Arbitrary 112 detention

1 01 2022

Prachatai reports that the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has urged the royalist regime to immediately release lese majeste detainee Anchan Preelerd.

Anchan, who is 65, is serving a prison sentence of 43 years and six months for violating Article 112. In fact, she was sentenced on 19 January 2021, almost six years after her arrest, to a mammoth 87 years in prison, with the sentence reduced because she finally agreed to plead guilty because she had already spent three years in prison pending her trial – what PPT calls lese majeste torture, waiting for her to plead guilty.

The “reduced” sentence was said to be the longest sentence ever under Article 112.

Clipped from Prachatai

The report states:

The WGAD opinion was issued in response to a complaint filed jointly by FIDH [International Federation for Human Rights] and Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) to the UN body on 7 July 2021. In its opinion, the WGAD found the deprivation of liberty of Anchan under Article 112 to be “arbitrary” and called on the Thai government to “release her immediately,” taking into account the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic in places of detention, and to “accord her an enforceable right to compensation and other reparations.”

… The WGAD expressed its grave concern about the pattern of arbitrary detentions under Article 112, particularly those involving online expression, and the “serious harm to society” caused by the enforcement of the law.

The WGAD also called on the Thai government to bring Article 112 into conformity with Thailand’s obligations under international human rights law….

The WGAD declared Anchan’s imprisonment arbitrary because it contravened Articles 3, 8, 9, 10, and 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and Articles 2, 9, 14, and 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Thailand is a state party. The referenced provisions of the UDHR and ICCPR guarantee the fundamental right to liberty, the right to a fair trial, and the right to freedom of opinion and expression.

… The WGAD found that Anchan’s deprivation of liberty lacked legal basis, because it stemmed from an arrest without a valid arrest warrant issued by a competent, independent, and impartial judicial authority. Anchan’s initial detention at the military base without being brought before a judge was also in violation of her right to challenge the lawfulness of her detention, guaranteed under Articles 8 and 9 of the UDHR and Articles 2 and 9(3) of the ICCPR. In addition, Anchan was detained pursuant to Article 112, a legislation that the WGAD has consistently found it “expressly violates international human rights law.”

The WGAD also ruled that Anchan was detained as a result of her “peaceful exercise of the right to freedom of expression.” The WGAD considered the audio clips concerning members of the Thai royal family that Anchan uploaded onto social media platforms to “fall within the boundaries of the exercise of the right to freedom of expression” under Article 19 of the UDHR and Article 19 of the ICCPR.

FIDH Secretary-General Adilur Rahman Khan stated:

The UN opinion on Anchan’s case underscores the supreme injustice to which she has been subjected and the recurring and serious human rights violations associated with the enforcement of Article 112. It’s time for the Thai government to break the chain of lèse-majesté arrests, prosecutions, and detentions and heed the growing domestic and international calls for the reform of Article 112….

FIDH and TLHR called “for the immediate and unconditional release of Anchan and all other individuals detained under Article 112.”

This is the ninth time since 2012 that the WGAD has found that lese majeste detainees were arbitrarily deprived of their liberty.


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