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    May 24, 2019

    Sutharee Wannasiri via Twitter

    DOWNLOAD PDF OF UA 73/19 HERE

    Human rights defenders, activists, journalists and former employees are facing criminal defamation lawsuits for their public comments on labour rights abuses faced by many workers at Thammakaset Co. Ltd, a chicken farm in central Thailand. Nan Win, a former farm worker and Sutharee Wannasiri, a  human rights specialist and former employee of Amnesty International Thailand, go on trial on 24 May 2019. Tun Tun Win, a migrant worker from Myanmar, will stand trial on 5 June 2019. They are three of at least 22 individuals who have faced criminal and civil proceedings initiated by this company.

    May 22, 2019

    Parti Chiwarak via Twitter

    DOWNLOAD PDF OF UA 71/19 THAILAND HERE

    Police have charged prominent activists Parit ‘Penguin’ Chiwarak, Sirawit ‘Ja New’ Seritiwat, and Phayaw Akkahad with defamation by publication under Article 328 of the Thai Criminal Code which carries a maximum sentence of two years in jail. 

    The Election Commission accused the three of making defamatory speeches during a public campaign to impeach the commissioners around Victory Monument in Bangkok on 31 March 2019.  In their statements, the three had requested that the Commission discloses the full results, from all polling stations, following reports of irregularities during the country’s general elections on 24 March. Summoned to Phayathai Police Station on 30 April, they have denied all charges. They have been summoned to attend the police station again on 4 June to hear the development of their case. The case appears to be politically motivated and is part of the crackdown on individuals who criticize the constitutionally independent body.

    May 10, 2019

    Following reports that Vietnamese authorities may have transferred three Thai citizens – Chucheep Chiwasut, Siam Theerawut and Kritsana Tupthai – to Thailand, Amnesty International’s Senior Director for Global Operations, Minar Pimple, said:

    “We call on Thai authorities to acknowledge whether they are in military or police custody and establish their whereabouts. If they are in state custody, we urge authorities to ensure that the three men are held in an official place of detention and have immediate access to independent lawyers, doctors and family members.

    “We also call on authorities to either charge them with a recognizable criminal offence in line with international standards or release them from custody, and not penalise them for their exercise of the right to freedom of expression.”

    Background

    Chucheep Chiwasut is a radio disc-jockey and political activist, who regularly broadcast political commentary to Thailand from exile. Reports do not indicate whether they were transferred to Thai authorities from Viet Nam through a formal deportation or extradition procedure.

    March 07, 2019

    Responding to news that the Constitutional Court has ruled on the request to dissolve the Thai Raksa Chart Party, Katherine Gerson, Amnesty International’s Thailand campaigner said:

    “This decision highlights the Thai authorities’ abuse of judicial powers to restrict the peaceful association and expression of the political opposition. This far-reaching measure raises strong concerns about the human rights to freedom of association and expression in the period leading to the elections.

    “We call on the military government and all election candidates to commit to protecting these fundamental rights during the elections – and for the next government to undertake deep reforms to end the continued decline in human rights protections. 

    “Serious human rights violations have flourished in Thailand's past decade of political instability, including these last four years of military rule. Sweeping and vaguely worded legal restrictions, including a ban on meetings of five or more persons for ‘political’ purposes, have facilitated a wide-ranging attack on political opponents and civil society.”

    February 06, 2019

    Responding to the announcement by Radio Free Asia that one of their contributors, Truong Duy Nhat, was reportedly abducted in Bangkok (Thailand), Amnesty’s Senior Director for Global Operations, Minar Pimple, said:

    “Truong Duy Nhat’s disappearance is deeply alarming. He is a former prisoner of conscience who was repeatedly targeted by the Vietnamese authorities. We know from several sources that he travelled to Bangkok to claim asylum. No-one has seen or heard from him since 26 January.

    “Thai authorities must immediately investigate these multiple reliable reports of abduction from members of the Vietnamese exile community, corroborated by Nhat’s colleagues at Radio Free Asia, who have now raised the alarm. Viet Nam security forces have abducted exiles and refugees from Thailand and elsewhere in the past. Truong Duy Nhat is at a clear risk of torture or other ill-treatment if his abduction is confirmed.

    “Vietnamese authorities have been silent over Truong Duy Nhat’s disappearance. They must come forward with any information about his whereabouts and ensure his safety and freedom of movement.”

    January 09, 2019

    Responding to news that the UN have granted refugee status to Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun, an 18-year old Saudi woman, and put her forward for resettlement to Australia, Amnesty International’s Middle East Director of Campaigns Samah Hadid said:

    “Rahaf’s story sends an important message: people around the world rallied to support her plea for protection, and people power prevailed over those who tried to oppress her. Rahaf took incredible risks to flee her family home and break Saudi Arabia’s male guardianship rules. In just a few days, her story became an inspiration to millions worldwide. Let it remind the world of the huge bravery and sacrifices shown by anyone, anywhere, who has sought safety abroad.

    January 07, 2019

    Responding to reports that Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun, an 18-year-old Saudi woman, faces deportation from the transit zone of Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok (Thailand), Samah Hadid, Amnesty’s Middle East Director of Campaigns said:

    “Rahaf is at risk of great harm if Thai authorities deport her back to Saudi Arabia via Kuwait. Reports that a Saudi official confiscated her passport upon arrival in Bangkok are extremely concerning. The arbitrary confiscation of a passport also violates the right to freedom of movement.

    “She has expressed clear fears for her safety if she returns to her family, and could face criminal charges in Saudi Arabia for disobeying laws on male guardianship. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees has requested access to Rahaf. Thai authorities have yet to provide that access – they must do so immediately and ensure that her right to seek asylum is respected.

    July 18, 2018

    The Thai authorities must recognise that the death penalty has no place in any criminal justice system and halt any plans to carry out further executions, said Amnesty International, a month after the state carried out its first execution in almost nine years.

    In an open letter to Thailand’s Minister of Justice, the global human rights organization called on the government to abolish the death penalty after a 26-year-man was executed by lethal injection for aggravated murder on 18 June 2018. It was the first execution since August 2009.

    “No matter what the crime, who the prisoner is or the method of execution, nothing can justify the use of the death penalty. It is a despicable punishment that has no place in any criminal justice system”, said Katherine Gerson, Amnesty International’s Thailand Campaigner.

    July 05, 2018

    Responding to news that two academics and two students from Chiang Mai University were charged on Wednesday, along with a writer, with ‘holding an unlawful political gathering’ after they were photographed at a private academic conference with a banner protesting military surveillance of the event, Katherine Gerson, Amnesty International’s Thailand campaigner said:

    “These absurd charges would be laughable were it not for the potentially grave consequences for those involved, and what they say about the parlous state of the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly in Thailand.

    “All these students and academics did was make a peaceful, satirical comment about the heavy military presence at a university conference. For this, they could face up to six months in jail under a repressive decree introduced by the military government. Pushing this case through the judicial system highlights the crippling measures authorities are instituting to silence academics and gag any form of dissent.

    May 31, 2018

    Reacting to the Bangkok South Criminal Court’s decision to overturn its conviction of Andy Hall, a British migrant rights worker found guilty of criminal defamation in September 2016 for his work on a report into the abuse of migrant workers’ rights in Thailand, Katherine Gerson, Amnesty International’s Campaigner on Thailand, said:

    “This successful appeal is very welcome, and it underlines how the original conviction against Andy Hall was an abuse of justice that should never have been allowed.

    “Unless followed by legislative and policy changes, however, this decision will do little to compensate for a system that allows for the targeting of human rights activists who dare to stand up against companies involved in abusive practices.

    “The Thai government must work to repeal all criminal defamation laws and take measures to protect both the rights of migrant workers and the freedom of expression of those who are defending their rights.”  

    Background

    May 22, 2018

    As the date draws near for the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) to fulfil its promise to lift restrictions on political activities in June 2018, in place since the military coup of 22 May 2014, Katherine Gerson, Amnesty International’s Campaigner on South East Asia, said:

    “The sweeping and wholly unjustified restrictions on human rights put in place by the NCPO in the wake of the coup were supposed to be exceptional and temporary measures. Four years on and countless abuses later, they remain firmly in place and are relentlessly deployed by authorities.

    “After backtracking on previous promises, it’s vital that the NCPO delivers on its pledge to lift restrictions on political activities by June. But, taken alone, this move goes nowhere near far enough.

    March 06, 2018

    Sirikan Charoensiri shows the ink on her fingers after police asked her to submit her fingerprints at Bangkok’s Chanasongkram Police Station ©Banrasdr

    DOWNLOAD PDF HERE



    Sirikan Charoensiri [pronounced Sirigan Jaroo-ensiri] is a lawyer. Lawyers give advice to people about the law and use the law to fix things that have gone wrong. 

    Sirikan is also a human rights defender. When the government tries to silence people who speak out about injustice, she uses her job as a lawyer to protect them. 

    In June 2015, some students organized a gathering to protest how police and military officers had used too much force against fellow students in an earlier protest. Sirikan knew the police and military would not like any criticism and thought there could be trouble. She decided to go with the students to monitor their treatment during the protest and to be close by in case any student needed a lawyer.  

    February 22, 2018
    Amnesty International publishes State of the World’s Human Rights report for 2017 to 2018 “Last year our world was immersed in crises, with prominent leaders offering us a nightmarish vision of a society blinded by hatred and fear. This emboldened those who promote bigotry, but it inspired far more people to campaign for a more hopeful future,” says Salil Shetty, head of Amnesty International

    The world is reaping the terrifying consequences of hate-filled rhetoric that threatens to normalize massive discrimination against marginalized groups, Amnesty International warned today as it launched its annual assessment of human rights.

    Nevertheless, the organization found that a growing movement of both first-time and seasoned activists campaigning for social justice provides real hope of reversing the slide towards oppression.

    The report, The State of the World’s Human Rights, covers 159 countries and delivers the most comprehensive analysis of the state of human rights in the world today.

    January 31, 2018

    The Thai military government must end its far-reaching crackdown on peaceful demonstrations, Amnesty International said today as nine activists - including the first person arrested for protesting after the military coup in 2014 - are facing criminal proceedings.

    They join hundreds of people who have been harassed or jailed simply for speaking out peacefully against military government or its policies over the past three years. Just yesterday, authorities announced plans to charge a further seven activists with sedition for staging pro-democracy protests.

    "Thailand's military rulers are not only continuing to tie up hundreds of real or perceived critics with long-running criminal proceedings, but have escalated a crackdown on peaceful dissent in recent months. Authorities must honour their promise to lift the absurd and unjustifiable restrictions they have now been imposing for almost four years, ostensibly in the name of national security," said James Gomez, Amnesty International's Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific.

    December 07, 2017

    Following the decision today by the Bangkok Military Court to postpone a decision on whether to indict Sulak Sivaraksa, on charges of lèse majesté for comments he made about a battle in 1593, James Gomez, Amnesty International’s Director of Southeast Asia and the Pacific, said:

    “To prosecute a scholar for comments he made about a battle that took place more than four centuries ago would be patently absurd. This case is an ugly reminder of the Thai authorities’ increasing use of the lèse majesté law as a tool of suppression.

    “Aside from being an outrageous attack on freedom of expression and academic freedom, Sulak Sivaraksa’s case appears to be based on a wilful misinterpretation of the existing repressive law on lèse majesté. While it should doubtless be abandoned in its entirety, the law as it currently stands does not apply to historical members of the monarchy.

    “The Thai authorities must end their gross misuse of this law and immediately drop these ridiculous charges.”

    Background

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