Further updated: Students released

7 07 2015

The Bangkok Post reports that the 14 student activists of Dao Din have been – or soon will be – released.

With rising discontent and increasing support for the students, the military court “rejected a request by military police for permission to detain them for another 12 days for further investigation.” The court “rejected the request on the grounds the students had not tried to flee and there was no reason to detain them further.” But this is not the end of the case, for the court also stated that “continued detention would make it difficult for the students to prepare their case to defend themselves in court.” This means the charges remain in place and the students could end up back in jail.

Update 1: Still waiting.

Update 2: Prachatai reports that the students were released from prison at 5.30 a.m. Wednesday.





Supporting the students

6 07 2015

Readers might find this page of interest. It is a Statement “For our friends” From Thai Students in Europe who are against the coup d’état. It’s demands are:

As a part of students in European countries, we believe that higher education anywhere in the world has a duty of encouraging their students to think, speak and express what they believe in with reasons. We believe that differences in ideas are normal and necessary. Without arguments, there will be no progress in any discipline, and the society will never move towards democracy. We believe that knowledge, thoughts and truth we hold should not put anyone in a serious bind that these Thai students are facing now. Therefore, we declare the following:

1. The 14 students must be released immediately without condition. They are innocent, and manifest peacefully on their own accord. There is no malicious secret support many groundlessly accuse them of having.
2. We would like to support the “New Democracy Movement” which consists of citizens who support the students, with 5 principles of democracy, justice, people’s involvement, human rights, and peace.
3. We ask international organisations, such as the European Union, the United Nations, and other human rights organisations, to keep a close watch on Thailand’s situation. The threats against the students are threats against thoughts, and are a grave danger to any democratic society.
4. We ask students, professors and citizens who value democracy to support the movements of these students however they can, directly or indirectly. Do not let the demand for democracy become the wrong thing.
Down with dictatorship! Democracy must prevail!





Students to military court

6 07 2015

As we usually do, the following is from the Asian Human Rights Commission. We realize that PPT is being heavily blocked by the military dictatorship at present, yet getting this word out may be useful.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
AHRC-FST-034-2015
July 06, 2015

A Statement from the Protection International, Thailand Team forwarded by the Asian Human Rights Commission

THAILAND: Call for observation — 14 students and allied activists face an extension of pre-trial detention on Tuesday 7th July at Bangkok Military Court

Protection International calls upon you to be present at the Bangkok Military Court[1] on Tuesday 7th July at 9:00AM to witness the proceedings facing the 14 students and allied activists who were arrested on Friday 16th June on sedition charges. As publicised by the Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (a lawyer group providing lawyers and legal support to the 7 Dao Din students amongst the 14 activists) the 14 activists will challenge the request for a new custody permission of 12 days which will be filed by the Public Prosecutor on Tuesday 7th July. However, the 14 activists remain united in their refusal to apply for bail as they reject the legitimacy of the charges and don’t accept being tried in military court.

Chonticha Chaengrew, the only woman activist in the group of 14, being held at Bangkok’s Central Women’s Correctional Institution was transferred to a prison hospital on Thursday 2nd July to treat wounds she has been suffering from since the violent crackdown by authorities at the Bangkok Arts and Culture Centre on 22nd May 2015. The 13 male activists currently being held in Bangkok Remand Prison were separated into different sections of the prison in the evening of Wednesday 1st July. The 13 have shaved their heads in protest of this measure. We remain concerned about the physical and psychological well-being of all 14 detained as they face arbitrary detention for an extended period of time.

National Human Rights Commissioner and Chairperson of the NHRC Sub-Committee on Civil and Political Rights, Dr. Niran Pitakwatchara, held an enquiry meeting on Thursday 2nd July 2015. The lawyers of the students and allied activists, representatives of the Law Society of Thailand, the communities which the Dao Din student group works with, the parents of the students and allied activists, and professors from Thammasart University, were invited to the enquiry meeting. The meeting was observed by plainclothes military officials. Dr. Niran said that the behaviour of the authorities constituted an intervention in the work of the NHRC. Furthermore, family members, friends, lawyers and community-based Human Rights Defenders affiliated to the 14 detained activists continue to face intensive intimidation and monitoring by authorities, as well as a public media campaign by the government to delegitimise the work of the students and allies.

Thus, we call on you to:

Lobby the National Council for Peace and Order to immediately and unconditionally drop all charges and against all 16 activists (including 2 activists released on bail, facing fewer charges);
Demand for the immediate and unconditional release of all 14 activists;
Be present inside the Bangkok Military Court hearing on Tuesday 7th July at 9:00AM;
Publicly condemn the Human Rights violations and repression of civil and political rights which this criminalisation of peaceful, pro-democratic activism constitutes;
Lobby the National Council for Peace and Order to immediately stop the campaign of intimidation, harassment and misinformation which is targeted at the detained activists’ families, friends, lawyers, allied community-based HRDs, academics and other affinity groups.

Further call on the National Council for Peace and Order to cooperate with independent Human Rights mechanisms and allow them to work effectively in Thailand, namely by ensuring their ability to conduct country visits.

Bangkok Military Court

Judge Advocate General’s Department,
Ministry of Defence, Lak Muang Road,
Phra Borommaha Ratchawang Sub District,
Phra Nakorn District, Bangkok 10200.
The Court can be reached at Tel. 02 222 3887 or Tel. 02 224 0041 extension 207.





Rose on the lawless country with the king as head of state

30 06 2015

Chatwadee Rose Amornpat is a Thai activist living abroad who has been accused and charged with lese majeste. She has sent the following article to PPT and we reproduce it as received, with a couple of links added:

RoseWith all the turmoil which is being waged in Thailand now, it is interesting to observe that one so-called “revered” institution, namely, the monarch and/or the monarchy, has not come out to stop the chaos and the daily arrests of unarmed and peaceful democracy activists and alleged lese majeste violators.

Thai royalists and the royal household often surreptitiously inform the local and foreign media that the king has no political power to do anything, but a quick glance at the current constitution reveals the opposite results.

Though the junta chief. Gen. Prayuth Chan-Ocha stated last May 22, 2014 after he successfully seized power from a democratically-elected government, that the constitution was then abrogated except “all the constitutional articles relating to the monarch and lese majeste law.” That is to say, the laws concerning the power of the king, his welfare and his protection through the barbaric and unjust lese majeste law would be left intact and enforceable.

It is very odd indeed. To me, now we do not have just one dictator but two dictators in the same country!

This is symbiotic relationships between the monarchy and the military, which have been going on for the past six decades, while the poor people of Thailand continue to suffer and their quality of life worsen. One can still see many poor children of Thailand selling garlands to drivers of cars on the busy and smoggy streets in Bangkok every morning. Such poor children should have been in school, not selling garlands or flowers to help their family! It pains me to see such a sight.

Symbiotic relationships, according to “thefreedictionary.com,” are a special type of interaction between species. Sometimes beneficial, sometimes harmful, these relationships are essential to many organisms and ecosystems, and they provide a balance that can only be achieved by working together.

Indeed I compare the Thai monarchy and military to low-class animals which are the lowest of the lows as they have done nothing good for the Thai people. The monarchy has always stayed intact while the general changes every 5 or 10 years during the past 19 coup d’ tates. Because of this fact, one can only see that with all the troubles happening in Thailand, we can only blame it at the top, the monarchy. This is the main character which never changes.

Here’s a look at the current laws relating to the monarchy which Gen. Prayuth left intact, though he abrogated the constitution when he seized power from the former PM Yingluck Sinawatra.

Section 3 of the Thai constitution states:
The sovereign power belongs to the Thai people. The King as Head of State shall exercise such power through the National Assembly, the Council of Ministers and the Courts in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution.
The above Section is not known to Westerners or even most Thais. It is like saying the car belongs to the people but only the king can drive the car. Or, the people own the gun but only the
king can pull the trigger. In both cases, the people have to do the maintenance and upkeep of the car and gun.

Section 8 of the Thai constitution states:
The King shall be enthroned in a position of revered worship and shall not be violated. No person shall expose the King to any sort of accusation or action.
This section means the Thai King is like God and no one can sue the King even if he commits robbery, blatant lies, mayhem or murders. Article 112 of the Thai Criminal Code states:
No one can criticize the king and any member of his family, even if such criticisms are based on the truth.
This is called “lese majeste” and it carries a jail term of 3 to 15 years for each offense.

Section 10 states:
The King holds the position of Supreme Commander of the Thai Armed Forces.

Section 11 is:
The King has the prerogative to create titles and confer decorations.
Last Friday, June 19, 2015, Thai police arrested 14 students who had been protesting against the ruling junta, in defiance of a ban on public gatherings. These are young university students who are brave and full of democratic spirit. They just want nothing except the rights to express themselves freely on issues effecting their lives and future. They are now confined to a filthy and crowded Thai jail in Bangkok.

I urge the leaders of the civilized world and all the human rights organizations to put pressures on the Thai junta to release these students unconditionally.

The students took part in peaceful rallies calling for an end to military rule under the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO). The army commander-in-chief, Gen. Udomdej Seetabutr, publicly accused the 14 student activists of being backed by anti-government groups and claimed their actions could lead to disturbances and violence.

Additionally, Gen. Udomdej Seetabutr, who was hand-picked by the top royals to head the Army’s top brass, has indicated that a charge of lese majeste may be leveled on them, because these students may have gotten supports from anti-monarchy elements as well.

It is against the international norm that the Thai Army is designed to protect only the monarchy as opposed to protecting the country!

I can’t help but to draw the attention to another group of students who were arrested and charged with lese majeste law violations in 2014. These brave young people are university students with bright future but cut short by the military and the monarchy. Two were arrested and sentenced in jail while the rest of them had to leave their university study and are now in hiding or flee the country.

Patiwat Saraiyaem, 23, and Pornthip Munkong, 26, involved in producing a play called “The Wolf Bride” about a fictional monarch and his adviser. It was performed at the prestigeous Thammasat University in 2013 to mark the anniversary of a successful 1973 anti-dictatorship uprising led by students.

Their bail requests were repeatedly turned down by a Bangkok court. Both had pleaded guilty, a common practice in lese majeste cases in December 2014. Because failure to do so only means a 100% guilty verdict and a long jail term.

In announcing the verdict, a Bangkok Criminal Court judge said the play contained content that insulted and defamed the monarchy and was shown in front of a large number of spectators.

Keep in mind all Thai judges are approved and appointed by the king. Thus there is no chance of acquittal in any lese majeste case. Now all the lese majeste cases are being handled by the military court.

Now not even people who are suffering from mental illness are spared from lese majeste charge.

A man was sentenced to more than three years in jail last week under lese majeste law, a controversial royal defamation law, despite having a history of mental illness. Tanet Nonthakot, 45, from northeastern Phetchabun province, is the second person in the last few months suffering from mental health condition to be convicted under this barbaric law.

Not even a very friendly and mild-mannered editor of the prestigious on-line newspaper, Thai E-News, Somsak Pakdeedej, 36, who was sentenced to 5 years in prison for allowing an article deemed lese majeste to be published three years ago.

Since the coup on May 22, 2014, in addition to the hundreds and hundreds of intellectuals and democracy activists who are now serving long jail term, scores of free spirited academics have fled the country and are now living in exile in neighboring Laos and Cambodia. Thanks to the Internet, they are now waging a daily and weekly war in cyberspace against the military junta as well as the monarchy who is alleged to be the mastermind of all the messes including the 10 coups in Thailand.

Three distinguished individuals with whom I greatly admire and who have sacrificed all their life for equality, justice and democracy for Thailand:

Suda Rangkupan, in her 40’s, a Fullbright scholar and holder of a doctorate degree and university professor, chose to flee the country when she received a call from the military junta to report to their central command for the so-called “attitude adjustment.”

Dr. Rangkupan is a very courageous woman who has cared for the poor much more than herself. She has a long history of fighting for justice and equality. She is a champion for the poor. A woman with her impressive credentials, she could have easily enjoyed her life as a university professor, just as the rest of the complacent academics in universities throughout Thailand now.

Because of her democracy activism, after 13 years as a professor at Chulalornkorn University, she was forced to resign or fired by her department chief. Soon after that, a call from the junta, she informed me that she chose to flee the country and continues with her noble struggle for justice. She had been at the forefront of Thailand’s democracy movements. She is now waging a cyber war against the military junta and the monarchy. Her Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/sudarang ) receives thousands of views from her supporters, Thai and foreigners alike, from all over the world each day. Here’s Dr. Suda Rangkupan’s impressive resume.

Surachai Dangwathananusorn, aka, Surachai Sae Dang, in his mid 70’s. Surachai is considered a legendary democracy activist since the era of student uprising at Thammasart university in 1973 during the era of Gen. Thanom Kitikachon. He spent a total of 22 years in Thai jail for the alleged “encouraging uprisings against the military regimes.” He, too, chose to flee the country, because the military junta filed a lese majeste charge on him after the coup by Gen. Prayuth Chan-Ocha. He is considered the Nelson Mandela of Thailand. His weekly broadcast in YouTube is heard by his supporters all over the world.

Phisanu Phomsorn, aks “Anti” who was charged with lese majeste law violation for giving several speeches at Red Shirt’s political events. He, too, fled the country and is now living in exile at the border around Vietnam and Cambodia. His weekly program on Thai royalty and politics has been very popular among Thai audience in Northeast Thailand.

It is now becoming clearer and clearer that Thailand is being raped and governed by 2 types of thieves-in-uniforms which share a symbiotic relationship.

Under the so-called “Article 44” which gives unlimited power to the junta, they can just about do anything they so please from search anyone house or body without a warrant or jailing anyone on any minor charges. Now many lower ranking soldiers are behaving like hooligans extorting money from street vendors and retailers in up-country and big cities in open daylight with impunity.

The first type of thieves-in-uniform is the monarchy with the king dubbed as head of state who often wears decorative pins and trappings and occasionally wears uniforms similar to characters in ancient, Ramayana play, with head gears ancient hat for religious ceremonies. This type is only concerned about their stability and their vast wealth under the control of his investment arms, “Crown Property Bureau.” They tend to prolong their continued status qua and privileges and entitlement for generations to come.

The second thieves-in-uniform is the military, the generals, who benefit from their collusion with the monarchy for decades. Each top general has benefited from the yearly military budget and the allocation for purchases of arms. Each year, the budget gets increased by 10-20 percents even though Thailand has no wars or conflicts with her neighbors.

The top brass stands to benefit millions and millions of dollars or bahts in terms of commission.
This is a known fact among officials in the Thai Armed Forces.

Unless Thai people unite and demand the reorganization of the two institutions from the group floor and up, the chance of realizing a true democracy is probably next to nothing.

Last but not least, I hope that world leaders from the United States, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, France, Germany and all the civilized nations which have commercial contacts or educational exchanges with Thailand continue to put pressures and bring about the human rights issue and the need to abolish their despicable lese majeste law once and for all.





UN Human Rights Office for South East Asia on arrested students

30 06 2015

PRESS RELEASE: OHCHR URGES THAILAND TO RELEASE STUDENTS

BANGKOK (30 JUNE 2015) – The United Nations Human Rights Office for South East Asia (OHCHR) urges the Government to promptly drop criminal charges against students who have been arrested in Bangkok for peacefully demonstrating in public and release them from custody. It further urges the Government to review its use of laws that limit freedom of expression and freedom of assembly in line with its obligations under international human rights law.

On 26 June, police and soldiers arrested 14 students in Bangkok based on a warrant issued by the military court for allegedly inciting unrest under section 116 of the Criminal Code. The charges relate to a demonstration held by the students at the Democracy Monument in Bangkok on 25 June. Section 116 carries a maximum sentence of seven years in prison.

The students already had arrest warrants issued against them for having conducted peaceful demonstrations in Bangkok and Khon Kaen on 22 May to mark the first anniversary of the coup d’état, allegedly in breach of Order No. 3/2015 of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO). The NCPO Order prohibits political gatherings of more than five people with a maximum sentence of six months in prison.

Another two students appeared at the military court in Bangkok on 29 June for breaching the NCPO order for participating in the 22 May demonstrations. One reported himself to the police on 22 June and was later released on bail. The other student was arrested at hospital based on a warrant while she was receiving medical treatment.

As a state party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Thailand has the obligation to uphold the right to freedom of expression (article 19) and the right to freedom of peaceful assembly (article 21). Although both articles allow the rights to be restricted, any restriction has to be by law, necessary for a legitimate purpose and proportional to achieve the need. OHCHR is concerned that criminal prosecutions for peaceful assembly and expression that carry long prison terms are not necessary or proportional.

On 23 May 2014, a day after the coup d’état, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights publicly expressed serious concern about the restrictions on fundamental freedoms imposed by the NCPO, adding that freedom of expression and freedom of assembly are particularly important in resolving difficult political issues through dialogue and debate. Now more than one year on, despite pledges by the Government to promptly restore the rule of law, restrictions on fundamental freedoms remain in place.

ENDS

The Regional Office for South-East Asia in Bangkok represents the High Commissioner for Human Rights within South East Asia. The High Commissioner for Human Rights is the principal human rights official of the United Nations and heads the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, which spearheads the United Nations’ human rights efforts.

OHCHR website: http://www.ohchr.org
OHCHR Regional Office for South-East Asia website:
http://bangkok.ohchr.org/
แถลงการณ์สำนักงานข้าหลวงใหญ่เพื่อสิทธิมนุษยชนภูมิภาคเอเชียตะวันออกเฉียงใต้

สำนักงานข้าหลวงใหญ่เพื่อสิทธิมนุษยชนแห่งสหประชาชาติเรียกร้องให้รัฐบาลไทยปล่อยตัวนักศึกษา

กรุงเทพมหานคร (30 มิถุนายน 2558) – สำนักงานข้าหลวงใหญ่เพื่อสิทธิมนุษยชนแห่งสหประชาชาติ
ภูมิภาคเอเชียตะวันออกเฉียงใต้ (OHCHR) เรียกร้องให้รัฐบาลไทยยุติการดำเนินคดีอาญาต่อนักศึกษาซึ่ง
ถูกจับกุมเนื่องจากการชุมนุมโดยสงบในที่สาธารณะในกรุงเทพฯ และปล่อยตัวพวกเขาจากสถานที่ควบคุม
โดยทันที สำนักงานข้าหลวงใหญ่ฯ ยังเรียกร้องให้รัฐบาลไทยทบทวนการใช้กฎหมายที่จำกัดเสรีภาพใน
การแสดงออกและเสรีภาพในการชุมนุมให้สอดคล้องกับพันธกรณีของไทยภายใต้กฎหมายสิทธิ
มนุษยชนระหว่างประเทศ

เมื่อวันที่ 26 มิถุนายน เจ้าหน้าที่ตำรวจและทหารจับกุมนักศึกษา 14 คน ในกรุงเทพฯ ตามหมายจับที่
ออกโดยศาลทหารในข้อกล่าวหาว่าร่วมกันกระทำเพื่อก่อความไม่สงบขึ้นในราชอาณาจักร ตามมาตรา
116 ของประมวลกฎหมายอาญา ข้อกล่าวหานี้ถูกเชื่อมโยงกับการชุมนุมที่นักศึกษาจัดขึ้นที่อนุสาวรีย์
ประชาธิปไตย ในกรุงเทพฯ เมื่อวันที่ 25 มิถุนายน มาตรา 116 มีระวางโทษสูงสุด จำคุกไม่เกินเจ็ดปี

นักศึกษาได้ถูกออกหมายจับมาก่อนแล้วจากการจัดการชุมนุมโดยสงบทั้งในกรุงเทพฯ และในจังหวัดขอน
แก่น เมื่อวันที่ 22 พฤษภาคม ที่ผ่านมาในโอกาสครบรอบหนึ่งปีรัฐประหาร การชุมนุมดังกล่าวถูกกล่าวหา
ว่าฝ่าฝืนคำสั่งฉบับที่ 3/2558 ของคณะรักษาความสงบแห่งชาติ (คสช.) ซึ่งระบุห้ามการชุมนุมทาง
การเมืองที่มีจำนวนตั้งแต่ห้าคนขึ้นไป และมีระวางโทษสูงสุด จำคุกไม่เกินหกเดือน

เมื่อวันที่ 29 มิถุนายน นักศึกษาอีกสองคนถูกดำเนินคดีในศาลทหารกรุงเทพฯ ในข้อหาฝ่าฝืนคำ
สั่งคสช.และเข้าร่วมการชุมนุมเมื่อวันที่ 22 พฤษภาคม นักศึกษาคนหนึ่งเข้ารายงานตัวกับตำรวจเมื่อวันที่
22 มิถุนายนและได้รับการประกันตัว ในขณะที่ นักศึกษาอีกคนหนึ่งถูกจับกุมจากหมายจับดังกล่าวระหว่าง
กำลังเข้ารับการรักษาที่โรงพยาบาล

ประเทศไทยในฐานะที่เป็นภาคีสมาชิกของกติการะหว่างประเทศว่าด้วยสิทธิพลเมืองและสิทธิทาง
การเมือง มีพันธกรณีที่จะต้องรับรองสิทธิที่จะมีเสรีภาพในการแสดงออก (ข้อ 19) และ สิทธิที่จะมีเสรี
ภาพในการชุมนุมโดยสงบ (ข้อ 21) แม้ว่าสิทธิทั้งสองตามกติการะหว่างประเทศนี้จะสามารถถูกจำกัด
ได้ แต่การจำกัดสิทธิดังกล่าวต้องเป็นไปตามที่กฎหมายกำหนด และคำนึงถึงความจำเป็นว่าเป็นไปเพื่อ
วัตถุประสงค์ที่มีความชอบธรรมหรือไม่ และได้สัดส่วนกับความจำเป็นหรือไม่ สำนักงานข้าหลวงใหญ่ฯ มี
ความกังวลว่าการดำเนินคดีอาญาที่มีระวางโทษจำคุกยาวนานต่อการใช้เสรีภาพในการชุมนุมโดยสงบและ
การแสดงออก ถือว่าไม่มีความจำเป็นและไม่ได้สัดส่วน

เมื่อวันที่ 23 พฤษภาคม 2557 หนึ่งวันหลังจากที่มีการรัฐประหาร ข้าหลวงใหญ่เพื่อสิทธิมนุษยชนแห่ง
สหประชาชาติแสดงความกังวลอย่างยิ่งต่อการจำกัดเสรีภาพขั้นพื้นฐานโดยคสช. โดยให้ความเห็นว่าเสรี
ภาพในการแสดงออกและเสรีภาพในการชุมนุมมีความสำคัญอย่างยิ่งต่อการแก้ไขประเด็นปัญหาทาง
การเมืองที่ยุ่งยากโดยผ่านการพูดคุยหารือและการอภิปราย ขณะนี้ นับเป็นเวลามากกว่าหนึ่งปีแล้ว แม้
รัฐบาลจะให้คำมั่นว่าจะนำหลักนิติธรรมกลับคืนมา แต่การจำกัดเสรีภาพขั้นพื้นฐานยังคงมีอยู่ต่อไป
จบ

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
Regional Office for South-East Asia
ESCAP, UN Secretariat Building
6th Floor, Block A
Rajdamnern Nok Avenue, Bangkok 10200
Tel. (662) 288 1235, Fax. (662) 288 1039
Website: http://bangkok.ohchr.org
Email: ohchr.bangkok@un.org





Statement of people standing behind the Neo Democracy Movement

30 06 2015

PPT found this at change.org, and we reproduce as it was there:

Statement of people standing behind the Neo Democracy Movement

In Thailand, fourteen students have been indicted with the Military Court and now detained in the Bangkok Remand Prison simply because they have protested peacefully against the military dictatorship on 22 May this year. We are demanding that they be released unconditionally and their charges dropped.

Rangsiman Rome, Wasant Sadesit, Songtham Kaewpanphruek, Payu Boonsopon, Apiwat Suntararak, Rattapol Supasophon, Supachai Pookhlongploy, Apisit Sapnapaphan, Panupong Sritananuwat, Suvicha Pitungkorn, Pakorn Areekul, Chatupat Boonyapatraksa, Pornchai Yuanyee and Chonticha Chaengreo, among them thirteen male and one female students from universities in Bangkok and Khon Kaen, were pressed with charges relating to the violation of the NCPO orders banning political gathering and the Penal Code’s Article 116 (sedition). If convicted, they could each face up to seven years of imprisonment.

Nonviolence is not a crime. A demand for democracy cannot be criminalized. An act to promote and uphold human rights, community rights and public participation cannot be treated as a threat to national security. A call for justice cannot be rewarded with punishment.

Instead of addressing the gripping economic crisis, instead of getting ready to cope with the spread of fatal MERS virus, the military junta in Thailand led by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, who staged a military coup last May, has mobilized resources simply to capture fourteen unarmed students. The Military Court was open even at midnight simply to indict and to order the remand of the student activists. Since after the 2014 coup, orders have been issued to authorize the Military Court to have jurisdiction over cases against civilians. All of the activists who have come out against the military regime have been arrested, indicted or already convicted by the Military Court, which is condemned by international human rights organizations including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch as lacking independence and failing to ensure the right to fair trial.

The draconian Section 44 of the Interim 2014 Constitution has been lately invoked to replace Martial Law. It has given even more power to the authorities to hold a person in custody arbitrarily and increased a risk of torture and ill-treatment in custody. The law has been used to essentially stifle dissent in Thailand. We feel concerned that the fourteen students who are now detained at least twelve days could face the same brutal treatment.

So we demand that they be released and their charges dropped unconditionally.

แถลงการณ์ของประชาชนผู้อยู่เบื้องหลังขบวนการประชาธิปไตยใหม่

ถ้าการต่อสู้ด้วยสันติวิธีกลายเป็นอาชญากรรม
ถ้าการเรียกร้องประชาธิปไตยกลายเป็นความผิด
ถ้าการสนับสนุนสิทธิมนุษยชน สิทธิชุมชนและการมีส่วนร่วมของประชาชนกลายเป็นภัยต่อความมั่นคงของประเทศ
ถ้าการเพรียกหาความยุติธรรมกลายเป็นการถูกลงโทษทัณฑ์
ประเทศแบบไหนกันที่รัฐบาลทหารและ คสช.กำลังสร้างทิ้งไว้ให้เรา?

ในขณะที่เศรษฐกิจประเทศกำลังทรุดหนัก ภัยแล้งกำลังสร้างความทุกข์ยากเดือดร้อนทั่วทุกหัวระแหง โรค MERS กำลังเป็นภัยคุกคามใหม่ต่อชีวิตประชาชน รัฐบาลทหารของพลเอกประยุทธ์ จันทร์โอชากลับมีเวลาว่างมากพอที่จะระดมกำลังออกมาจับนักศึกษา 14 คน ระบบราชการที่ไม่เคยทำงานเกินสี่โมงเย็นกลับสามารถออกหมายจับหมายค้นนอกเวลา ราชการ แถมยังเปิดศาลทหารพิจารณาคดีตอนสี่ทุ่มได้ราวกับร้านสะดวกซื้อ

นี่ชี้ให้เห็นว่ารัฐบาลทหารของพลเอกประยุทธ์ จันทร์โอชาทำงานเพื่อใคร? พวกเขาไม่ได้ทำงานเพื่อประเทศชาติหรือประชาชนอย่างที่พล่ามปาว ๆ แต่ทำงานเพื่อความมั่นคงของตัวเองและตัวเองเท่านั้น

ทั้งที่มีอำนาจล้นฟ้า มีแสนยานุภาพเต็มอัตราศึก มีมาตรา 44 ในกำมือ มีศาลทหารไว้ข่มขู่ประชาชน มีอันธพาลนอกเครื่องแบบคอยทำร้ายคุกคามคนคิดต่าง แต่รัฐบาลทหารก็ยังรู้สึกไม่มั่นคง พวกเขากลัวนักศึกษาที่ทำแค่ชูป้ายผ้า ตัวสั่นเทาเมื่อได้ยินคำว่า “คสช.ออกไป!” ความกลัวของพวกเขาใหญ่กว่าอำนาจและอาวุธในมือเสียอีก

รัฐบาลทหารของพลเอกประยุทธ์ จันทร์โอชากลัวการแสดงความคิดเห็นแตกต่าง เพราะพวกเขารู้ตัวดีว่าบริหารประเทศไม่เป็น ไม่มีปัญญาแก้ปัญหาอะไรได้ แต่พวกเขายังดื้อดึงอยู่ต่อไป เพื่อรักษาอำนาจและรักษาผลประโยชน์ของตัวเองไว้ท่ามกลางความฉิบหายของบ้าน เมือง

ถ้าวันนี้เราปล่อยให้รัฐบาลทหารลงโทษนักศึกษาที่ต่อสู้เพื่อประเทศชาติ และประชาชน ต่อไปเราก็ต้องยอมก้มหน้าจำนนอยู่ภายใต้อำนาจบาตรใหญ่ของรัฐบาลเผด็จการโง่ เง่าไร้ประสิทธิภาพ เราจะปล่อยให้อนาคตของตัวเราอยู่ในกำมือของคนเขลาคลั่งอำนาจหรือ? หรือเราจะลุกขึ้นและทวงการกำหนดชะตากรรมของตัวเราคืนกลับมา?

พลเอกประยุทธ์ จันทร์โอชาเคยกล่าวเองว่า “ไม่มีใครเรียกผม ผมมาเอง” นั่นเท่ากับยอมรับแล้วว่าเขาไม่เคยมีความชอบธรรมในการบริหารประเทศ แต่การจะนั่งรอให้เขาสำนึกได้เองและยอมสละจากอำนาจนั้นคงยากยิ่งกว่าสอนกบ เต้นรำ ประชาชนเท่านั้นที่จะผลักให้เขาลงจากอำนาจได้

อย่าได้วอนขอความเมตตาจากเผด็จการ เพราะนั่นเท่ากับเรายอมรับอำนาจของคนบ้า ประชาชนจงลุกขึ้นและบอกเผด็จการเถิดว่าปล่อยนักศึกษาเดี๋ยวนี้ ปล่อยนักศึกษาออกมาอ่านหนังสือสอบ ออกมาตีปิงปอง ออกมาเล่นเกมส์ฟีฟ่าออนไลน์ ออกมาเปลี่ยนกางเกงใน ออกมาชูป้ายผ้าประชาธิปไตย และออกมาแสดงความคิดเห็นอย่างเสรี

นี่คืออนาคตของเรา ประชาชนต้องการอำนาจตัดสินใจคืนมา คสช.ต้องออกไปและคืนอำนาจให้ประชาชน!





To the general

30 06 2015

A reader sent a translation of a letter from the imprisoned students to The Dictator. PPT reproduces it as received:

The letter from 13 prisoners to General Prayuth Chan-ocha

Today is the third day that our freedom has been in capture under the order of NCPO leader No.3/2558 in this jail.

Even though we’ve had full three meals but each meal has been without friends and companions that we used to join. We haven’t seen what from their eyes and certainly we miss them.
Even though we have sleep gears, roof protecting us from the rain and the sun but it is not our house, no warm hugs from our beloved. Even though we have breathing but it is so far from our dreams.

The breathing we have to day is just the breath waiting for Freedom to come in the future while we are not sure whether we will still remain our dreams or not when the time comes. Anyway, we still have the full mind power whenever we recall our friends’ fight of NDM (Neo-Democracy Movement) aiming at the five principles: Democracy, Human Rights, Justice, Participation and Peace.

We wish General Prayuth Chan-ocha, the person who ordered to arrest and chain us to realize and understand the necessity of such principles too.

Signature
Dictator Ruined, Democracy Strive
13 Prisoners of Neo-Democracy Movement
June 29, 2015

จดหมายจาก 13 เชลย ถึงพลเอกประยุทธ จันทรโอชา
นับเป็นวันที่ สามแล้ว ที่เสรีภาพของพวกเราถูกคุมขังภายใต้คำสั่งของหัวหน้าคสช ที่ 3/2558 ภายในเรือนจำแห่งนี้
แม้ ว่าเราจะมีอาหารให้กินครบสามมื้อ แต่ทุกๆมื้อ ก็เป็นการกินที่ปราศจากเพื่อน และคนที่เรารู้จักที่เคยร่วมโต๊ะอาหาร เราไม่เห็นแววตาพวกเขา และแน่นอนว่าพวกเราคิดถึงพวกเขา
แม้ ว่าพวกเราจะมีที่หลับนอน มีชายคากันแดดและฝน แต่มันจะไม่เป็นเหมือนบ้าน ไม่มีรอยยิ้มของพ่อแม่ ไม่มีอ้อมกอดอบอุ่นจากคนที่เรารัก แม้ว่าเรายังมีลมหายใจแต่ก็เป็นลมหายใจที่ไกลห่างจากหนทางของความฝัน
ลม หายใจที่เรามีอยู่ในวันนี้ เป็นลมหายใจที่รอคอยการพบกับเสรีภาพในวันข้างหน้า โดยที่เราไม่รู้ว่า เมื่อวันนั้นมาถึง เราจะยังมีความฝันอยู่หรือไม่ แม้เรามีกำลังใจที่เต็มเปี่ยม เมื่อนึกถึงการต่อสู้ของเพื่อน ขบวนการประชาธิปไตยใหม่ โดยหวังหลักการห้าข้อ ประชาธิปไตย สิทธิมนุษยชน ความยุติธรรม การมีส่วนร่วม และสันติวิธี

เราอธิษฐานให้ พลเอกประยุทธ จันทรโอชา ผู้ออกคำสั่งในการจองจำเราได้ตระหนัก และเข้าใจถึงความสำคัญของหลักการดังกล่าว
ลงชื่อ
เผด็จการจงพินาศ ประชาธิปไตยจงเจริญ
13 เชลย ขบวนการประชาธิปไตยใหม่
29 มิย 58 เรือนจำพิเศษกรุงเทพ





Don’t believe the military dictatorship

29 06 2015

In a report at The Nation, Deputy Government spokesman Maj-General Sansern Kaewkamnerd has “warned the public to consume information with judgement…”. We almost never agree with much that emerges from the official mouthpieces of The Dictator and his junta. After all, they are propagandists. However, this time he is absolutely correct.

We think no one should consume any propaganda from the military dictatorship with considerable “judgement.” Indeed, with considerable skepticism. This is especially the case for the reports from the junta regarding the students currently languishing in jail for being anti-coup and remembering the 1932 Revolution.

Police have been ordered to find the “puppet masters” who the junta believes are “behind” the students. There are no such figures. These students have long been independent activists and have shown few links with any political movement or party. So the Keystone Cops are identifying those who have offered even moral support to the students and their cause as “puppet masters.”

It was only a day ago that PPT predicted the discovery of a “plot.” We stated: expect some arrests and a claim of a network and plot, with a likelihood for lese majeste accusations and undefined threats to national security. The junta is moving down this path.

Metropolitan Police Chief Lt-General Sriwara Rangsipramkul said that “[a]vailable evidence suggests possible links…. We believe there will be more arrests pretty soon.”

As ludicrous as this is, the junta is agitated about the defiance of the students and “are preparing to arrest suspects the authorities believe have steered the anti-coup movement from behind the scenes.” Perhaps academics who have issued statements supporting the students will be harassed in the way that their lawyers have.

Apparently this is the “plan” as PM’s Office Minister Suwaphan Tanyuvardhana said the student’s supporters “such as academics and others who backed them” were not necessarily campaigning “with honest intent.”

The Nation is wrong in stating that the cops had search warrants to search lawyer Sirikan Charoensiri’s car, for they initially attempted an illegal search, returning later with a warrant. In that “search,” the cops searched the car, parked at the Bangkok Military Court, seizing “five mobile phones believed to belong to the arrested students.”

This exercise is so pathetic that the report states that the police “are considering whether to charge Sirikan.” We expect that holding mobile phones is not yet a crime, even in the junta’s Thailand, so the cops will have to invent something.

Lawyer Yaowalak Anuphan said that the arrested “students … had no intention to requesting bail.” She added that they consider “themselves as political prisoners and they hoped the junta would release all political prisoners, not just them.”

As usual when the military dictatorship is making stuff up, its puppet and hired minions have expressed support and legality for the junta’s illegal actions. Odious Deputy Prime Minister-for-hire Wissanu Krea-ngam claimed “that the ban on political rallies” does not violate the 2014 interim charter, claiming that Article 5 of that military document allows the junta to do anything it wants and that anything it does is somehow “legal.”

He’s making it up, the junta is concocting plots and Thailand is falling deeper into a political dark age.





Release the students, return power to the people

28 06 2015

The Nation reports that 53 “leading academics and activists yesterday demanded that 14 arrested student activists be immediately released and called on the public to stand up to the junta.”

This call came as the military dictatorship downplayed the possibility of the students each receiving 7 years in jail under Articles 116 and 83 of the Criminal Code.

Army chief General Udomdej Sitabutr, who has repeatedly stated that he knows but refuses to name a mysterious “mastermind” he alleges is “behind” the students and warned their supporters:

If you direct them in the wrong direction, disturbing the country’s peace and order, I warn you stop it. We have identified you all. Most people do not approve of your actions because they want the country to be peaceful.

Like others in the junta, he’s either delusional or a liar and probably both. As usually happens under this deranged leadership, we can expect some arrest and a claim of a network and plot, with a likelihood of lese majeste accusations and undefined threats to national security.

Meanwhile, the academics and activists, who are “calling themselves People Behind the Neo Democracy Movement, issued a statement to demand that the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) return power to the people.”

These supporters of students and democracy “gathered at Suan Ngern Mee Ma, a training centre that served as a shelter for the student activists before their arrest on Friday.”

In a statement, they “emphasised their stance in opposing … a dictatorship and the ‘selfishness and ineffectiveness’ of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha [The Dictator General Prayuth Chan-ocha].”

The Nation identified the “most prominent” of these activists as “social critic Sulak Sivaraksa, political scientist Kasian Tejapira, former Thammasat University rector Charnvit Kasetsiri, and noted writer Suchat Sawatsri.” It reports that “[o]ther signatories … include Chulalongkorn University political scientist Puangthong Pawakapan, Thammasat University anthologist Yukti Mukdavijit, political scientist Pongkwan Sawasdipakdi, and Same Sky magazine editor Thanapol Eiwsakul.”

They asked: “What kind of society is the NCPO [military junta] leading Thailand to? Calls for democracy and justice using non-violence have become criminalised…”.

The arrested students have repeatedly “denied a claim by the authorities that political groups were behind their moves.” They declared: “There is no need for us to prove anything. We don’t have anyone behind us.”

They also rejected the ridiculous paternalism and authoritarianism of the military dictatorship. They stated: “Prayut[h]’s administration is scared of opponents’ opinions because they are well aware that they can’t run the country…. They are not capable of solving problems. But they persist to stay to preserve their own power and interests amid the national calamity.”

The students called on the “people to come out and call on the junta to return their power…”.





With a final update: On the students

26 06 2015

We have snipped stuff from around the web and social media that might be of interest to readers.

Declaration from the 7 Dao Din students facing charges for breaching NCPO Order 3/2558

https://i0.wp.com/freedom.ilaw.or.th/sites/default/files/imagecache/full-blog/wysiwyg_imageupload/1/dao%20din%203.jpg

The reason we have chosen to come to Loei, is because we know that we will definitely be arrested by the authorities. Loei is the community where the 7 of us first learnt about the impact of Loei gold- mining on the people. When the 7 of us had to decide where to be arrested, we decided we want to be arrested here in Loei. Here, in Loei, we started to learn about the community’s struggle and this community’s struggle has inspired the 7 of us to be a part of the movement against social injustice. It has also inspired us to work against inequality in society. The 7 of us are humbled to represent the struggle of these communities. We would also like to represent the voices of these communities to let society know of the oppression many communities are facing.

If we will be arrested because we displayed a banner and have spoken about how communities have been abused, then we are ready to be arrested. If we are not arrested, maybe no one will hear the voices of these communities. This might lead to people forgetting the very many communities that are facing oppression – from the law and the absolute power of the dictator – in ways that are counter to human dignity. We are giving up our freedom for people to see that Thai society enjoys no rights and liberties, whether you are in jail or outside of jail. We, the commoners, who would like change, who would like to bring down the absolute power of the junta, hope that one day there will be more commoners who will be aware that being a dignified human is enough to denounce this military rule.

The truth is, if the Dao Din kids can do this, everyone can do it too. We will not appeal to the NCPO to give us our freedom, and we will not appeal to the capitalists either. We will therefore guarantee our rights, liberty, human rights, democracy, participation, justice, and nonviolence by ourselves. This is a declaration by the 7 Dao Din devils who’ve been charged for displaying a banner; if you still want to arrest us, take us, we will not stop you.

7 Dao Din members

Chatupat Boonyapatraksa
Apiwat Suntararak
Payu Boonsopon
Panupong Srithananuwat
Suvicha Tipangkorn
Supachai Pukrongploy
Wasant Satesit

7 Dao Din members

19th June 2015

This one seems to refer to a statement made at the police station in Bangkok on 24 June:

Last 83 years ago, the People’s Party changed Absolute Monarchy to be Democracy, the system providing people in every group, every social class has right, freedom, and equality in all areas including the determination of political way by themselves. Nevertheless there have been the attempt of a great deal of powerful individuals aimed at destroying such Democracy way wanted to seize democratic power from people’s hands for themselves such as many Coup D’tats in the past. The last coup was not different from the previous ones. On the occasion of annual anniversary of coup d’ tat, we assembled to commemorate about the disgraceful event that People’s Power was torn apart once again. We just wanted to warn ourselves and social to recognize what condition our country is falling in. On that day Coup D’tat’s guys, Dictatorship’s guys did treat with us inhumanely in the same way as they threatened several people throughout last year. ( Yeah.. Hand Clap sounds a bit!..) We requested them to release us without any condition, which they gave their words that they would pursuit such promise. But in short time after that, they lied, turned over their mind commitment with the strong attempt to drag us for the punishment. Thus, here we are standing today. We came today not for hearing the charges but we came to express that we will not flee anywhere because we haven’t done anything wrong. We are not the guilty but it is them, who have committed the guilt since the beginning. It began from seizing power from people, destroying Rule of State, Due Process of Law. Thus we require to announce the reject of any form of Dictator Government Power including all public official’s performance and operation that misbehave by themselves, claiming do it under the shadow of dictatorship for justification.

Anti-coup student activists await arrests at police station

About 20 police deployed at safe house of embattled student activists; arrests expected

Student dissidents unite to march on Bangkok police station

Pro-Democracy Activists File Assault Charges Against Police, Soldiers

The activists who filed the complaint are:

  • Rangsiman Rome, 22;
  • Chonthicha Chaengrew, 22;
  • Ratthapol Supasopon, 22;
  • Songtham Kaewpanpruek, 23;
  • Pornchai Yuanyee, 24;
  • Pakorn Areekul, 26; and
  • Abhisit Sapnaphapan, 29.

Student activists lead anti-junta rally

From the fascists running the country, yet another blatant fabrication: Thai Junta Says Pro-Democracy Students are Backed by Politicians.

The ridiculous clown and Army boss, Gen. Udomdet Sitabutr, hilariously claimed:

We have received information about the political groups who are involved in the students’ movement,” Gen. Udomdet said. “I have the names of everyone who has supported the movement, but I don’t want to disclose these names.

This could be true and some underling has made something up or it could be Udomdej’s own concoction. Whatever the reason, this is a ridiculous claim. He became dark and threatening, suggesting that the protests could lead to “conflicts with people who are unhappy with the activists…”. If past practice is an indication, Udomdej is threatening to unleash either disguised military against the students or will be encouraging rightist vigilantes.

Student Activists Arrested for Anti-Coup March in Bangkok

The fourteen activists are Rangsiman Rome, Chonticha Chaeng-rew, Ratthapol Surasopon, Songtham Kaewpanpruek, Pornchai Yuanyee, Pakorn Arrekul, Abhisit Sapnaphana, Jaturapak Boonpatararaksa, Apiwat Suntararak, Payu Bunsophon, Panupong Srithananuwat, Suwitcha Thipangkorn, Supachai Pukrongploy, and Wasan Sethsitthi. The latter seven are members of Dao Din….

The Declaration
Neo-Democracy Activist Group
June 26, 2015

As the news reporting about us, students-Neo Democracy Activists on various medias, it has made negative images and misunderstanding to us. To make the right understanding to the medias,friends and general people, we would like to expalin as follows:

That we were accused of having a sponsor group backing us, it is you that is behind us- all people who love democracy, want to protect our rights. All we have done is always openly inspected by the eyes of media.

Since 24 to 25 June, we have walked bare footed. We fought bare handed. June 24, we travelled to start our activity by taxi. June 25, we commuted by bus and bus in the return. The talk at the Democracy Monument was done by only an amplifying speaker and a donation box. And we have worn in the same underwear for 3 days already. Our clothes were almost not changed like our same shirts, sandals, old sneakers. These were all we have among friends throughout.

Our activities done all along are going to the areas to help people for more than 10 years: how many communities?, how many villages? where we were deployed and fought for them have been proved by themselves.

Such accusation that we have received and fund backing up us is a nonsense, just a political game of yours. Please stop it, a Cold War gag. In the era of 6 October making up story that students were misunderstanding and lost kids. The history gave us the lesson what had happened then. By coloring from government, people stepped out and killed. Study more on history will help you learn better. When is the end of Military Coup?

We would like especially police, military and public officials to study each critical scene of history in Thailand when military stepped a coup to seize the State Power. What is the ending?

Yesterday, we went to 3 memorial places: 6 October Sculpture Ground, 1992 May Monument, 14 October Memorial Site. Every event displays political critical episodes that all Thais should remember and warn themselves. That at the end after military taking power whether with beautiful reason or not, it just left such extremely severe wounds, apart from Heritage of Dictatorship which were left over as wrecked skeletons for next generation to solve later.

The thing is that we should ask you in return rather than giving you the reply to your question why we came like as follows: How much money did you spend for the Coup?

Who is that fund group supporting you, Coup Makers?
Who is that group backing you after seizing power from People?
Who is that group supporting you with the budgets to follow us all along?

The last point, regarding the Army Commander in Chief’s confirmation to teachers, lecturers in schools, colleges, and university that their duty is preaching not training students to express in the wrong ways. We do insist that in any civilized countries, Freedom of expression and Freedom of Academy are the most important bases of education, especially in college level. Thus the way military Coup Makers interfere, order teachers not to encourage students to express their views just simply interrupts basic educational and theory. We know well that the “belief to commanders” is the key spot in defense force. But in the world of education as common as the present new world, in developed democracy socials, teaching youth to be able to express their opinions, to criticize, and to question is valued equal to the growth of students’ wisdom. It is neither that being tame nor believing the boss without reasons as in the defense force.

We demand to emphasize once again that we shall fight on under the principle of Democracy, Human Rights, Justice, Participation and Non-violence Peace. All we have done are with sincerity for the being of Thailand that it shall display as a country with No Dictator. Any brothers sisters who love Democracy, please send mind power to us. June 26, 2015

Neo-Democracy Activist Group

Thai police harass student activists’ lawyer

A statement for 14 embattled student activists: Thai Student Center for Democracy (TSCD)

Thai army chief says the arrest of 14 embattled student activists ‘necessary’

As the students point out in their declaration, the military dictators are simply incapable of understanding that the students can be autonomous and opposed to the authoritarianism of the junta. The military men are only capable of thinking in terms of hierarchy, orders and their own manipulation of politics and their choices of who to back in political conflicts. The military mind exists in an iron cage of narrow understandings that is essentially fascist.

General Udomdej Sitabutr described the arrest of 14 anti-junta student activists as necessary to prevent further conflicts in the nation. He should have added that it was necessary to maintain the dictatorship’s repression and that the junta is fearful of any sign of opposition.

He then embarked on a fantastical set of claims. He declared “that the security officers now know who are behind the student movements and that people who are involved in supporting the student activists will face harsh measures from the authorities.” We are not sure if he is simply concocting nonsense or he actually believes that those cheering the independent actions of a few students are “behind” them. We imagine that Udomdej believe reports from the persons who regularly frame, concoct plots, torture and extort in the police and and military. Narrow-minded fascists have little opportunity to imagine much beyond conspiracies.

The army chief claims the 14 student activists who are now under detention breached Article 116 of the  Penal Code. According to Prachatai, Article 116 is directed at:

whoever makes an appearance to the public by words, writings, or any other means to bring about a change in the laws of the country or the government by the use of force or violence; to raise unrest and disaffection amongst the people in a manner likely to cause disturbance in the country; or to cause the people to transgress the laws of the country, shall be punished with imprisonment not exceeding seven years.

General Udomdej reminds PPT of the military dolts of 1973 who on 6 and 7 October had police arrest 12 activists for a political gathering of more than five people. Those generals claimed the activists, who demanded a constitution, were plotting with communists to overthrow the government. The rest was history. The current junta is the fascist grandchild of that earlier military regime.

Activist students sent to jail

 








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