคืน เพื่อที่เขาจะได้กลับไปสอบวิชาสุดท้ายและกลับคืนสู่ครอบครัวของเขา
 
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ภาคีไทยเพื่อสิทธิมนุษยชน

TAHR Statement on the Passing of King Bhumibol: October 13, 2016

Official Statement by TAHR on the Passing of King Bhumibol
October 13, 2016

The Thai Alliance for Human Rights, a non-profit and no-partisan organization based in the United States, would like to extend our sympathies to the people of Thailand on the momentous occasion of the passing of King Bhumibol Adulyadej. May he rest in peace after having served 70 years as Thailand’s longest reigning monarch.

King Bhumibol played the role that unexpectedly fell to him with considerable skill and demonstrated love for his subjects. As the wealthiest monarch in the world, he was often looked up to as a god and as a savior, but he admittedly expressed that he was a human who could make mistakes, as he remarked in his 2005 birthday speech, in which he invited the people to criticize him and to point out mistakes recognizing his humanity.

In his lifetime, King Bhumibol was revered and recognized as a great king and the father of the nation. It is a pity, however, that the biggest blot on this King’s record will be the lese majesty law enforced on his behalf that results in between 50 and 100 people imprisoned in any given recent year just for publicizing information or expressing an opinion. It is hard for the world to look past such a fact to see anything else that he ever accomplished. As of today, the brutal lese majesty law is mentioned in the second sentence of Bhumbol’s English-language Wikipedia entry. Therefore, while the world extends its sympathies to Thailand, we call on the Regent or next Monarch to right these wrongs by releasing or requesting the immediate release of all the lese majesty prisoners and compensating them from royal funds, a gesture fitting with our best memories, or legacy, of King Bhumibol.

The members of the Thai Alliance for Human Rights offer their sympathies and moral support to all Thais at this difficult time. May the people of Thailand find a way forward that is peaceful, just, and inclusive, respecting the universal human rights of all Thai citizens.

แถลงการณ์ภาคีไทยเพื่อสิทธิมนุษยชน ในโอกาสการสวรรคตของกษัตริย์ภูมิพล

ณ วันที่ 13 ตุลาคม 2559

ภาคีไทยเพื่อสิทธิมนุษยชน ซึ่งเป็นองค์กรไม่แสวงกำไรและไม่ฝักใฝ่เลือกข้างทางการเมือง ที่ตั้งอยู่ในประเทศสหรัฐอเมริกา ขอส่งความเห็นใจของพวกเราไปยังคนไทยในโอกาสสำคัญคือการสวรรคตของกษัตริย์ภูมิพลอดุลยเดช ขอดวงพระวิญญาณของพระองค์จงสถิตย์ในแดนสงบ หลังจากที่ได้ดำรงพระราชฐานะของกษัตริย์ที่ทรงครองราชย์ยาวนานที่สุดของประเทศไทย ถึง ๗๐ ปี

กษัตริย์ภูมิพลทรงแสดงบทบาทที่ตกมาถึงพระองค์อย่างคาดไม่ถึง ด้วยทักษะที่เด่นชัดและความรักต่อปวงพสกนิกรที่ปรากฎแก่สายตาชนทั่วไป ในฐานะกษัตริย์ที่รำ่รวยที่สุดในโลก พระองค์ถูกมองว่าเป็นเสมือนเทพยดาและผู้กอบกู้ แต่พระองค์ก็ได้ทรงแสดงออกถึงการยอมรับว่า พระองค์เป็นมนุษย์คนหนึ่ง ที่ทำผิดพลาดได้ ดังที่พระองค์ได้ตรัสไว้ในโอกาสวันเกิดเมื่อปี ๒๕๔๘ ซึ่งพระองค์ได้เชิญให้ผู้คนวิจารณ์พระองค์และชี้ข้อบกพร่องของพระองค์โดยมองพระองค์เป็นมนุษย์ธรรมดาคนหนึ่ง

ในตลอดช่วงชีวิตของท่าน กษัตริย์ภูมิพลได้รับการเทิดทูนบูชาและได้รับการยกย่องให้เป็นมหาราชาและเป็นบิดาแห่งชาติ แต่อย่างไรก็ตาม เป็นที่น่าเสียดาย ที่รอยด่างพร้อยที่ใหญ่ที่สุดในประวัติของกษัตริย์พระองค์นี้ คือ กฎหมายหมิ่นพระบรมเดชานุภาพ ซึ่งถูกบังคับใช้ในนามของพระองค์ แล้วได้นำไปสู่การจับกุมคุมขังของคนระหว่าง ๕๐ ถึง ๑๐๐ ต่อปีในช่วงปีหลัง ๆ นี้ แค่เพียงเพราะการเผยแพร่ข่าวสารหรือการแสดงความเห็น ดังนั้น มันเป็นการยากที่ชาวโลกจะมองข้ามข้อเท็จจริงอันนี้แล้วเห็นสิ่งอื่นใดที่พระองค์ได้เคยทำสำเร็จไว้ ถึงวันนี้ กฎหมายอันโหดร้ายนี้ ถูกกล่าวถึงเป็นประโยคที่สองในบันทึกประวัติของกษัตริย์ภูมิพลในภาคภาษาอังกฤษของวิกิพีเดีย ด้วยเหตุนี้ ขณะที่ชาวโลกต่างส่งความเห็นใจไปยังประเทศไทย เราขอเรียกร้องให้ผู้สำเร็จราชการหรือกษัตริย์องค์ใหม่ได้แก้ไขสิ่งผิดนี้เสีย โดยการปล่อยหรือขอให้มีการปล่อยตัวนักโทษที่เกี่ยวด้วยกรณีหมิ่นฯ เสียทันที และชดเชยให้กับพวกเขาด้วยทรัพย์สินของพระมหากษัตริย์เอง ซึ่งจะเป็นการส่งทีท่าที่เหมาะสมกับภาพความทรงจำ หรือมรดกที่ดีที่สุดของกษัตริย์ภูมิพล

เหล่าสมาชิกของภาคีไทยเพื่อสิทธิมนุษยชนขอส่งความเห็นใจและกำลังใจให้คนไทยทุกท่านในห้วงเวลาอันยุ่งยากนี้ ขอให้ชาวไทยจงพบกับทางไปข้างหน้าที่สันติ เป็นธรรม และสมานใจสามัคคี โดยเคารพหลักสิทธิมนุษยชนสากลของคนไทยทั้งมวล

Thailand: Junta Bans Referendum Monitoring Generals Gag Criticism of Draft Constitution

https://www.hrw.org/news/2016/06/21/thailand-junta-bans-referendum-monitoring

For Immediate Release:

Thailand: Junta Bans Referendum Monitoring

Generals Gag Criticism of Draft Constitution

(New York, June 21, 2016) – Thailand’s junta has forcibly blocked opposition efforts to monitor the nationwide referendum on a new constitution scheduled for August 7, 2016, Human Rights Watch said today. Prime Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-ocha, who chairs the ruling National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), indicated that anyone monitoring support for the referendum would be subject to arrest and trial before a military court.

Thailand’s junta should immediately revoke its arbitrary restrictions on free expression, permit open discussion of the draft constitution, and ensure a fair referendum, Human Rights Watch said.

“The Thai junta is using threats and intimidation to bludgeon people into supporting a constitution that would prolong military rule,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “The generals expect the Thai people to just shut up, obey their orders, and approve their draft constitution without any discussion or debate.”

The government reacted strongly to a plan by the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), known as the “Red Shirts,” to set up referendum monitoring centers throughout the country. On June 18, General Prayut told the media: “I insist that those [referendum monitoring] centers can’t be opened. If they open, the authorities will arrest them [UDD members]. Gatherings of more than five persons are not allowed… Violation of the NCPO’s order will not be tolerated.”

The next day, police stormed the UDD headquarters in Bangkok and forced the cancellation of a ceremony to open the nationwide monitoring campaign, claiming that the event violated the junta’s ban on political gatherings. Elsewhere across Thailand, police and soldiers shut down the UDD’s referendum monitoring centers. Military officers summoned some local UDD leaders and ordered them not to engage in referendum monitoring activities or face charges before military courts.

International human rights law protects the rights of Thai people to express publicly their views on the draft constitution and to vote freely, Human Rights Watch said. But the conditions for the upcoming referendum hinder fair public discussion. For many Thais the only source of information about the draft constitution comes from the junta-appointed Constitution Drafting Commission, the military, the Election Commission, and other government agencies – all of which have taken the position that the proposed constitution would benefit the Thai people. At the same time, the junta has refused to allow most seminars, conferences, and other public events that would encourage meaningful public discussion and debate about the draft constitution.

The NCPO has also actively suppressed the views of those who are openly critical of the draft constitution, Human Rights Watch said. On April 19, General Prayut said that opponents of the draft constitution “have no rights to say that they disagree… I don’t allow anyone to debate or hold a press conference about the draft constitution. Yet they still disobey my orders. They will be arrested and jailed for 10 years. No one will be exempted when the Referendum Act becomes effective. Not even the media.”

On April 18, the authorities arrested Watana Muangsook, a prominent Pheu Thai party member and former government minister, for posting commentary on his Facebook page that he would reject the draft constitution. The election commissioner of Thailand, Somchai Srisuthiyakorn, said on June 9 that more than 20 anti-junta activists performing in a music video urging voters to reject the draft constitution might be arrested. On June 18, General Prayut told the media that he had ordered the authorities to consider taking legal action against anyone who wears T-shirts or posts Facebook messages saying that they reject the constitution.

The junta’s intolerance for opposition to the draft constitution raises concerns of heightened repression prior to the referendum, Human Rights Watch said. Since the military coup in May 2014, the junta has broadly and arbitrarily interpreted peaceful criticism and dissenting opinion to be “false information” and a threat to national security.

Article 61 of the 2016 Referendum Act, which governs the referendum process, criminalizes “anyone who disseminates text, pictures or sounds that are inconsistent with the truth or in a violent, aggressive, rude, inciting or threatening manner aimed at preventing a voter from casting a ballot or vote in any direction or to not vote.” Violators face imprisonment up to 10 years, fines up to 200,000 baht (US$5,600), and loss of voting rights for 10 years. On June 6, the Office of the Ombudsmen filed a case with the Constitutional Court to rule on whether this article violates the right to freedom of expression endorsed in the 2014 interim constitution. A decision is expected by mid-July.

“The UN and Thailand’s friends around the world should publicly make clear to Bangkok that they will only recognize a referendum that meets international standards,” Adams said. “A free and fair referendum affecting Thailand’s future can’t be held when the rights of people to speak and exchange their views is suppressed.”

For more Human Rights Watch reporting on Thailand, please visit:

www.hrw.org/asia/thailand

For more information, please contact:

In Bangkok, Sunai Phasuk (English and Thai): +66-81-632-3052 (mobile); or phasuks@hrw.org. Twitter: @SunaiBKK

In San Francisco, Brad Adams (English): +1-347-463-3531 (mobile); or adamsb@hrw.org. Twitter: @BradAdamsHRW

In Washington, DC, John Sifton (English): +1-646-479-2499 (mobile); or siftonj@hrw.org. Twitter: @johnsifton

 

นักกฎหมายอิสระ: สถานการณ์สิทธิมนุษยชนในประเทศไทย ยังน่าห่วง

นักกฎหมายอิสระ:  สถานการณ์สิทธิมนุษยชนในประเทศไทย ยังน่าห่วง

Thailand: Drop Case Against Rights Defenders Military Criminal Complaint in Retaliation for Torture Report

https://www.hrw.org/news/2016/06/09/thailand-drop-case-against-rights-defenders

For Immediate Release:

Thailand: Drop Case Against Rights Defenders
Military Criminal Complaint in Retaliation for Torture Report

(New York, June 9, 2016) – The Thai military should immediately withdraw its criminal complaints against three human rights defenders for reporting alleged torture by government security forces in southern Thailand, Human Rights Watch said today.

The military’s actions pose a serious threat to all human rights monitoring and reporting in Thailand at a time when rights abuses are widespread in the country, Human Rights Watch said.

“The Thai military is targeting human rights activists for reporting grave abuses and standing up for victims,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “The government should order these criminal complaints withdrawn and do what it should have done in the first place: seriously investigate the report’s allegations of torture.”

It was recently reported that on May 17, 2016, the military’s Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC) Region 4 – which covers national security operations in the provinces along the southern border – filed a criminal complaint in Yala against prominent human rights activists Somchai Homlaor, Pornpen Khongkachonkie, and Anchana Heemmina. The complaint accuses the three of criminal defamation under the Penal Code and publicizing false information online under the Computer Crimes Act.

The complaint makes reference to the February report by the Cross Cultural Foundation, Duay Jai Group, and the Patani Human Rights Network that documents 54 cases in which Thai security personnel allegedly tortured and otherwise ill-treated ethnic Malay Muslim insurgent suspects between 2004 and 2015. If charged and convicted, the activists face up to five years in prison or a 100,000 baht (US$2,850) fine.

Thai authorities have an obligation to ensure that all people and organizations engaged in the protection and promotion of human rights are able to work in a safe and enabling environment, Human Rights Watch said. The right to file complaints about torture and mistreatment and to have the complaint promptly and impartially investigated is ensured under international treaties to which Thailand is party, including the Convention against Torture and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. In addition, the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders affirms the prohibition against retaliation, threats, and harassment of anyone who takes peaceful action against human rights violations, both within and beyond the exercise of their professional duties.

The Thai military has a longstanding practice of dismissing allegations of torture and other serious abuses committed by security personnel in the southern border provinces, Human Rights Watch said. Thai authorities have also frequently retaliated against reporting of alleged rights abuses by filing lawsuits accusing critics of making false statements with the intent of damaging their reputation.

The military’s attempted use of a criminal complaint to retaliate against human rights defenders is contrary to Prime Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-ocha’s recent promise to criminalize torture and fulfill Thailand’s international obligations against the practice, Human Rights Watch said.

Torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment are prohibited under international treaties and customary international law. The Convention against Torture, which Thailand ratified in 2007, obligates governments to investigate and prosecute acts of torture and other ill-treatment committed by government officials. However, the Thai government has yet to prosecute successfully any security personnel for abuses against ethnic Malay Muslims alleged to be involved in the insurgency.

In June 2014, the UN Committee Against Torture recommended Thailand “should take all the necessary measures to: (a) put an immediate halt to harassment and attacks against human rights defenders, journalists, and community leaders; and (b) systematically investigate all reported instances of intimidation, harassment and attacks with a view to prosecuting and punishing perpetrators, and guarantee effective remedies to victims and their families.”

Separatist insurgents in southern Thailand called the Patani Freedom Fighters (Pejuang Kemerdekaan Patani,) part of the loose network of BRN-Coordinate (Barisan Revolusi Nasional, or National Revolution Front-Coordinate), continue to maintain a presence in hundreds of villages despite significant setbacks in recent years. The insurgents use state-sponsored abuses and heavy-handed counterinsurgency tactics to recruit new members and justify their campaign of violence and terror, which has claimed more than 6,000 lives since fighting erupted in January 2004.

“Atrocities by separatist insurgents provide no justification for abuses by Thai security forces,” Adams said. “Covering up torture and other crimes by targeting human rights activists only undermines efforts to improve the security situation in the deep south.”

For more Human Rights Watch reporting on Thailand, please visit:
http://www.hrw.org/thailand

For more information, please contact:
In Bangkok, Sunai Phasuk (English and Thai): +66-81-632-3052 (mobile); orphasuks@hrw.org. Twitter: @SunaiBKK
In San Francisco, Brad Adams (English): +1-347-463-3531 (mobile); or adamsb@hrw.org.Twitter @BradAdamsHRW
In Washington, DC, John Sifton (English): +1-646-479-2499 (mobile); or siftonj@hrw.org. Twitter @johnsifton

THAILAND: Supreme Administrative Court finds military official guilty of torture and orders compensation

FORWARDED PRESS RELEASE

AHRC-FPR-018-2016

A Press Release from Cross Cultural Foundation (CrCF) forwarded by the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)

THAILAND: Supreme Administrative Court finds military official guilty of torture and orders compensation

(Songkla) May 18, 2016 marks an important date in the fight against torture in Thailand. The Supreme Administrative Court of Songkla read the official verdict ordering The Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC) to pay 101,200 baht to Plaintiff no. 1 and 100,000 baht to Plaintiff no. 2 (with 7.5 % interest calculated from 2012) in damages for two victims who suffered torture/ill treatment in Yala Province. This will result in both Plaintiffs receiving approximately $5000 USD each. The verdict stems from an incident that took place over 7 years ago in 2009, when the injured parties were then 14 and 20 years old respectively. The case sets an important precedent, extending the right to claim for damages beyond the torture victims themselves to the family members who were also unduly affected as a result of the abuse.

Mr. Adil Samae, then 14 years old, and Mr. Mafoawsee Kwangboo, then 20 years old, were detained by a military patrol force on 11 April 2009. The arrest took place around Pattani River, Tambon Sateng, Yala district in the Yala province. During detention, the soldiers physically and verbally abused the young men.

A civil case was subsequently filed with Songkhla Administrative Court, demanding that the Defense Ministry, the Army, and Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC) compensate the men for the harm suffered by the soldiers in their line of duty.

Prior to the commencement of the civil case, one of the accused officers pleaded guilty and was indicted on criminal charges by the Pattani Military Court for the physical assault that he launched against the two men. In light of his guilty plea, what would have otherwise been a two-year sentence was reduced by more than half to a six-month imprisonment and a 2,000 baht fine. This sentence was later suspended due to the actions of the first offender.

For more information, please contact;

Mr. Preeda Nakpew, attorney of the Cross Cultural Foundation (CrCF), Tel: +668 9622 2474

# # #

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) works towards the radical rethinking and fundamental redesigning of justice institutions in order to protect and promote human rights in Asia. Established in 1984, the Hong Kong based organisation is a Laureate of the Right Livelihood Award, 2014.

Read this Forwarded Press Release online

 

Visit our website with more features at www.humanrights.asia.

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

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Asian Human Rights Commission

G/F

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Ho Man Tin, Kowloon

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

Web: www.humanrights.asia

twitter/youtube/facebook: humanrightsasia

THAILAND: Stop judicial harassment of Sirikan Charoensiri

19 May 2016

———————————————————————

THAILAND: Stop judicial harassment of Sirikan Charoensiri

ISSUES: Human Rights Defenders; Rule of Law; Fair Trial

———————————————————————

Dear Friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received updated information that Ms. Sirikan Charoensiri, a lawyer at Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR), reported herself to the public prosecutor on 12 May 2016, relating to the case in which she was charged for providing legal assistance to 14 pro-democracy activists. Ms. Sirikan’s case has created a perception that lawyers providing legal representation in so called ‘political’ cases may face harassment from police and other State authorities.

CASE NARRATIVE:

Ms. Sirikan Charoensiri is a human rights lawyer who is the one of legal representatives for the 14 student activists from the New Democracy Movement (NDM). The NDM was founded by a core group of mostly students of working class backgrounds from Bangkok and Khon Kaen, who have been actively involved with the campaign to recall democracy in Thailand.

On 26 June 2015, police arrested the 14 student activists in execution of an arrest warrant issued by the Bangkok Military Court. They were charged with violating National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) Order No. 3/2015, which bans gatherings of more than five people, and Article 116 of the Thai Criminal Code regarding sedition. On June 27 the Bangkok Military Court granted remand in custody of the 14 student activists for 12 days. The 13 men are detained at the Bangkok Remand Prison, and one woman is held at the Woman Correctional Institution.

During the night of June 26-27, Ms. Sirikan together with seven other TLHR colleagues were on duty and assisted the 14 students activists as lawyers.

After finishing her duty of providing legal assistance to them at the Bangkok Military Court, Ms. Sirikan was requested by police officials lead by Police Major General Chayapol Chatchaidej, commander of the Sixth Division of Metropolitan Police Bureau, to have her car searched to confiscate some mobile phones, which the students left with the lawyers before being brought to the prisons. Ms. Sirikan refused to let her car be searched, since the officials did not present a search warrant, and there was no justifiable evidence to conduct the search without a warrant at night. The officials then impounded her car overnight, and brought a court warrant to conduct the search on 27 June 2015. Miss Sirikan later filed a complaint of malfeasance, under Section 157 of the Thai Criminal Code, against General Chayapol Chatchayadetch and others for illegally impounding her car.

Consequently, the police filed complaints against her, accusing her of refusing to comply with an official order without any reasonable cause or excuse after being informed of an order of an official given according to the power invested by law, and an offence of concealing or making away of property or document ordered by the official to be sent as evidence or for execution of the law, under Sections 368 and 142 of the Thai Criminal Code, and an offence of giving false information concerning a criminal offence to an inquiry official to subject an individual to a punishment under Sections 172 and 174 of the Criminal Code.

The police investigation at the Chanasongkram Police Station has been completed, and Ms. Sirikan’s case has been sent to the public prosecutor of Dusit District Court in Bangkok. On 27 April 2016, Ms. Sirikan received a summons to report herself to the public prosecutor. The prosecutor informed Ms. Sirikan that police investigators have agreed to press charges against her under Articles 368 and 142 of the Thai Criminal Code on 12 May 2016.

However, under Thai law, after the police have concluded an investigation and decide to proceed with a case, they announce the date on which the case file and the charged person will be presented to the public prosecutor. The public prosecutor will then decide whether to prosecute the case or issue a non-prosecution order. If the public prosecutor decides to issue a prosecution order, he must seek permission from the Attorney General according to Articles 7 and 9 of the Act on Establishment of District Courts and District Court Procedure 1956. The Act does not indicate the timeframe within which the Attorney General must give permission to issue a prosecution order.

Therefore, Ms. Sirikan and her legal team have submitted an appeal for justice with the public prosecutor, to examine more witnesses and consider her legal/factual arguments, and hopefully dismiss the case.

Nevertheless, according to the prosecutor, they will announce whether to indict Ms. Sirikan on 27 July 2016.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

Progress of Ms.Sirikan’s other cases

1. Ms. Sirikan’s complaint against Pol.Lt. Gen. Chayapol Chatchayadetch for Malfeasance, an offence under Section 157 of the Thai Criminal Code, for arbitrarily impounding Sirikan’s car overnight as she refused to let her car be searched without a court order, is under investigation by the National Anti-Corruption Commission.

2. The criminal charges against Ms. Sirikan of filing a false police report, an offence under Section 172 (imprisonment not exceeding two years) and Section 174 (imprisonment not exceeding five years) of the Criminal Code–As the inquiry official was informing Ms. Sirikan of the charges on 9 February 2016, Ms.Sirikan’s lawyer asked the inquiry official on the detail of the alleged offence. The inquiry official failed to indicate which information Ms. Sirikan had filed was false. Thus, Ms. Sirikan refused to be informed of the charges in this case. The inquiry official did not yet press the charges against her, and shall question the accuser for clarification of which information was false as alleged. The inquiry official will summon Ms. Sirikan to inform these charges later. At this time, Ms. Sirikan is not charged by police with two offences of filing a false police report. However, it is probable that the police will summon her to inform the charges again.

SUGGESTED ACTION:

Please write a letter to the following government authorities to urge them to drop the charges against Ms. Sirikan Charoensiri and to maintain its respect for the independence of lawyers and ensure lawyers are able to conduct their professional functions without fear of official reprisals. Please also be informed that the AHRC is writing a separate letter to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers calling for their intervention into this matter.

To support this case, please click here:

SAMPLE LETTER:

Dear ___________,

THAILAND: Stop Judicial Harassment of Sirikan Charoensiri

Name of victim: Ms. Sirikan Charoensiri

Names of alleged perpetrators: the police lead by Pol. Maj. Gen. Chayapol Chatchaidej, commander of the Sixth Division of Metropolitan Police Bureau

Date of incident: 27 June 2015

Place of incident: Bangkok, Thailand

I am writing to voice my deep concern regarding the recent cases of intimidation and harassment against human rights lawyers in Thailand. Ms. Sirikan Charoensiri is a human rights lawyer who is the one of legal representatives for the 14 student activists from the New Democracy Movement (NDM).

On 26 June 2015, police arrested the 14 student activists in execution of an arrest warrant issued by the Bangkok Military Court. They were charged with violating National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) Order No. 3/2015, which bans gatherings of more than five people, and Article 116 of the Thai Criminal Code regarding sedition. On June 27 the Bangkok Military Court granted remand in custody of the 14 student activists for 12 days. The 13 men are detained at the Bangkok Remand Prison, and one woman is held at the Woman Correctional Institution.

During the night of June 26-27, Ms. Sirikan together with seven other TLHR colleagues were on duty and assisted the 14 students activists as lawyers.

After finishing her duty of providing legal assistance to them at the Bangkok Military Court, Ms. Sirikan was requested by police officials lead by Police Major General Chayapol Chatchaidej, commander of the Sixth Division of Metropolitan Police Bureau, to have her car searched to confiscate some mobile phones, which the students left with the lawyers before being brought to the prisons. Ms. Sirikan refused to let her car be searched, since the officials did not present a search warrant, and there was no justifiable evidence to conduct the search without a warrant at night. The officials then impounded her car overnight, and brought a court warrant to conduct the search on 27 June 2015. Miss Sirikan later filed a complaint of malfeasance, under Section 157 of the Thai Criminal Code, against General Chayapol Chatchayadetch and others for illegally impounding her car.

Consequently, the police filed complaints against her, accusing her of refusing to comply with an official order without any reasonable cause or excuse after being informed of an order of an official given according to the power invested by law, and an offence of concealing or making away of property or document ordered by the official to be sent as evidence or for execution of the law, under Sections 368 and 142 of the Thai Criminal Code, and an offence of giving false information concerning a criminal offence to an inquiry official to subject an individual to a punishment under Sections 172 and 174 of the Criminal Code.

Since the police investigation at the Chanasongkram Police Station has been completed, and Ms. Sirikan’s case has been sent to the public prosecutor of Dusit District Court in Bangkok, on 27 April 2016, Ms. Sirikan received a summons to report herself to the public prosecutor. The prosecutor informed Ms. Sirikan that police investigators have agreed to press charges against her under Articles 368 and 142 of the Thai Criminal Code on 12 May 2016.

As you must be aware however, under Thai law, after the police have concluded an investigation and decide to proceed with a case, they announce the date on which the case file and the charged person will be presented to the public prosecutor. The public prosecutor will then decide whether to prosecute the case or issue a non-prosecution order. Therefore, Ms. Sirikan and her legal team have submitted an appeal for justice with the public prosecutor, to examine more witnesses and consider her legal/factual arguments, and hopefully dismiss the case.

Nevertheless, according to the prosecutor, they will announce whether to indict Ms. Sirikan on 27 July 2016.

I am concerned that this case has created a perception that lawyers providing legal representation in so-called ‘political’ cases may face harassment from police and other State authorities. They undermine the ability of lawyers in Thailand to conduct their professional functions without fear of official reprisals.

I wish to point out that it is a fundamental principle in international law that lawyers must be able to represent their clients without fear of retaliation, interference or harassment. Principle 16 of the UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers states that: “Governments shall ensure that lawyers… are able to perform all of their professional functions without intimidation, hindrance, harassment or improper interference”. The Basic Principles have been applied in international jurisprudence, as an extension of the right to a fair trial in Article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Thailand is a party. The Basic Principles further recognize that lawyers “shall not be identified with their clients or their clients’ causes as a result of discharging their functions.” Indeed, lawyers must be able to act freely, diligently and fearlessly in accordance with the wishes of their clients.

In addition, the ICCPR also guarantees the right to peaceful assembly; the right to freedom of expression; the prohibition of arbitrary arrest or detention and the right to a fair and public hearing by a competent, independent and impartial tribunal established by law (including the right of prompt access to a lawyer and precluding jurisdiction of military courts over civilians in circumstances such as these); and the prohibition of arbitrary or unlawful interference with privacy, family, home and correspondence (which includes arbitrary searches or seizures).

Hence, I urge the Thai authorities to:

1. Call on the Thai Royal Police to guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Ms. Sirikan Charoensiri;

2. Call on the Thai Royal Police and the Office of Attorney General to immediately and unconditionally drop all charges against Ms. Sirikan, and put an end to all acts of judicial harassment against her;

3. Call on Thai authorities and the Lawyer Council of Thailand to comply with the national and international law safeguarding the independence of lawyers and protecting them from unlawful interference in their professional activities.

Yours Sincerely,

……………….

PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO:

1. General Prayuth Chan-ocha

Prime Minister

Head of the National Council for Peace and Order

Royal Thai Army Commander-in-Chief

Rachadamnoen Nok Road

Bang Khun Phrom

Bangkok 10200

THAILAND

E-mail: prforeign@gmail.com

2. Mr. Paiboon Khumchaya

Minister of Justice

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: +66 2 14 5100

Email: callcenter@moj.go.th

3. Pol Gen Chakthip Chaijinda

Commissioner General of the Royal Thai Police

Rama I Rd, Khwaeng Pathum Wan,

Khet Pathum Wan, Bangkok 10330

THAILAND

4. 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: +66 2 142 1444

Fax: +66 2 143 9546

Email: ag@ago.go.th

5. Mr. What Tingsamitr

Chairman, 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

E-mail: help@nhrc.or.th

6. Mr. Dej-Udom Krairit

President, Lawyers Council of Thailand under the Royal Patronage

7/89 Buidling 10, Ratchadamnoen Klang Road, Bawornnivej Sub-District,

Phranakorn District, Bangkok 10200

THAILAND

Tel: +66 2 629 1430

Fax: +66 2282-9908

Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Programme

Asian Human Rights Commission (ua@ahrc.asia)

 

THAILAND: Inconsistent with the Truth: The Thai Representative’s UPR Statement on Military Courts

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

AHRC-FAT-021-2016

19 May, 2016

An article from Thai Human Rights for Lawyer (THRL) forwarded by the Asian Human Rights Commission

THAILAND: Inconsistent with the Truth: The Thai Representative’s UPR Statement on Military Courts

The second cycle of the Universal Periodical Review (UPR) of Thailand was held on 11 May 2016 in Geneva, Switzerland. Many UN member states raised concerns and questions about the use of military courts to try civilians. To respond to the queries from other member states, a team of representatives from the Government of Thailand attended the session, including Lieutenant Colonel Seni Bhromvivat, the Head of the Military Legislation Section of the Judge Advocate General’s Department from the Ministry of Defense.

Lieutenant Colonel Seni Bhromvivat, as a representative of the Government of Thailand, explained to the Human Rights Council that the application of military jurisdiction to civilian cases is limited to specific and severe offences. The defendants in the military courts have the same rights as those in civilian courts as the military courts operate under the Criminal Procedure Code which guarantees the right to a fair trial and other rights of defendants in line with international obligations. The military judges are required to have legal knowledge and proficiency in criminal law, similar to judges in the civilian court system.

Lieutenant Colonel Seni Bhromvivat further explained that military judiciary guarantees the right to a fair and public hearing by an independent judiciary. The defendant has the right to legal assistance and the right to bail, and receives consideration for temporary release, the same as within the civilian judiciary. The military trials also are open for public observation, including civil society and human rights organizations, in addition to defendants’ families.

However, after extended observation of trials of civilians in military courts, Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) has found that the representative’s explanation to the international community is inconsistent with the actual situation. Military trials are explicitly and considerably differ from civilian trials in many ways, all of which affect access to rights during the judicial proceedings and result in violations of the rights of civilian alleged offenders and defendants.

1. A large number of the political cases tried in the military courts are not serious crimes. In a normal society, many of the actions for which people have been charged and prosecuted under the jurisdiction of the military court are not considered crimes. Instead, these are actions related to the exercise of the rights to freedom of expression and freedom of peaceful assembly, such as: eating out at McDonalds’ as an action to express dissent against the coup d’état; not reporting as summoned by the orders of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO); organizing a commemorative activity on the anniversary of a past election; walking from home to the military court alone; riding a train to investigate alleged corruption at the military-built Rajabhakti Park; mocking the head of the junta; holding a press release insisting that ‘Universities are not military camps’; and taking photos with a red water bowl, to name a few.

2. Many weapons cases are not related to politics and are not serious offences. TLHR has found that the defendants in many weapons cases tried in the military courts are villagers or people of ethnic groups arrested for possessing unregistered cap guns or for not handing over the firearms to the authorities as ordered by an NCPO announcement. The alleged offenders usually use the guns for hunting or taking care of their plantations. Some possessed only one gun or antique firearms with no registration. Many alleged offenders are not involved with politics or violence in any way.

3. The military judges lack independence and impartiality. The military judiciary is subordinate to the Ministry of Defense and the Defense Minister and the Commander of the Royal Thai Army is authorized to appoint military judges. This places the military judges under military command, which is different from the judicial system. TLHR has also found that in some trials, the military tribunal made a phone call to their superiors within the chain of command prior to delivering the outcome of a discretionary decision to a defendant, which demonstrates the lack of independence present in adjudication.

4. Not all military judges are proficient in law. In the military courts, of the three adjudicators on a panel of judges, only a judge advocate general is required to be a commissioned officer with a degree in law. The rest of the adjudicators are commissioned officers appointed by commanders in each military court’s jurisdiction and are not required to possess a law degree.

5. The military courts do not have sufficient personnel for the caseload. Each month, around 30 military judge advocate generals will move from court to court within the 29 operating military circle courts. Most courts have a stationed military prosecutor and 2-3 court officials who also have to perform as court clerks during the proceedings. The limitation of the military court staff to handle thousands of civilian cases has resulted in delayed prosecutions.

6. International observers cannot attend hearings in provincial military courts. Military bases, where the provincial military courts are located, are designated as zones of national security and confidential state affairs. Therefore, foreigners, including staff from international organizations and embassies, are not allowed to enter the bases.

7. Before martial law was lifted, the cases tried in military courts could not be appealed. Defendants in any case tried in the military courts during the period of 25 May 2014 – 1 April 2015 while the martial law was imposed were not entitled to appeal the court’s conviction or any decision to higher courts. This was true even in those cases with heavy penalties such as the death penalty. This is in conflict with the principle of the rule of law and denied the defendant’s right to appeal to a higher court to review the lower court’s judgment and impeded their access to the right to a fair trial.

8. The military courts do not offer lawyers. In civilian courts, a defendant who does not have a lawyer and requests to have one can be appointed a state-provided lawyer. These lawyers are usually stationed at the courts and are provided at no charge to the defendants. The military courts, however, do not have a mechanism to guarantee the defendant’s access to legal assistance. The military courts did not provide lawyers for many defendants in need of lawyers in weapons cases. In other cases, the court officials sometimes contacted a lawyer to assist in cases, but erratically.

9. The military court proceedings are extremely delayed. The military courts usually hold evidence hearings every two or three months. Each hearing begins in the morning and ends before noon. This schedule makes it possible to hear evidence from only one or two witnesses per round, or in situations in which a witness has very detailed evidence to present, it may take several rounds. Adjournment is also not uncommon. The taking of evidence in the military courts is therefore much more delayed and sporadic in comparison to the civilian courts that usually hold consecutive hearing dates which makes the proceedings swifter than in the military courts.

10. The delays in military court proceedings forces some defendants to plead guilty, especially those whose request for temporary release is denied. They face a lengthy period of pre-trial detention and there many decide to plead guilty as charged in order to receive a reduced sentence. It is apparent that the delays gravely affect the defendant’s right to fair proceedings.

11. The military courts generally hand down heavier penalties than civilian courts. For example, lèse majesté cases now have a new rate of penalty of 8-10 years of imprisonment per count, while the same offence in the civilian courts previously resulted in 5 years per count on average. As a result, many cases with several counts of violation have set new records for severe sentences. In another example, the offence of defying an NCPO order was punished by a military court with a 10,000 baht fine, reduced by half to 5,000 baht as the defendant pled guilty. The same offence in a civilian court was punished with a 500 baht fine.

12. The military courts do not carry out a pre-sentence investigation. The civilian courts can issue an order to investigate a defendant and make a report of the facts, background, behavior, and life of the defendant, to inform the court’s discretion in making sentencing decisions. The military courts, however, claim that they cannot order the Department of Probation, which is under the Ministry of Justice, to carry out such an investigation. Lots of facts about the defendants, such as a defendant’s mental illness, are not taken into account by the military court when they make decisions about punishment.

13. The military courts do not allow lawyers to copy the records of some proceedings. In some cases, the judge advocate general has stated that as the record of the proceedings has been read in the courtroom, a copy is not necessary. This differs from the civilian courts in which litigants can access and copy the records of proceedings.

14. Restrictions on bail surety are more stringent than in civilian courts and standard criteria regarding bail amounts do not exist. The military courts do not accept an individual or the civil service status of an individual as a surety for bail and do not accept payment by a bail bond. The civilian courts allow a greater range of categories of bail payment and guarantors.

15. The military court clerks still manually write or type the court’s record of proceedings. Unlike the civilian courts, which use voice-recording devices, the manual method in the military courts causes discontinuity and delay as the proceedings must occasionally stop and wait for the clerk.

16. The suspects or defendants are taken to prison while waiting for the result of the request for temporary release. Both female and male suspects and defendants have been subjected to violations while being strip searched before entering the prison. The civilian courts detain the suspects or defendants in a detention room at the court while waiting for the result of the request for temporary release. If the courts grant temporary release, the suspects or defendants are released from the courts directly and do not have to go through the procedures to enter and leave the prison.

……………..

The views shared in this article do not necessarily reflect that of the AHRC.

# # #

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) works towards the radical rethinking and fundamental redesigning of justice institutions in order to protect and promote human rights in Asia. Established in 1984, the Hong Kong based organisation is a Laureate of the Right Livelihood Award, 2014.

Read this Forwarded Article online

เสียงจากประเทศไทย เรื่องการละเมิดสิทธิมนุษยชนในไทย

ตามที่คณะรัญบาลทหารที่ได้ทำการ รปห.รัฐบาลที่มาจากกาเลือกตั้ง หลังมีการทำลาย รธน.เก่าและร่าง รธน.ใหม่ปี 2559 และกำลังจะทำประชามติในการรับ รธน.ฉบับนี้ เมื่อมีการประกาศใช้ พรบ.การทำประชามติแล้ว สิ่งที่รัฐบาลทหารกระทำต่อประชาชนตามภาพที่ปรากฎคือการไม่เปิดโอกาสให้ประชาชนผู้เห็นต่างในรัฐธรรมนูญแล้วยังก้าวล่วงความเป็ยส่วนตัวของประชาชนที่ใช้โลกโซเชี่ยลสื่อสารกันโดยจัดให้มัเจ้าหน้าที่คอยบันทึกพฤติกรรมของผู้ใช้เฟชบุคที่เห็นต่าง  

จึงอยากเรัยกร้องให้ต่างชาติในโลกเสรี ช่วยกดดันให้รัฐบาลทหารงด เลิกการกระทำแบบนี้กับประชาชนที่มองต่าง  รายละเอียดดังข้อความข่าวและภาพที่แนบ

รายละเอียดข่าว:

พบแอปตำรวจเก็บข้อมูลส่วนตัวผู้ใช้เฟซบุ๊ก

http://thaienews.blogspot.com/2016/05/blog-post_9.html

เปิดโปงกลโกง 6 วิธีการเข้าถึงบัญชีเฟซบุ๊กคนอื่นการป้องกัน + How To Access Blocked Sites ? 

http://thaienews.blogspot.com/2016/05/6.html

ปวินโชว์ฝีมือการแปล ช่วยถอดรหัสข้อความ ยิ่งลักษณ์ เขียนถึง ประยุทธ์แด่เราชาวไพร่ เพื่อความเข้าใจง่าย 

http://thaienews.blogspot.com/2016/05/blog-post_61.html