Update on Daranee Charnchoengsilpakul

25 07 2011

The last several days has held a flurry of updates and news related to the case of Daranee Charnchoengsilpakul, and PPT wanted to alert readers to various sources of news as well as offer some additional commentary.

Friday, 22 July 2011, was the three year anniversary of her arrest for allegedly committing lese majeste during 55 minutes of speech during a political rally on Sanam Luang.  Marking this anniversary, Andrew Spooner at Asia Provocateur posted his transcript of an interview with Daranee.  The interview is well worth a read, and PPT wishes to highlight this exchange between Spooner and Daranee:

Spooner: Do you believe violence is necessary to change Thailand?

Daranee: Speaking the truth is not “violence”. I don’t believe violence is necessary to change Thailand but civilians have a right to defend themselves.

PPT agrees with Daranee that speaking the truth is not violence, and is deeply concerned that in a country where there is much unresolved extrajudicial violence, speech could be cast as such.

Then, late on Sunday, news of the Constitutional Court’s statement on her case, which was not expected until October, was posted as a PDF on the website of the Constitutional Court (PPT accessed it more easily here, on Prachatai). Regular observers of her case  may recall that in February 2011, the Appeal Court referred her case to the Constitutional Court. The Constitutional Court ruled that the secret trial of Daranee Charnchoengsilpakul was not in conflict with the rights and liberties protected in the 2007 Constitution. At Prachatai English, Elizabeth Fitzgerald offered a translation of an important part of the decision, which PPT reproduces here:

“Examination in secret does not mean that either side will not be treated fairly in the judicial process and does not in any way restrict the rights of the defendant in a criminal case. This is because in regards to examination in secret, Article 178 of the Criminal Procedure Code mandates that involved individuals have the right to be in the courtroom, such as the plaintiff and the plaintiff’s lawyer, the defendant and the defendant’s lawyer, the defendant’s guards, witnesses, experts, interpreters, etc. This shows that Article 177 of the Criminal Procedure Code is an article in line with the basic rights for individuals in the justice system put in place by the Constitution even though it has some limiting effects on the rights and freedoms of individuals. But this is a limiting of individual rights and freedoms only to the extent that it is necessary. There are no significant repercussions on rights and freedoms

[การพิจารณาเป็นการลับ  ก็มิได้หมายความว่าคู่ความฝ่ายใดฝ่ายหนึ่งจะไม่ได้รับความเป็นธรรมใน กระบวนการ ยุติธรรมและมิได้จำกัดสิทธิของจำเลยในคดีอาญาแต่อย่างใด  เพราะเมื่อมีการพิจารณาเป็นการลับ  ประมวลกฎหมายวิธีพิจารณาความอาญา มาตรา ๑๗๘ กำหนดให้มีบุคคลที่เกี่ยวข้องกับการพิจารณามิสิทธิอยู่ในห้องพิจารณาได้  อาทิเช่น  โจทย์และทนายของโจทย์  จำเละและทนายของจำเลย  ผู้ควบคุมตัวจำเลย  พยาน  ผู้เชี่ยวชาญ  และล่าม เป็นต้น  จึงเห็นได้ว่าประมวลกฎหมายวิธีพิจารณาความอาญา มาตรา ๑๗๗ เป็นบทบัญญัติที่อยู่ในขอบเขตแห่งการใช้สิทธิพื้นฐานใน กระบวนพิจารณาแก่บุคคลตามที่รัฐธรรมนูญรับรองไว้  ถึงแม้จะมีผลเป็นการจำกัดสิทธิและเสรีภาพของบุคคลอยู่บ้าง  แต่ก็เป็นการจำกัดสิทธิและเสรีภาพของบุคคลเพียงเท่าที่จำเป็น  มิได้กระทบกระเทือนสาระสำคัญแห่งสิทธิและเสรีภาพ]

Elizabeth Fitzgerald then concludes by asking ” No significant effects on rights or freedoms? …. It is worth asking what it means when the public is excluded from observing a trial – in a democracy, or a state which claims to be one, is the public not a relevant and involved party to a court case?”

PPT would go further and say, again, that Article 112 must be abolished. The law is unjust, and this Constitutional Court ruling amplifies that injustice.



One response

16 10 2011
Hearing in Daranee Charnchoengsilpakul’s case tomorrow | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] Court comment was released as a PDF on the court’s website in late July 2011. At that time, PPT highlighted the crucial questions at stake in relation to the decision, which was rather bizarre and […]

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