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Thailand
10.03.21
Urgent Interventions

Thailand: Arbitrary detention of three human rights defenders and pro-democracy activists

URGENT APPEAL - THE OBSERVATORY

THA 001 / 0321 / OBS 033
Arbitrary detention /
Judicial harassment
Thailand
March 10, 2021

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Thailand.

Description of the situation:

The Observatory has been informed about the arbitrary detention and judicial harassment of Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul, Jatupat Boonpattararaksa, and Panupong Chadnok, three human rights defenders and prominent pro-democracy activists.

On March 8, 2021, the prosecutors made a decision for criminal proceedings against Ms. Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul, Mr. Jatupat Boonpattararaksa and Mr. Panupong Chadnok to go ahead. The three have been charged under Articles 112 (“lèse-majesté”) and 116 (“sedition”) of the Criminal Code in connection with speeches concerning the Thai monarchy they made at a peaceful pro-democracy protest at Bangkok’s Sanam Luang on September 19, 2020. Subsequently, the Bangkok Criminal Court ordered their pre-trial detention and denied bail requests to all three defendants, arguing that the defendants would present a high risk of re-offending if released.

Mr. Jatupat and Mr. Panupong are currently detained at Thonburi Remand Prison, and Ms. Panusaya is detained at the Central Women's Correctional Institution in Bangkok, pending trial.

The Observatory recalls that on February 9, 2021, four other human rights defenders and pro-democracy activists, namely Anon Nampa, Parit Chiwarak, Somyot Prueksakasemsuk, and Patiwat Saraiyaem, were detained on the same charges. The four are detained at the Bangkok Remand Prison, pending trial. They have been denied bail six times, on February 9, 12, 17, 22, 27, and on March 4, 2021.

The Observatory notes with concern that between November 24, 2020, and March 9, 2021, 65 people, including many human rights defenders, were charged under Article 112 of the Thai Criminal Code.

The Observatory condemns the arbitrary detention and the judicial harassment of the seven above-mentioned human rights defenders, which seem to be only aimed at punishing them for their legitimate human rights activities and the exercise of their rights to freedom of expression and of peaceful assembly.

The Observatory calls on the Thai authorities to immediately and unconditionally release the seven human rights defenders and to put an end to the judicial harassment against them and all human rights defenders in the country.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities of Thailand asking them to:

i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical integrity and psychological well-being of all human rights defenders in Thailand, and ensure in all circumstances that they are able to carry out their legitimate activities without any hindrance and fear of reprisals;

ii. Immediately release Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul, Jatupat Boonpattararaksa, Panupong Chadnok, Anon Nampa, Parit Chiwarak, Somyot Prueksakasemsuk, and Patiwat Saraiyaem;

iii. Put an end to all acts of harassment, including at the judicial level against Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul, Jatupat Boonpattararaksa, Panupong Chadnok, Anon Nampa, Parit Chiwarak, Somyot Prueksakasemsuk and Patiwat Saraiyaem, and all other human rights defenders and pro-democracy activists in the country;

iv. Guarantee, in all circumstances, the right to freedom of expression and the right of peaceful assembly, as enshrined in international human right law, and particularly in Articles 19 and 21 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Addresses:

  • Mr. Prayuth Chan-ocha, Prime Minister of Thailand, Email: spmwebsite@thaigov.go.th
  • Mr. Somsak Thepsutin, Minister of Justice of Thailand, Email: complainingcenter@moj.go.th
  • Gen Apirut Kongsompong, Commander in Chief of the Royal Thai Army, Email: webadmin@rta.mi.th
  • Pol Gen Chaktip Chaijinda, Commissioner-General of the Royal Thai Police, Email: info@royalthaipolice.go.th
  • Mr. Prakairat Tanteerawong, National Human Rights Commissioner of Thailand, Email: Prakairatana@nhrc.or.th / Prakairatanao@yahoo.com
  • H.E. Mr. Thani Thongphakdi, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of Thailand to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Email: mission.thailand@ties.itu.int
  • Embassy of Thailand in Brussels, Belgium, Email: thaibxl@pophost.eunet.be

Please also write to the diplomatic representations of Thailand in your respective countries.

***

Paris-Geneva, March 10, 2021

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997 by FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT). The objective of this programme is to prevent or remedy situations of repression against human rights defenders. FIDH and OMCT are both members of ProtectDefenders.eu, the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented by international civil society.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:


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