Thailand
19.01.24
Urgent Interventions

Thailand: New conviction and ongoing arbitrary detention of Anon Nampa

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URGENT APPEAL - THE OBSERVATORY

New information
THA 002 / 0923 / OBS 038.1
Sentencing /
Arbitrary detention /
Judicial harassment
Thailand
January 19, 2024


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

New information:

The Observatory has been informed about the new conviction, prison sentence, and ongoing arbitrary detention of Mr Anon Nampa, prominent pro-democracy activist and human rights lawyer.

On January 17, 2023, the Bangkok Criminal Court found Anon Nampa guilty under Article 112 of the Thailand Criminal Code (“lèse-majesté”) [1] and Section 14(3) of the Computer Crimes Act [2] and sentenced him to four years in prison. These charges stemmed from three Facebook posts he published on January 1 and 3, 2021, questioning the enforcement of Article 112 of the Criminal Code and advocating for the right to freedom of expression in connection with criticism of the Thai monarchy [3] reforms.

At the time of publication of this Urgent Appeal, Mr Anon remains detained at the Bangkok Remand Prison, where he has been arbitrarily imprisoned since his previous conviction on “lèse-majesté” charges on September 26, 2023.

The Observatory recalls that this is not the first conviction of Mr Anon under Article 112 of the Criminal Code. On September 26, 2023, the Criminal Court sentenced him to four years in prison on one count of “lèse-majesté”, and a fine of 20,000 baht (approximately 525 Euros) for violation of the Emergency Decree. This case stemmed from a speech Mr Anon delivered on October 14, 2020, at a peaceful demonstration at Bangkok’s Democracy Monument, where protesters had gathered to call on the government to comply with the three demands put forward by the pro-democracy movement that began in February 2020, including a reform of the Thai monarchy. Mr Anon was charged with “lèse-majesté” over his statements referring to King Rama X as the person with the sole authority to order the dispersal of protests, instead of the riot police. On September 30, 2023, the Court of Appeals rejected Mr Anon’s request for bail, citing the severity of his sentence and the fact that he would be a flight risk, if released on bail.

The Observatory further recalls that Anon Nampa is currently facing legal action in connection with 12 more “lèse-majesté” cases. Mr Anon was previously arbitrarily detained twice at the Bangkok Remand Prison: the first time for 113 days, from February 9 to June 1, 2021, on charges of “lèse-majesté” and “sedition” (Article 116 of Thailand Criminal Code) in connection with a speech concerning the Thai monarchy he made at a peaceful pro-democracy protest at Bangkok’s Sanam Luang on September 19, 2020; and the second time for 202 days, from August 11, 2021, to February 28, 2022, in relation to 12 other “lèse-majesté” cases. His temporary release requests were denied numerous times.

The Observatory notes with concern that between November 24, 2020, and December 31, 2023, 262 people, including many human rights defenders and 20 minors, were charged under Article 112 of the Criminal Code. Fifteen of them are currently detained pending trial, and six more serving prison sentences.

The Observatory strongly condemns the new conviction, sentencing, and ongoing arbitrary detention of Anon Nampa, and the ongoing judicial harassment against him, which seem to be only aimed at punishing him for his legitimate human rights activities and the exercise of his rights to freedom of expression and of peaceful assembly.

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

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities of Thailand asking them to:

  • Guarantee in all circumstances the physical integrity and psychological well-being of Anon Nampa and all other human rights defenders and pro-democracy activists in Thailand;
  • Immediately and unconditionally release Anon Nampa and all other human rights defenders and pro-democracy activists, since their detention is arbitrary as it seems to be merely aimed at punishing them for their legitimate human rights activities;
  • Quash the convictions and put an end to all acts of harassment, including at the judicial level, against Anon Nampa and all other human rights defenders and pro-democracy activists in the country, and ensure in all circumstances that they are able to carry out their legitimate activities without any hindrance and fear of reprisals;
  • Guarantee in all circumstances the rights to freedom of expression and 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 (ICCPR), to which Thailand is a state party;
  • Refrain from using Article 112 of the Criminal Code to target human rights defenders and pro-democracy activists.

Addresses:

  • Mr. Srettha Thavisin, Prime Minister of Thailand, Email: spmwebsite@thaigov.go.th
  • Mr. Parnpree Bahiddha-Nukara, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand, Email: minister@mfa.go.th
  • Mr. Tawee Sodsong, Minister of Justice of Thailand, Email: complainingcenter@moj.go.th
  • General Songwit Noonpackdee, Commander in Chief of the Army, Email: webadmin@rta.mi.th
  • Pol Gen Damrongsak Kittiprapas, Commissioner-General of the Police, Email: info@royalthaipolice.go.th
  • Ms. Pornprapai Ganjanarinte, National Human Rights Commissioner of Thailand, Email: help@nhrc.or.th, info@nhrc.co.th
  • H.E. Mrs. Suphatra Srimaitreephithak, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of Thailand to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Email: thaimission.GVA@mfa.mail.go.th
  • H.E. Mr. Sek Wannamethee, Ambassador, Ambassador of Thailand to Belgium and Luxembourg and Head of Mission of Thailand to the European Union, Belgium, Email: thaiembassy.brs@mfa.go.th

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

***
Paris-Geneva, January 19, 2024

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:

  • E-mail: alert@observatoryfordefenders.org
  • Tel FIDH: +33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18
  • Tel OMCT: +41 (0) 22 809 49 39


Footnotes

[1] Article 112 of the Criminal Code imposes jail terms for those who defame, insult, or threaten the King, the Queen, the Heir to the throne, or the Regent. Persons found guilty of violating Article 112 face prison terms of three to 15 years for each count.

[2] Article 14 of the Computer Crimes Act prescribes imprisonment of up to five years or a fine of up to one hundred thousand baht or both for those guilty of importing into a computer system any computer data related with an offence against the Kingdom’s security under the Criminal Code.

[3] The three demands were: 1) the resignation of then-Prime Minster Prayuth Chan-ocha; 2) the reform of the monarchy; and 3) the drafting of a new constitution.

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