Further updated: The junta and lese majeste

25 05 2014

At first it was some former lese majeste prisoners who were called in by the junta. These former prisoners were mostly those who had campaigned against the law but others were brought in.

Then it was those who the junta leadership considered potential threats to the monarchy and the lese majeste law who were called in and rounded up. Several academics and activists have fled.

After that is was Professor Charnvit Kasetsiri detained by the junta at the international airport. Charnvit is a gentle academic who has campaigned for elections, democracy and human rights. This sees him identified as an enemy. [Update 1: News is that Charnvit is safe, but other academics have gone underground, accused under Article 112.]

And then they came for the families of lese majeste prisoners. According to Prachatai:

Around 3.30 p.m, the army searched the house of Somyot Phueksakasemsuk, an editor of pro-red magazine and now sentenced to 11 years in prison for lese majeste. The army will take Sukanya Phrueksakasemsuk, Somyot’s wife who has been campaigning for political prisoners, and his son Panitan Phrueksakasemsuk, 4th year Law student from Thammasat University, also a student activist, to the Army Club. According to Sukanya, the army also collected their two computer laptops.

Finally and threateningly, The Nation reports that “crimes against the monarchy” will be handled by military courts:

The National Council for Peace and Order issued a latest order Sunday, saying violators of lese majesty law and coup orders as well as those threatening internal will face court martial.

The 37th order was announced on TV at 4:25 pm.

The order said those who committed crimes against the King, the Queen, the heir to the throne and the regent or those who violate Articles 107 to 112 of the Criminal Code must face court martial instead of being tried in the Criminal Court.

Those who commit crimes against the national security or those who violate Articles 113 to 118 of the Criminal Code would also face court martial.

The order said those who violate the NPCO’s orders will also face court martial.

We at PPT, looking at General Prayuth Chan-ocha’s forays into lese majeste in the past, expect that a bleak period where these kangaroo courts will be locking opponents up is upon us.

Update 2: From FIHD:

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the International Federation for Human Rights (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 by reliable sources about the arrest of Ms. Sukanya Phrueksakasemsuk, wife of Mr. Somyot Phueksakasemsuk, the editor of a magazine who is now serving 11 years for lese majeste, who has been campaigning for the right of political prisoners, and her son Panitan Phrueksakasemsuk, a student activist.

According to the information received, on May 25, 2014, at around 3.30 p.m, Thai army soldiers searched the house of Mr. Somyot Phueksakasemsuk. The soldiers arrested Ms. Sukanya Phrueksakasemsuk and her son, Mr. Panitan Phrueksakase, and detained them at an undisclosed location. The army also seized Ms. Sukanya’s two computer laptops.

Since their arrest, Ms. Sukanya and Mr. Panitan have been held incommunicado in an unknown location. Soldiers failed to inform them of the reasons for their arrest. The two have not had access to their lawyer.

Ms. Sukanya and Mr. Panitan are among the about 200 people who have been detained by Thailand’s military junta, the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), since it seized power on May 22, 2014. Among those detained are human rights defenders, journalists, academics, political activists, politicians, and anti-coup peaceful protesters.

The Observatory is concerned by the arbitrary arrest and incommunicado detention of Ms. Sukanya Phrueksakasemsuk and Mr. Panitan Phrueksakase, and calls upon the authorities in Thailand to immediately disclose their whereabouts and put an end to any kind of harassment against them as it seems to only aim at sanctioning their human rights activities.

Background information:

Mr. Somyot Prueksakasemsuk, a labour rights activist, was among the first activists in Thailand trying to unionise workers, providing them with legal training, and organising camp activities and public demonstrations. In his magazine “Voice of Thaksin” Somyot Prueksakasemsuk denounced human rights abuses and gave a voice to the voiceless. Somyot Prueksakasemsuk is also a free speech advocate, calling for the revision of the lèse-majesté law. In April 2011, he was arrested five days after launching a petition campaign to secure a review of this legislation. Held in pre-trial detention for 17 months, Somyot Prueksakasemsuk was convicted for allowing, as an editor, the publication of two satirical articles that were deemed to be “insulting the monarchy”. In January 2013, he was arbitrarily sentenced to 10 years in prison [1].

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities of Thailand asking them to:

i.Immediately disclose the whereabouts of and release immediately and unconditionally Ms. Sukanya Phrueksakasemsuk and Mr. Panitan Phrueksakase;

ii.Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Ms. Sukanya Phrueksakasemsuk and Mr. Panitan Phrueksakase as well as all human rights defenders in Thailand;

iii.Put an end to all acts of harassment, including at the judicial level, against them as well as against all human rights defenders in Thailand;

iv.Conform with the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 9, 1998, especially its Article 1, which states that “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection and realisation of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels”, and Article 12.2, which provides that “the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration”;

v.Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by Thailand.

Addresses:

Head of the National Council for Peace and Order, General Prayuth Chan-ocha, Royal Thai Army Commander-in-Chief, Rachadamnoen Nok Road, Bang Khun Phrom, Phra Nakhon, 10200, Bangkok, THAILAND

Deputy Leader of the National Council for Peace and Order, General Thanasak Patimaprakorn, Chief of the Armed Forces, Royal Thai Armed Forces Headquarters, 127 Chaeng Watthana Road, Laksi, 10210, Bangkok, THAILAND

Deputy Leader of the National Council for Peace and Order, Admiral Narong Pipathanasai, Royal Thai Navy Commander-in-Chief, THAILAND

Deputy Leader of the National Council for Peace and Order, Air Chief Marshal Prajin Jantong, Royal Thai Air Force Commander-in-Chief, Phahon Yothin Road., Don Mueang, 10210, Bangkok, THAILAND

Deputy Leader of the National Council for Peace and Order, Police General Watcharapol Prasarnrajkit, Royal Thai Police Commissioner-General, Royal Thai Police, 1 Building, Floor 7, Rama 1 Road, Pathumwan, Bangkok, THAILAND 10330, Tel: +66 (0)-2251-6831 Fax: +66 (0)-2205-3738

Secretary-General of the National Council for Peace and Order, General Udomdet Sitabut, Royal Thai Army Deputy Commander-in-Chief, Rachadamnoen Nok Road, Bang Khun Phrom, Phra Nakhon, 10200, Bangkok, THAILAND

Spokesman of the National Council for Peace and Order, Colonel Winthai Suvaree, Royal Thai Army Spokesman, Rachadamnoen Nok Road, Bang Khun Phrom, Phra Nakhon, 10200, Bangkok, THAILAND

National Human Rights Commission of Thailand, 422 Phya Thai Road, Pathumwan, Bangkok 10300, THAILAND, Fax: +622 219 2940

Attorney General, Office of the Attorney General, Lukmuang Building, Nahuppei Road, Prabraromrachawang, Pranakorn, Bangkok 10200, THAILAND, Fax: +662 224 0162 / 1448 / 221 0858, ag@ago.go.th; oag@ago.go.th

Commissioner General, Royal Thai Police, 1st Building, 7th Floor, Rama I, Pathumwan, Bangkok 10330, THAILAND, Fax: +662 251 5956 / 205 3738 / 255 1975-8; feedback@police.go.th

Permanent Mission of Thailand to the United Nations in Geneva, rue Gustave Moynier 5, 1202 Geneva, Switzerland, Tel: + 41 22 715 10 10; Fax: + 41 22 715 10 00 / 10 02; Email: mission.thailand@ties.itu.int

Embassy of Thailand in Brussels, 2 Sq. du Val de la Cambre, 1050 Ixelles, Belgium, Tel: + 32 2 640.68.10; Fax: + 32 2 .648.30.66. Email : thaibxl@pophost.eunet.be

Please also write to the diplomatic mission or embassy of Thailand in your respective country


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