Politics and the monarchy

15 03 2023

Politicians usually reflect the society that produces them. In aggregate, they reflect the good, the bad, and the middling of that society, it prejudices and its foibles.

As an election seems ever more likely, various parties are grappling with how best to garner votes, and the rightists seek advantage from their “protection” of and “reverence” for the monarchy. Aging and apparently senile Trairong Suwannakhiri has lobbed up on the United Thai Nation Party (Ruam Thai Sang Chart Party) side, supporting Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha, and he recently decided to use the “good people” cliche of the dead king.

In a campaign speech:

Trairong told Korat locals that King Rama IX once said Thais should elect “good people”’ to govern them. He added that there’s no one better than jolly old “Uncle Tu” – PM Prayut’s nickname.

Having breached the sacred [sic.] issues, the party chief then blundered straight on into embarrassment.

Trairong told his shocked gathering that if they wanted a good government in line with the late King Rama IX’s words, they should vote for “Thai Rak Thai.”

That’s what happens with old men…. And, of course, there’s a long “tradition” of Democrat Party royalists – in this case, a recently defected Democrat – using the king for political benefit and for promoting the monarchy and its political preferences.

After various complaints were made against Trairong for doing what comes easily for Democrats, the Bangkok Post reports the Election Commission “warned the leader of the United Thai Nation Party (UTN), Pirapan Salirathavi­bhaga, over alleged comments made by a key party member about the monarchy.”

It widened the warning to all parties. Given that Trairong was the “offender,” it does seem somewhat odd that a general warning is issued.

Of course, EC secretary-general Sawang Boonmee is a junta-appointed puppet, so he is apparently seeking to diminish Trairong’s “offense.”

Somchai Srisutthiyakorn, a former election commissioner, “slammed the EC secretary-general for just issuing a warning to the UTN leader over Mr Trairong’s conduct…. He insisted that the issue is not considered over because Mr Trairong’s conduct could result in a party dissolution under Section 92(2) of the political party law.”

He believes there are only two options for the EC: “accept or reject the petition.” In this case it has done something else.

All a bit silly, perhaps, when it is considered that the monarchy has been central to so much politics since 1945.

Not independent

2 03 2023

Thai Newsroom has a story reporting Somchai Srisutthiyakorn, head of the Thai Liberal Party Policy Steering Strategy Campaign, has criticized “supposedly independent” agencies that have worked for the regime.

He pointed to the Election Commission, the National Anti-Corruption Commission and the Constitutional Court that “have more often than not made decisions and rulings toward individual politicians, political parties and street activists among others with opposing views in contradictory, ambiguous fashion and even alleged of having acted in dishonest, biased manners.”

Somchai proposed that:

Somchai in a silly hat

all members of those “supposedly independent” agencies be ultimately subject to impeachment and removal with a mass petition endorsed by a minimum of 10,000 people for a Senate speaker to take legal procedures to that extent.

For the time being, the people are not legally allowed to push for the impeachment or removal of any members of those “supposedly independent” agencies and may only petition the NACC for that matter, the Thai Liberal executive said.

Somchai also proposed that all members of those agencies be deprived of their current status immediately after the constitution’s organic law pertaining to the “supposedly independent” agencies has been amended in the future so that they be replaced by newly-selected ones.

Somchai should know about bias in non-independent agencies for he was once a senior election commissioner. PPT was highly critical of him back then, as he opposed the 2014 election and supported the military junta and its constitutional referendum, where he worked to prevent criticism of the draft constitution. Somchai saw the light when the junta sacked him so that an even more pliable Election Commission could be in place for the rigged 2019 election.

Despite this slipperiness, he makes a good point about the non-independent agencies that work for the regime.

Thammanat’s deep pockets

25 06 2020

We have had a few posts backed-up because of other things happening in neo-feudal Thailand and we’ll get to them over the next couple of days.

On story that caught PPT’s attention was a note at Thai PBS reporting that the Election Commission “has postponed the declaration of the official result of Sunday’s by-election, in the northern province of Lampang, until next week, due to allegations of vote buying.”

The Seri Ruam Thai party has “lodged a complaint of alleged election fraud, after the posting of a clip on social media, by former election commissioner Somchai Srisutthiyakorn, claiming voting buying [by Palang Pracharath] had taken place on Sunday.”

Given that the EC usually slithers and slides around the regime, we don’t expect much from the agency and would expect green-lighting rather than serious investigation. Back in the 2019 election, it was reported: “Vote-buying was rampant on the eve of Sunday’s general election, according to the Open Forum for Democracy Foundation (P-Net), a non-governmental organisation focusing on strengthening democracy and electoral processes.” We don’t recall the EC doing much “investigating” then. Rather, it manipulated results and quotas to ensure the junta’s party was victorious. Still, the EC may yet surprise.

Of course, vote-buying is not unexpected. When there is a convicted heroin smuggler with bag loads of money running Palang Pracharath’s campaign, what else could be expected. Not the least because the whole formation of the party and its operations resembles the parties of the time when vote buying was especially rampant in the 1980s and 1990s. That period was, after all, something of a model for the junta when it designed a constitution that was meant to reduce the power of big parties and allow the negotiated construction of weak coalition governments, glued together by money and military power.

That’s exactly what we now have, with parties splitting and politicians coming and going, usually to the highest bidder. That is what makes Thammanat Prompao and the “generous” Gen Prawit Wongsuwan so important for the junta-designed regime.

No law for the junta’s party II

24 12 2018

The Palang Pracharath Party’s “fund raising” banquet last week is causing some rather odd denials of law breaking.

Mostly, the denials have revolved around the state agencies alleged to have paid huge amounts for banquet tables. This despite the publication of a photo of the seat plan by ISRA News.

Most recently, “former election commissioner Somchai Srisutthiyakorn has urged the Election Commission (EC) to rev up moves to probe a recent fund-raising event organised by the Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP).”

When he was at the EC Somchai was never one who was above political bias and bending rules, so this is suggestive that his views reflect a reasonable perspective on what’s going on at the EC;  he should know, right?

Somchai now with his buddies at the Democrat Party, said “he will give the poll-organising agency seven days to take action or he will file suit against the EC for dereliction of duty under Section 157 of the Criminal Code.” He added: “The EC must investigate if the cabinet ministers who are at the helm of the PPRP used their positions to solicit funds for the party, which is prohibited by the law governing political parties…”.

No electoral law seems to apply to the devil party or to the military junta.

Updated: The junta’s processing terminal I

9 12 2018

The Election Commission is in serious danger of being seen as a processing terminal for the military junta as it cheats and rigs an “election” outcome.

In only the most recent example of the junta telling the EC what to do and how to do it, the Bangkok Post reports that The Dictator, Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha has “proposed the use of only candidate names and numbers and the omission of party names and logos on the ballot for the upcoming election…”. He reportedly did this during the junta’s lecture to small and devil parties on Friday. at the meeting between the NCPO and political parties on Friday, attended by the puppet EC.

Ballot papers are supposed to be the preserve of the EC, but here we have The Dictator telling the EC what it should do. In fact, more than that, he knows his proposal is the way it will be, asking “parties and related agencies to help propagate awareness about the new format.”

Following criticism, an EC deputy secretary-general slithered out to say that “the EC had yet to decide on which format to use.” He then came up with an “explanation” for not including party names and logos on the ballots that has to do with transporting ballots to overseas voters.

If anyone can make sense of this, do tell us for we can’t follow it and believe that the EC is simply flummoxed by having to continually come up with excuses as to why it might be considered anything other than the junta’s slave in the rigging of the election.

As anti-election former EC commissioner Somchai Srisutthiyakorn, now a Democrat Party member pointed out, “since a single ballot would be used for both constituency MPs and parties, it was imperative that party names and logos feature prominently on the ticket.”

What’s the junta’s angle? It seems that analysts believe that because the junta’s devil party, Palang Pracharath, has been successful in poaching well-known names, the betting is that voters are likely to select names they recognize rather than being able to remember parties and names for several candidates and two ballots on the same sheet.

The junta is leaving no stone unturned in it cheating, and the EC is facilitating it.

Update: The puppet EC is flustered by criticism and the leaking of The Dictator’s ballot “proposal.” Several of its members and officials have denied that The Dictator made any such proposal, that a decision was made and is now unmade, or that the junta has manipulated the EC. This does sound rather like the recent constituency boundary controversy, where the EC did then it didn’t have boundaries ready. There’s a pattern that suggests junta meddling and the more the EC fidgets, the more it looks like a collection of puppets. The only way out for the EC is to conduct its work transparently. But there’s little chance of that.

Money and power

21 03 2018

The military dictatorship’s “election” campaigning is intensifying. It is a campaign to strengthen the regime, whether it goes to an “election” or just remains in power through “election delays.” The intensity of the campaign and related action suggests a regime feeling stressed and worried about its capacity to retain power.

As we have noted several times, the military regime has been pouring money into the electorate. Its latest effort involves a plan to “inject 30 billion baht into more than 82,000 villages nationwide…”. This effort reeks of the so-called populism that the regime once criticized but has readily embraced as a means to retain power.

In fact, the regime has a “supplementary budget of 150 billion baht approved in January by the cabinet to spur the grassroots economy.” In other words, the 30 billion is just a part of the regime’s new “election” fund. Its going to rain money, especially in rural electorates.

The National Legislative Assembly will shortly endorse the supplementary budget with the regime urging NLA deliberation now, declaring “it is essential to disburse funds that can spur investment and the economy in general under the government’s Pracharath people-state partnership scheme.” That’s just one of the junta’s electoral campaigning fund.

Meanwhile, Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha continues his personal campaign for nomination at prime minister following the junta’s “election,” should it decide to allow one. He’s visiting the northeast.

While campaigning, The Dictator still had time to use Article 44 to sack anti-election election commissioner Somchai Srisutthiyakorn. Somchai is a bright yellow election commissioner who has come to clash with the junta because he wants to keep his job but the regime is dismissing all commissioners. Presumably the junta finds the current commissioners, already under-strength, a little too unpredictable when it comes to its delayed “election.”

Somchai paints himself as a martyr, declaring: “It’s been an honour to reveal the face of the NCPO.” In fact, Somchai had a large role in preparing the political ground for the 2014 military coup, and feels the regime should be rewarding him, not appointing a new EC. He should be apologizing for his role in bringing the military dictatorship to power.

Then there’s the military arm of the junta. Army boss and junta member Gen Chalermchai Sitthisart has gone a bit crazy after Nitirat member Worachet Pakeerut raised the specter of a 1992-like uprising if The Dictator becomes an outsider premier following an “election.” Gen Chalermchai demands that no one speak of The Dictator’s political desire.

Inside sucking noises

7 07 2017

PPT hasn’t previously commented on the junta’s decision to spill the Election Commission and create a new Commission with new members. The main reason we have ignored this is because it is like watching a movie with no good characters. It’s bad guys vs. bad guys; no white hats, just black hats.

The military junta is an abomination and the EC is a bunch of self-important jerks who did all that they could to prevent and election in 2014. The EC is anti-election. So what is there to support in any of this? Its going through the swill at the bottom of the barrel.

However, a report at Prachatai is of some interest. The EC, which has seen its members jumping about and saying how terrible it is that they are losing their positions, has decided on a counter-attack.

The report states that on 4 July 2017, the EC “initiated an investigation into 90 members of the NLA [that’s the puppet National Legislative Assembly] over alleged conflict of interest in their stock holdings.”

Up until this point, as far as PPT can recall, the puppet EC has had no interest in the puppet NLA. Thus, its action can only be interpreted as some inside politicking to keep lucrative posts.

It might be said that this action has only become possible after the passage of the junta’s constitution, but that also means that the action can only apply to activities by the NLA since the constitution was promulgated. So probably not much action possible at all. It is mostly bluster by the unhappy EC members.

One of the most reprehensible anti-election commissioners is Somchai Srisuttiyakorn, who must be especially miffed as he did more than others in binning the Yingluck Shinawatra administration, facilitating the anti-democrats and getting the military in place.

He says his lot is forming a committee “to investigate the issue with a two-month time frame. If the commission find reasonable suspicions, the ECT will submit the case to the Constitutional Court for a final judgement.”

At the very same time, the EC continued to make up rules that make any “elected” government that is not military-backed weaker than ever before.

The EC is a waste of political space and of taxpayer funds. Its a remora that seems to have lost its host.

Ditching parties

10 12 2016

The anti-democrats working for the military dictatorship to come up with its constitution are chosen because they hate electoral politics and can’t abide elected politicians. This is because such institutions and individuals provide the citizenry with an alternative notion of sovereignty that challenge the hierarchical regime of the “good” and the “great” who claim Thailand for themselves.

A series of articles have appeared in the Bangkok Post discussing the implications of the changes proposed by the anti-democrats working for the military junta.

The first is in the Saturday feature, About Politics. Usually critical, the column this week is pretty much uncritical. We wonder if it is by different journalist or if the regular journalist is self-censoring or under threat or warning.

The report says that the Constitution Drafting Committee’s (CDC) draft organic law on political parties “is wrapped up and almost ready for submission to the palace, with many fearing the contents will build an iron-clad cage around parties big and small.”

Reflecting the ideological beliefs of anti-democrats, one section seeks to rid parties of “puppet masters” claimed to be “lurking behind the scenes and pulling the strings.” This is how you say Thaksin Shinawatra without actually using his name. The idea that a “law” is designed to prevent one person from being politically influential is remarkable. Other individuals in the military and among the great and the “good” are permitted, of course.

The draft “law” allocates tremendous power to the politicized Constitutional Court, which will be able to dissolve parties more or less at any time the powers that be decide the court should do so. Again, Thaksin’s name is not mentioned but they mean him when parties are forbidden to allow “a non-member or a ‘prohibited person’ from directing its administration, however discreetly…”,

Of course, “good” people will be outside this “law.”

The “final version of the draft organic law demands greater accountability from political parties for their actions and their role in forging national reconciliation by tolerating and accepting different political opinions and helping to resolve political conflicts through peaceful means…”.

That means following the junta’s orders and those set out in the so-called 20-year road map. Failure means dissolution.

The law also prevents some persons – such as those convicted by the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions – from involvement with a party. Of course, this is another anti-Thaksin “law” and is aimed at the Puea Thai Party. Essentially, this “law” will be used to dissolve the party if it does well in any election the junta decides might be held. Thaksin has been made illegal.

Once the draft organic law comes into force, anything amounting to a “Thaksin factor” in a party’s affairs will be illegal, and the price for breaching the law will see the party cease to exist.

An earlier Bangkok Post report says that the “newly drafted bill on political parties may see the number slashed to 10 from the present 72 based on their records of financial support…”. That’s the word from anti-election election commissioner Somchai Srisutthiyakorn.

The plan is to ditch parties 3-4 years because each party must “recruit 20,000 members and collect annual supporting fees of at least 2 million baht.” Somchai giggled that only 10 parties can do that.

Silly Somchai stated that the “draft organic law on political parties … was intended to encourage strong parties with the potential to produce quality work and become institutions.” Perhaps he forgets that this was the plan under the 1997 constitution, and that it was rather good at creating “strong parties.” Of course, one of those strong parties has been dissolved following the 2006 coup – Thai Rak Thai.

The requirement for all party members to contribute funds to the party every year will mean that the less well off members of the population will be excluded.

Yet another Bangkok Post report indicates many of the complaints of political parties, including the anti-democrat Democrat Party. That party babbled about vote-buying. That’s another anti-Thaksin line for the anti-democrats all believe – wrongly – that TRT and Thaksin bought all their votes.

The party might be better looking at why it never gets elected and why it is so keen to get in bed with the military and rabid rightists.

The “law” is meant to recreate political parties that are weak and dependent, as they were under General Prem Tinsulanonda’s military-backed “semi-democracy.”

Clods and clots I

19 07 2016

BootlickerThe junta and its acolytes and bootlickers are becoming increasingly strident and decidedly maniacal as the referendum on the military’s draft charter.

Thai Lawyers for Human Rights have usefully detailed the acts of repression by the junta.

Much of the nastiness is conducted by clots and clods who are automatons in the service of the thuggish junta. Two examples demonstrate these defining features.

First, nasty clown Somchai Srisuttiyakorn, from the anti-election Election Commission, is one of the hardest working clods, seemingly assigned all kinds of authority to determine when and how Thais are permitted to speak on the military’s draft charter. He prefers they don’t and polices all those who seek to speak.

Most recently, he has been seen as judge, prosecutor and enforcer. Somchai makes declarations as if he is the law, but he speaks for his boss-in-boots. In relations to a publication from Institute of Human Rights and Peace Studies of Mahidol University, he has declared its “infographics explaining about the upcoming referendum to pass the junta-sponsored draft constitution “contained biased information about the draft constitution.” He threatens them with the draconian Referendum Act.

Bravely in the face of the junta’s minion’s threats, Eakpant Pidavanija, Director of the Mahidol Institute, “denied the claims of the ECT, saying that the infographics explaining about the draft constitution do not contain distorted or biased information as alleged…”. Eakpant stated:

It’s not likely to violate the Draft Referendum Act, for it does not contain information, which deviate from facts…. It depends on the understanding and judgement of readers. We will continue to publish the infographics until Chapter 6 as initially planned.

The clots are also hard at work. The Bangkok Post reported that junta spokesman Colonel Piyapong Klinpan blamed the junta’s political opponents for the destruction of some voter lists. He reportedly said:

… the destruction of the lists put up on a notice board [in Kamphaeng Phet] was unprecedented. It was … an act against the government who was inviting people to cast their votes in the Aug 7 charter referendum.

“It is believed that it was an act of those with different stances from the government’s,” Col Piyapong said.

Col Piyapong said the destruction of voters’ lists, letters containing lies about the content of the draft charter, and false information in social media about the draft and the referendum were orchestrated by the parties which were losing their interests.

The junta issued nationwide orders to prosecute any person damaging lists and seemed to be preparing cells for the culprits. Within a few hours, the same newspaper reported:

… Kamphaeng Phet police chief Damrong Petchpong … said an investigation concluded that two eight-year-old girls who were running around at the polling unit had pulled down the lists from the board and ripped them into pieces without knowing they were an official property.

Clots and clods all, but nasty and dangerous.

End judicial harassment of pro-democracy activists and reporter

18 07 2016

This is a post of an Asian Human Rights Commission appeal. It refers to the now well-known detention of students and a Prachatai reporter. We reproduce the appeal in full, not least because it includes significant detail on the case. The original is here.


Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-089-2016

18 July 2016

THAILAND: End judicial harassment of pro-democracy activists and reporter

ISSUES: Administration of justice; arbitrary arrest; freedom of expression; military

Dear Friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received updated information from Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) regarding the arrest of activists who attempted to exercise their right of expression. On 10 July 2016, the Ban Pong police searched the vehicle of the New Democracy Movement (NDM) activists, and found campaign material about the Constitutional Referendum and “Vote No” fliers. They were then held in custody for questioning, together with a reporter from Prachatai. No charges were initially pressed against them, but afterwards the Commander of the Provincial Police Region 7 instructed the officer to charge them with violating the Constitutional Referendum Act B.E. 2559’s Section 61 for preparing to distribute the fliers.


On 10 July 2016 at around 11:30 a.m., police officials from the Ban Pong Police Station, Ratchaburi, searched the vehicle of Mr. Pakorn Areekul, aka “Man”, an activist of the New Democracy Movement (NDM). Mr. Pakorn had gone to Ban Pong District earlier to give moral support to some residents who had been summoned to acknowledge their charges. The local people there have been charged as a result of opening a referendum monitoring center. In the back of the activist’ pickup truck, the officials have found documents featuring reasons against the Draft Constitution, ‘Vote No’ stickers, and fliers made by the Election Commission of Thailand (ECT). Mr. Pakorn, along Mr. Anan Loket and Mr. Anucha Rungmorakot, his fellow NDM activists as well as Mr. Thaweesak Kerdpokha, a reporter from Prachatai, were about to board the vehicle when they were summoned for questioning. Mr.Thaweesak was interrogated, despite showing his press ID card.

Initially, the officials did not press any charges against, simply informing them that they had to put the information into the daily record and had to seize the documents. But later, at around 12:00 p.m., the police informed them that they had just sent the information to the Provincial Election Commission and local military authorities for review. During the initial questioning, Mr. Thaweesak revealed that the officials tried to establish that Prachatai online news has been the funder behind the NDM, including giving the activists money to print the material to campaign against the Draft Constitution.

Then, the Deputy Superintendent of Ban Pong Police Station had made the phone call to the Election Commissioner on electoral affairs, Mr. Somchai Srisutthiyakorn, who informed the police that if the documents were simply in the possession and not yet distributed, the activists could not be held accountable. But if they had distributed them, whether it would violate the Order of the Head of the NCPO No. 3/2558 or not, this would be subject to the discretion of the police on a case by case basis. Nevertheless, according to the police, the Commander of the Provincial Police Region 7 insisted that the act could be actionable as the activists were getting prepared to distribute the material and hence decided to press charges relating to the Constitutional Referendum Act’s Section 61, paragraph two against them. Mr. Somchai also added that the Constitutional Drafting Committee (CDC) was still reviewing the referendum campaign material of the NDM, but insofar could not determine if by simply having them in possession would constitute an offence or not.

In the Arrest Memo, the police noted that around 11:00 a.m the arresting police have received a report from people who acted in good faith and via the police scanner of the Ban Pong Police Station that a group of individuals were driving a pickup truck carrying with them documents and gears in the back of the truck. From their behavior, it was believed they were there to distribute the documents, the fliers, and brochures to campaign against the vote to endorse the Draft Constitution in Ban Pong District. From further investigation, it was found that the vehicle had pulled over on Songphon Road, Ban Pong Municipality, Tambon Ban Pong, Ratchaburi. The officials have thus identified themselves and asked to search the vehicle.

From the search, the evidence no. 2-14 were recovered, and from asking Mr. Pakorn Areekul, they have learned that he had travelled there with Mr. Thaweesak Kerdpokha, Mr. Anan Loket and Mr. Anucha Rungmorakot in order to visit their friends who have been summoned in the case of the unlawful assembly of five persons and upward or a political gathering without permission and to run the campaign about the Draft Constitution. Regarding the evidence no. 2-14, Mr. Pakorn accepted that they belonged to the New Democracy Movement (NDM) and they had been loaded into his vehicle.

The officials have thus seized the evidence and informed the arrestees of the charge against them for “having transmitted a text, or an image, or sound through the print media, or radio, or television, or electronic media, or other channels, which are inconsistent with the truth or are violent, aggressive, rude, inciting or threatening and aimed at preventing a voter from casting a ballot or vote in any direction shall be considered as disrupting the referendum”, which is an offence of the Constitutional Referendum Act B.E. 2559’s Section 61 paragraph two.

The 14 items of evidence seized by the officials include the pickup truck, Vinyl banner reading “Any Thai Prime Minister is subject to mocking” (one copy), a loudspeaker and microphones, ‘Vote No’ bookmarks, document ‘Seven reasons why the Draft Constitution should be rejected’. brochure “How to cast your votes”, document “A dissenting opinion”, document ‘Release the Seven Referendum Prisoners’, public statement of the Nitirat Group on the Referendum, document “How to apply to vote outside your constituency” and ‘Vote No’ stickers.

The four suspects pleaded not guilty to the charge and refused to sign their names in the Arrest Memo. Later at 16.00, the police also searched in the passenger cabin and seized five more items on top of the documents already seized including a NDM donation box made of paper with 2,571 baht inside and a booklet “In the name of the NCPO’s (in)justice” by the Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR).

Around 18:00 p.m., the police have brought the four suspects to a holding cell at the Ban Pong Police Station and denied them bail at the police level. They were informed that the interrogation shall take place that night and they would be brought to the Provincial Court of Ratchaburi for a remand hearing on 11 July 2016 which TLHR attorneys filed a motion objecting the remand then.

Of late at 20.20 p.m., it was reported that four vehicles of police officials have laid siege to the residence of Mr. Panuwat Songsawatchai, student of Faculty of Political Science, Maejo University Phrae Campus – Maejo University, another suspect in the same case who was summoned to turn himself in at the Ban Pong Police Station as a result of his activity at the referendum monitoring center in the morning. He was pressed with the same charge as the four individuals.

On 11 July 2016 at 9:00 a.m., all five were brought to the pre-trial remand hearing at the Provincial Court of Ratchaburi. The police investigator of Ban Pong Police Station asked the Court to have them remanded for 12 days and the Court approved as submitted by police. However, six alleged offenders have been released by the order of the Court, by placing bail bond at 140,000 Baht (around 3,975 $) each.


Previously, on 23 June 2016, other NDM activists and union activists, 13 of them, were arrested while distributing campaign material in the public to urge them to vote during the Constitutional Referendum in Samut Prakan province. They were pressed with charges relating to the violation of the Order of the Head of the NCPO No. 3/2558 and the Constitutional Referendum Act’s Section 61 (please see Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-075-2016 for more information). In addition, seven other student activists from the Kasetsat Liberals were apprehended while organizing a ceremony to mark the anniversary of Thailand’s democracy “24 June: Dusting off Democracy” at the Lak Si Monument on 24 June and their ‘Vote No’ campaign material of their car were also seized. The seven activists were pressed with charges relating to the political gathering of five persons and upward, the violation of the Order of the Head of the NCPO No. 3/2558, though they were not charged for violating the Constitutional Referendum Act’s Section 61.


Please write letters to the authorities below, asking them to immediately withdraw the case and end any ongoing investigation into the 4 activists and 1 reporter from Prachatai.

Please note that the Asian Human Rights Commission is writing a separate letter to the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion expression and seeking his urgent intervention into this matter.


Dear ___________,

THAILAND: End judicial harassment of pro-democracy activists and reporter

Name of victim: 1. Mr. Pakorn Areekul 2. Mr. Anan Loket 3.Mr. Anucha Rungmorakot 4.Mr. Thaweesak Kerdpokha 5. Mr. Panuwat Songsawatchai

Names of alleged perpetrators: Military Officers and Police Officers

Date of incident: 10 July 2016 to the present

Place of incident: Ratchaburi province, Thailand

I am writing to voice my deep concern regarding the arrest of the New Democracy Movement (NDM) activists and a reporter on the offence against the Constitutional Referendum Act as a result of the documents recouped from their vehicle, even though they were not yet distributed, emerged in the wake of puzzlement by the suspects in the case.

While the international community has frequently described freedom of expression as one of the essential foundations of a democratic society because it guarantees the right of every person to exchange information, debate ideas and express opinions, the Constitutional Referendum Act B.E. 2559’s Section 61 paragraph and its implementation have shown contradictory results. Because it intends to restrict people’s right who need to discuss – and to criticise – decisions about their country.

Moreover, generally Article 19 of International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) prohibits the state from interfering with freedom of expression. This would prevent, for example, the government attempting to ban particular forms of political or artistic expression. The prohibition is not limited to the government but also includes all public bodies such as local authorities, schools and universities which Thailand, as a State party, should respect it.

Therefore, I would like to urge:

1. The Commander of Royal Thai Police to immediately and unconditionally drop all charges against the 4 activists and 1 reporter who were trying to campaign and report around the referendum on the draft constitution;
2. The Commissioner-General of Royal Thai Police and the Attorney General of Office of Attorney General to guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of the 4 activists and 1 reporter and unconditionally drop all charges against them;
3. The Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission to urge The Royal Thai Police and The National for Peace and Order (NCPO) to take prompt action to protect the 4 activists and 1 reporter who were trying to campaign and report around the referendum on the draft constitution;
4. The NCPO to cease obstructing, threatening, and arresting those who campaign around the referendum and express differing views about the draft constitution in an orderly, peaceful and open manner, and allow the free presentation of views to accept or reject the draft constitution through various channels.

Yours Sincerely,



1. General Prayuth Chan-ocha
Prime Minister
Head of the National Council for Peace and Order
Rachadamnoen Nok Road
Bang Khun Phrom
Bangkok 10200
Tel: +662 283-4000
Fax: +662 282-5131
Email: panadda_d@opm.go.th

2. Pol Gen Chakthip Chaijinda
Commissioner General of the Royal Thai Police
Rama I Rd, Khwaeng Pathum Wan,
Khet Pathum Wan, Bangkok 10330
Tel: +662 2516 831
Fax: +662 2053 738

3. Pol.Sub.Lt. Pongniwat Yuthaphunboripahn
Deputy Attorney General.
The Office of the Attorney General
The Government Complex Commemorating His Majesty the King’s 80th Birthday Anniversary 5th December, B.E.2550 (2007), Building B 120 Moo 3
Chaengwattana Road
Thoongsonghong, Laksi Bangkok 10210
Tel: +662 142 1444
Fax: +662 143 9546
Email: ag@ago.go.th

4. Mr. What Tingsamitr
Chairman of National Human Rights Commission
The Government Complex Commemorating His Majesty the King’s 80th Birthday Anniversary 5th December
B.E.2550 (2007), Building B 120 Moo 3
Chaengwattana Road
Thoongsonghong, Laksi Bangkok 10210
Tel: +662141 3800, +6621413900
E-mail: help@nhrc.or.th

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