Further updated: Royalist courts doing their duty

23 08 2021

Update 1: Apologies. We posted an unedited version earlier. Fixed it now.

Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) reports that on 18 August 2021, lawyers submitted a bail application for the nine activists detained in recent days by the royal police. At least two of the detainees are COVID-19 infected.

Arnon Nampa is detained on another lese majeste charge, while the others – Sam Samat, “Penguin” Parit Chiwarak, “New” Sirichai Natueng, “Fah” Promsorn Viradhammajari, Nutchanon Pairoj, “Mike” Panupong Jadnok, “Boy” Chatchai Kaedam, and Panudda Sirimassakul or “Tong Thalufah” – faced a number of charges: “Section 215 of the Thai Criminal Code, [an] assembl[y] of ten persons [and] upwards, … violation of the Emergency Decree, and the Communicable Disease [decree/act]. Some of them were charged with causing d[amage] and [assaulting police].”

Bail was denied, with the royal courts “citing no reasonable cause to change the order.”

In prior, the lawyer had submitted bail motions on 9 August 2021 after the submission of detention motion made by the inquiry officers. The Court denied bail citing that the alleged offenders had no fear of the law. If they were to be released, they could commit further harmful acts. Therefore, the lawyers appealed the court’s order on 13 August 2021. As a result, “Poon” Thanapat (surname withheld) was released on bail citing that he surrendered himself and just passed the age of minor.

The bail application for the eight activists cited the following:

Prior to the detention on 9 August 2021 according to the warrant issued by the Court, eight alleged offenders were in good health condition. However, during the detention, Parit, Sirichai, and Promsorn were found … to be COVID-19 infected after getting tested on 14 August 2021. In addition, several correctional officers were reported to be infected. Therefore, the detention is unnecessary and causes them vulnerability to be infected without ability to protect their own lives. Although, the alleged offenders were charged with similar allegations to the current case, it remains an allegation made by the inquiry officers. The alleged offenders were not convicted by the court. Therefore, it cannot be concluded that the alleged offenders had no fear of the law and it is not admissible with the reason citing “if they were to be released, they could commit further harmful acts.”

In addition, the reason citing the alleged offenders, which are Parit and Panupong, had breached bail conditions of the other court, therefore, they should not be released on bail in this case, is not admissible. The Court had not examined the alleged offenders for facts and had not given a chance to the alleged offenders to make an objection or show an evidence.

They added that the detainees had not resisted arrest and did not pose a flight risk.

The bail application for Arnon also cited the risk of COVID-19 infection and proposed a 200,000 baht surety.

All applications were dismissed.

That’s how the royalist regime operates.

Update 2: Thai Enquirer reports that Sureerat Chiwarak, mother of jailed activist Parit has “demanded an investigation into the delays in transferring her Covid-19-stricken son and other detained protest leaders to hospital for treatment.” Speaking for other parents, she stated: “We have requested this transfer since August 16, but to no progress…. We are now very concerned and scared, and want to know what happened to those requests.”





Deadly serious I

17 08 2021

Readers may recall that the regime’s jailers say that lawyers can’t visit their clients when they are first taken into custody because of virus restrictions and quarantine.

It turns out that being taken into custody coukd amount to a death sentence. But, then, we suspect that the judges who refuse bail or revoke bail and the jailers know this.

The Nation reports that

The Department of Corrections announced on Monday that pro-democracy activists Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak, Promsorn “Fah” Veerathamjaree and Sirichai Nathuang have tested positive for Covid-19.

They are among the eight protesters detained in Thanyaburi prison in Pathum Thani early this month and are now under quarantine. All eight protesters underwent a PCR test for Covid-19 on Saturday, while Parit and Promsorn were tested again on Monday for confirmation. Sirichai’s infection was confirmed on Sunday.

All three are said to be “perfectly fine…”.

It seems clear that getting infected in prison is almost guaranteed. Even if infected prior to being taken into custody, being in jail increases health risks for political prisoners.





fidh appeal

14 08 2021
The following is an appeal by Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture:

THA 002 / 0821 / OBS 083
Arbitrary detention /
Judicial harassment
Thailand
August 12, 2021

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of 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 about the arbitrary detention and ongoing judicial harassment of eight pro-democracy activists, namely: Anon Nampa, prominent human rights lawyer; Parit ChiwarakNutchanon PairojSirichai Natueng, Thammasat University student activists; Phromsorn Weerathamjaree, Ratsadon Mutelu member; Panupong Chadnok, Eastern Youth for Democracy member; Thatchapong Kaedam, Free Youth member; and Jatuphat Boonpattararaksa, Dao Din member….

On August 9, 2021, police officers arrested Anon Nampa after he surrendered himself to the Pathumwan police station in Bangkok after learning that a warrant had been issued for his arrest. Mr. Anon was charged with violating Article 112 of the Criminal Code (“lèse-majesté”) and the Emergency Decree for his participation in a peaceful protest on August 3, 2021, in Central Bangkok. During the protest, Mr. Anon made a speech in which he reiterated the pro-democracy movement’s call for the reform of the Thai monarchy.

On August 10, 2021, police denied Anon Nampa’s bail request arguing that he would present a high risk of re-offending, if released. After spending two nights in custody at the Pathumwan police station, on August 11, 2021, the Bangkok South Criminal Court approved the police’s request detention for Mr. Anon and denied him bail. The court argued Mr. Anon was accused of a serious offence, had breached previous bail conditions, and was likely to re-offend, if released. At the time of publication of this Urgent Appeal, Mr. Anon was being detained at Bangkok’s Central Special Treatment Centre, where he was undergoing COVID-19 testing and a 14-day quarantine. The Observatory recalls that it is not the first time that Mr. Anon faces charges under Article 112 and, if convicted in all the “lèse-majesté” cases pending against him, he could be sentenced to a total of 195 years in jail. Earlier this year, Mr. Anon was detained for 113 days on charges under Article 112. Similarly, Messrs. Parit and Panupong were detained for 92 and 85 days, respectively, on lèse-majesté charges. Mr. Parit was conditionally released on May 11, 2021, and Messrs. Anon and Panupong on June 1, 2021.

The Observatory notes with concern that between November 24, 2020 and August 9, 2021, 116 individuals, including Anon Nampa, Parit Chiwarak, Panupong Chadnok, and many other human rights defenders, were charged under Article 112 of the Thai Criminal Code (“lèse-majesté”).

On August 8, 2021, Parit Chiwarak, Nutchanon Pairoj, Sirichai Natueng, and Phromsorn Weerathamjaree were arrested in front of the Police Headquarters in Bangkok in connection with their participation in a peaceful protest on August 2, 2021, in front of the Border Patrol Police Region 1 Headquarters in Pathumthani Province. Protesters had gathered to demand the release of 32 fellow activists who had been arrested and detained in connection with another protest at the Narcotics Suppression Bureau in Bangkok earlier the same day. Later on August 8, 2021, Messrs. Parit, Nutchanon, Sirichai, and Phromsorn were taken into custody to the Khlong 5 police station and then to the the Border Patrol Police Region 1 Headquarters in Pathumthani Province.

On August 9, 2021, Panupong Chadnok and Thatchapong Kaedam were arrested after they reported themselves at the Khlong 5 police station in Pathumthani Province in relation to the August 2, 2021 protest. All six pro-democracy activists were charged with violating Article 215 of the Criminal Code (“leading an illegal assembly of more than 10 people” ), the Emergency Decree, and the Communicable Diseases Act. Three other protesters who accompanied Messrs.Panupong and Thatchapong at the Khlong 5 police station were also arrested and detained.

On August 9, 2021, the Thanyaburi Provincial Court approved the temporary detention request for Parit Chiwarak, Nutchanon Pairoj, Sirichai Natueng, Phromsorn Weerathamjaree, Panupong Chadnok, and Thatchapong Kaeda and denied them bail on the grounds that they acted without considering the society’s safety, peace, and order during the COVID-19 pandemic and that they would likely commit the same offenses if released. The six activists were then taken to the Rangsit Temporary Prison in Pathumthani Province, where they remained detained at the time of publication of this Urgent Appeal for a quarantine period of 21 days after which they would be transferred to the Thanyaburi Prison.

On August 9, 2021, police arrested Jatuphat Boonpattararaksa after he surrendered himself at the Thung Song Hong police station in Bangkok. Mr. Jatuphat was charged with violating the Emergency Decree and Article 215 of the Criminal Code, in connection with a protest held in front of the Thung Song Hong police station on August 3, 2021. Mr. Jatuphat, who was detained at Bangkok’s Central Special Treatment Centre at the time of publication of this Urgent Appeal, had no access to a lawyer until the afternoon of August 10, 2021.

The Observatory condemns the arbitrary detention and judicial harassment of the eight above-mentioned human rights defenders, which seem to be only aimed at punishing them for their legitimate human rights activities and the exercise of their rights to freedom of expression and of peaceful assembly.

The Observatory calls on the Thai authorities to immediately and unconditionally release the eight human rights defenders and to put an end to the judicial harassment against them and all other human rights defenders in the country.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities of Thailand asking them to:

i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical integrity and psychological well-being of all human rights defenders in Thailand, and ensure in all circumstances that they are able to carry out their legitimate activities without any hindrance and fear of reprisals;

ii. Immediately and unconditionally release Anon Nampa, Parit Chiwarak, Panupong Chadnok,Nutchanon Pairoj, Sirichai Natueng, Phromsorn Weerathamjaree, Thatchapong Kaedam, and Jatuphat Boonpattararaksa since their detention is arbitrary as it seems to be merely aimed at punishing them for their human rights activities;

iii. Put an end to all acts of harassment, including at the judicial level, against Anon Nampa, Parit Chiwarak, Panupong Chadnok, Nutchanon Pairoj, Sirichai Natueng, Phromsorn Weerathamjaree, Thatchapong Kaedam, Jatuphat Boonpattararaksa, and all other human rights defenders and pro-democracy activists in the country;

iv. Guarantee, in all circumstances, the rights to freedom of expression and of peaceful assembly, as enshrined in international human right law, and particularly in Articles 19 and 21 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Addresses:

· Mr. Prayuth Chan-ocha, Prime Minister of Thailand, Email: spmwebsite@thaigov.go.th
· Mr. Don Pramudwinai, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand, Email: minister@mfa.go.th
· Mr. Somsak Thepsutin, Minister of Justice of Thailand, Email: complainingcenter@moj.go.th
· Gen Apirut Kongsompong, Commander in Chief of the Royal Thai Army, Email: webadmin@rta.mi.th

· Pol Gen Chaktip Chaijinda, Commissioner-General of the Royal Thai Police, Email: info@royalthaipolice.go.th
· Mr. Prakairat Tanteerawong, National Human Rights Commissioner of Thailand, Email: Prakairatana@nhrc.or.th/ Prakairatanao@yahoo.com
· H.E. Mr. Thani Thongphakdi, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of Thailand to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Email: mission.thailand@ties.itu.int
· Embassy of Thailand in Brussels, Belgium, Email: thaibxl@pophost.eunet.be

Please also write to the diplomatic representations of Thailand in your respective countries.





Sirichai’s two lese majeste charges

15 01 2021

Clipped from the Bangkok Post

The Bangkok Post has a detailed account of Sirichai “New” Natueng’s arrest and the now two lese majeste charges against him.

PPT posted yesterday on the then breaking news and the first case against him. In that case, he faces both a lese majeste charge and another of vandalizing property under Article 358 of the Criminal Code. In this case he “allegedly spray-painted text about taxes and the abolition of Section 112, ironically one of the offences he was accused of committing, over an image of royals and the nameplate of the university’s Rangsit campus in six spots in the area in total. The incident took place on Jan 10.”

The report also provides more details on the police action against him. It states that he was first taken into custody by Khlong Luang police at 9pm on 13 January. Sirichai said “he had asked to exercise his right to a lawyer but police denied his request.” Thailand’s police seem unconstrained by law or constitution.

Two hours later he was able to talk to his lawyer but that call “was cut short by police who seized his phone.” He was then transported to the Border Patrol Police Region 1 base, “but after 10 minutes police took him back to his dormitory for a search.” Sirichai states that no warrant was presented until after the search.

The Post reports that Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) posted seven observations. We reproduce some of this:

First, the court approved his arrest warrant for the lese majeste charge even though the persons in question are not protected by the law….

Second, the court approved a nighttime search warrant, specifically from 9pm onward. The Criminal Procedures Code allows a search to be done only from sunrise to sunset with a few exceptions — when it is a continuation of a search that has begun during the daytime, when it is a severe emergency, or when arresting a serious crime suspect, which requires special permission first.

Third, police only allowed him to talk to lawyers only briefly and he could not be later contacted.

Fourth, the police refused to reveal where they detained him. Instead, they lied to his friends who showed up in his support and moved him to various places. They explained later the disclosure of the place might obstruct the search…. It is illegal detention and a short-term forced disappearance — a critical violation of rights….

Fifth, police [sh]ould not take him to Border Patrol Police headquarters. By law, a suspect must be detained at the office of interrogators.

Sixth, police began the search without showing a warrant. They showed them only after the search was done. They did not make records at the place of search. Instead, they made them hours after the evidence was brought back to the police station, making it impossible to verify whether the items were really from the suspect’s room.

Seventh, it marked the first lese majeste case that a court approved an arrest warrant for since Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha issued a statement on Nov 19 he would enforce all laws to deal with demonstrators. Up until now, the court denied police requests for arrest warrants. Other suspects were simply summonsed to acknowledge charges and then freed.

Later at 12pm on Thursday, Pratunam Chulalongkorn police of Pathum Thani Province “arrived at the Thanyaburi Court and informed Mr Sirichai of another lese majeste charge for the same incident, which also covered their jurisdiction…. They did not seek to detain him and it now depends on prosecutors whether to charge him in court.”





Further updated: Another 112 arrest

14 01 2021

Prachatai’s Facebook page has reported another arrest of a student, accused of lese majeste:

Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) reported that Sirichai, a first year student at Thammasat University and a member of the student activist group United Front of the Thammasat and Demonstration, was arrested by officers from the Khlong Luang Police Station under a Section 112 charge, and was being taken to the Border Police [BPP] Region 1 headquarters.

When activists and friends arrived at the BPP headquarters they were told Sirichai was not there. He was located about an hour later “at his dormitory, and that a number of plainclothes officers have brought him there while they search his room.” Those who located him “demand[ed] that the officers wait for a lawyer to arrive at the dormitory before taking Sirichai elsewhere.” After a lawyer arrived, the “officers then presented a warrant from the Thanyaburi Provincial Court and said that they will be taking Sirichai back to the Khlong Luang Police Station.”

Later, his friends were told “that Sirichai is being held at the Khlong Luang Police Station. However, a TLHR lawyer asked officers at the police station, and was told that Sirichai is not there.”

The case is murky at this stage. If more information becomes available, PPT will update this post.

Update 1: Prachatai has an updated report on this case. It states that Sirichai is “a 1st year student at the Puey Ungphakorn School of Development Studies, Thammasat University, and a member of the student activist group United Front of Thammasat and Demonstration…”. He was arrested in the middle of the night by Khlong Luang police and taken to the Khlong Luang Police Station. Sirichai reportedly “faces charges under Section 112 for spraying paint on a portrait of the King.”

It is added that “Sirichai was taken to the Thanyaburi Provincial Court on Thursday morning (14 January) for a temporary detention request. The court then ruled to allow him to be temporarily detained for 12 days. His lawyer is now requesting bail using a Thammasat University lecturer’s position as security.”

TLHR says that “Sirichai’s case is the first time since Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha’s announcement on 19 November 2020 that every law will be used against the pro-democracy protesters that a court issue[d] an arrest warrant for a Section 112 charge.”

Thai Enquirer has a powerful op-ed:

On Wednesday night, state security officials abducted New Sirichai from his dormitory. The officials were not in uniform, did not declare an arrest warrant, and took him to an undisclosed location.

Rights groups and politicians said that the arrest amounted to kidnapping because of the nature and timing of the abduction….

What made the situation worse was that police lied to lawyers and pro-democracy protesters about New’s whereabouts throughout the night….

[T]he arrest last night goes to show that we have become a nation where laws and the rights of the accused do not really matter.

No matter your position on the Lese Majeste law, the actions of the Thai police last night went beyond carrying out the enforcement of the law and was an act of intimidation and harassment by the state.

The ‘arrest,’ if you could call it that, was more reminiscent of a scene from the Sopranos than protocol accepted by the United Nations.

This government has shown time and time again that it is not above using the same tactics employed by dictators and despots. But this is hardly surprising given that this government was put in place by a military coup and has allied itself with international drug dealers and local mafiosos.

It concludes: “we are a nation of thugs being ruled by a government full of thugs.”

Update 2: Commentator Thitinan Pongsudhirak isn’t writing about lese majeste, but his assessment of Thailand under the current regime fits with the assessment above:

… moral turpitude has set in while the sense of moral backstop has faded. As this trend intensifies, Thailand risks suffering political decay, social decadence and economic stagnation, while impunity and immorality reign without boundaries….

The corruption and graft among government officials and military and police officers are likely to add fuel to the fire of social discontent among youth-led anti-establishment protesters and activists. When Covid restrictions are loosened, they probably will return to campuses and the streets to demand more competent and accountable rulers. When this happens, those who will ask again and again about who is backing such protests need to look at Thailand’s decadence, decay, and stagnation as the real backers. This is why the student-led protesters will keep going for their country’s better future and for themselves.








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