Updated: Courts, constitution and freedom

6 08 2012

A week ago PPT posted on the Constitutional Court’s efforts to silence red shirts. We noted there that the Constitutional Court’s business now involved making protesters political prisoners. In essence, the corrupt and politicized Constitutional Court has been accruing powers to itself that it doesn’t have and is attempting to make it a crime to speak against anything the court does or against any judge or judgement. Its most recent effort on this has been to have the Criminal Court revoke bail against scores of red shirts.

That action is now before the Criminal Court. The Nation, in a remarkably biased and illogical report, explains that the Criminal Court has gone even further in attempting to repress and control protest, noting that “… deputy chief judge Jumpol Choowong has banned the reds from using loudspeakers, street hawking, blocking traffic and disorderly conduct.” Presumably some of these things are already against the law, a bit like seizing Bangkok’s airports. In essence, the Court is warning red shirts and attempting to stifle possible dissent.

The court has taken extraordinary measures to prevent red shirts entering the court precinct.

Despite this action, red shirts “still plan to rally in a show of moral support for their leaders” facing the wrath of the politicized judiciary. This event is a part of the continuing struggle between the red shirts and the royalist judiciary, with the former challenging the latter’s role as protector of the establishment.

Oddly, The Nation’s account claims that “[s]ince 2005, the courts have handed down a number of landmark decisions which have found protests involving red and yellow shirts to be unconstitutional.” PPT can’t remember such decisions and asks readers to remind us. We’d imagine that the Constitutional Court would need to make such a decision (rather than a bunch of “courts”) and while we realize that the Constitutional Court doesn’t always follow the constitution and sometimes evidences a lack of knowledge of its contents, PPT would have thought that Article 63 of the 2007 Constitution would apply to all, including red and yellow shirts:

A person shall enjoy the liberty to assemble peacefully and without arms.

The restriction on such liberty under paragraph one shall not be imposed except by virtue of the law specifically enacted for the purpose of public assembling and for securing public convenience in the use of public places or for the maintenance of public order during the time when the country is in a state of war, or when a state of emergency or martial law is declared.

Section 44 of the 1997 Constitution was identical.

Update: A reader tells us that Bangkok Pundit has a post from 2008 that relates to the question above.



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