The virus and political prisoners

31 01 2022

Several times it has been pointed out that political prisoners detained by the junta have become ill in prison. The regime couldn’t care less as these are people they prefer to torture.

Thai Lawyers for Human Rights reports on this cruel treatment, determining that at least “30 political prisoners have tested positive for Covid-19 in the prison while being held in custody” since late March 2021. It must be remembered that “[a]ll of them are ‘innocent people’ who have been detained pending the trial.”

Some have been bailed, but the regime won’t release the rest until they plead guilty or agree to stringent and repressive bail conditions.

Some of the detainees have been reinfected while in the prison, including the Panupong Jadnok and Sam Samet.

Sakchai “Hia Song” Tangchitsadudi “was only allowed to post bail when the virus had penetrated his lungs after having tested positive for Covid-19 due to his comorbidity. As a result, he had to received treatment in ICU in a hospital outside the prison.”

This is an inhumane regime.





Intimidate, repress, and control II

30 01 2022

The repression of heavy suppression of protesters and activists has been intense. Thai Lawyers for Human Rights recently published a report that states “at least 1,747 people in 980 cases have been prosecuted due to political protests and expression since the Free Youth Rally on 18 July 2020 until 25 December 2021.”

Only 150 of these cases have been concluded, meaning that hundreds of people are tied up in various legal procedures or are being held without bail. This reflects the regime’s use of lawfare.

In 2021 alone, “1,513 new people in 835 cases have been politically accused, accounting for an almost 7-fold increase compared to the number in the second half of 2020.”

Notably, there was a sharp rise in arrests and prosecutions “during the three-month period between August to October. The period coincided with a heightened political tension as a result of car mob events in various provinces, almost daily protests by various groups in Bangkok, and series of “Talu-Gas” protests at Din Daeng Intersection and the surrounding areas.”

Lese majeste charges were filed against at least 127 “new” people in 104 cases, while sedition charges were filed against at least 55 “new” people in 16 cases. As for the “key political leaders accused between 18 July 2020 and 25 December 2021 …[TLHR] found that:

Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak has 43 cases.

Panupong “Mike” Jadnok has 30 cases.

Anon Nampa has 24 cases.

Panusaya “Rung” Sithijirawattanakul has 24 cases.

Jatupat “Pai” Boonpattararaksa has 19 cases.

Benja Apan has 19 cases.

Another TLHR report states that “at least 291 activists and citizens, 39 of whom concerned youths under 18 years old, received house visits or were summoned for talks by authorities. These numbers do not include cases where authorities went to deliver summon warrants or make an arrest as part of a prosecution.” Most of this surveillance was in the northeast.

The repression continues and deepens.





Precarious political prisoners

7 01 2022

We have repeatedly referred to the mistreatment of political prisoners as lese majeste torture. It continues unabated.

The most recent report is that “pro-democracy activist, Arnon Nampa, 37, is currently ill with a high fever in Bangkok Remand Prison…”.

His legal team from Thai Lawyers For Human Rights (TLHR) “are urgently seeking medical attention for him as they are concerned that his condition could continue to worsen.” Fellow political prisoner Jatuphat Boonpattaraksa confirmed that Arnon is struggling with a high fever. They do not know what his illness is.

Clipped from Prachatai

His lawyers demand that the “Bangkok Remand Prison … allow medical workers to check on his illness and to find out if he has Covid or not…”. They add that “Arnon was a healthy person before his first entering prison in 2021. But now he has difficulty breathing and is easily vulnerable to fatigue due to a previous lung infection brought on from Covid.”

Prison authorities are notoriously corrupt and hopeless and several lese majeste prisoners have suffered health issues in hospital – and, several years ago, one died – and with palace and regime spitting venom at these political prisoners, their health situation is always tenuous. And that seems to be what the callous, royalist regime wants.





Arbitrary 112 detention

1 01 2022

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

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

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

Clipped from Prachatai

The report states:

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

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

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

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

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

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

FIDH Secretary-General Adilur Rahman Khan stated:

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

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

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





Precious courts I

21 12 2021

Prachatai has a report on the judiciary that is worth considering.

Joseph (not his real name) protested the denial of bail for detained activists – some of them held for more than 4 months now. He cut his arm in front of the judge on 11 October 2021 to protest the denial of bail for activists Arnon Nampa and Benja Apan. They are held on lese majeste and other charges.

Now Joseph “has been sentenced to 2 months in prison on a contempt of court charge…”.

Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) report that Joseph was sentenced by the South Bangkok Criminal Court on 17 December. Because he “confessed and said to the court that his action was symbolic and that he has no intention of hurting anyone, the court reduced his sentence to 1 month in prison and a 250-baht fine. His sentence is also suspended for 6 months.”

Clipped from Prachatai

TLHR calculates “that 26 people have been charged with contempt of court in 16 cases since July 2020. Of these cases, 14 resulted from protests demanding the right to bail for detained activists.”

Joseph is also reportedly:

one of the 13 protesters facing royal defamation and sedition charges under Section 112 [lese majeste] and 116 [sedition] of the Thai Criminal Code, as well as using a sound amplifier without permission under the Controlling Public Advertisement by Sound Amplifier Act for either reading a statement or giving speeches during the protest in front of the German Embassy in Bangkok on 26 October 2020, in which they submitted a petition calling for the German authorities to investigate King Vajiralongkorn’s use of power during his time in Germany. Joseph is facing charges for reading out a statement in English.





“Down with feudalism” 112 charge/s

26 11 2021

Via Prachatai, Thai Lawyers for Human Rights has “reported that Supakorn Khunchit, a student from the Faculty of Economics, Prince of Songkla University, was arrested by a group of plainclothes police officers in the parking lot in front of the Songklanagarind Hospital’s sport complex after he went to receive his second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.”

The arrest was made by plainclothes police acting like thugs on 23 November 2021:

Supakorn said that, at first, a man called out to him in the parking lot. He thought the man wanted to ask for some information, so he walked over, but was then surrounded by 3 – 4 other men who said they were police officers and presented a warrant issued by the Phatthalung Provincial Court … under Section 112 of the Criminal Code, a sedition charge under Section 116 of the Criminal Code, and a charge of entering into a computer system data which is an offense relating to national security under Section 14 of the Computer Crimes Act.

It is claimed that another “7 – 8 more plainclothes officers then came out of a vehicle and surrounded him.”

He was permitted to contact a lawyer but the police thugs took him off to a police station and recorded the arrest before the lawyer had arrived.

Supakorn stated that “he had never received a summons…”.

He was held overnight at Muang Phatthalung Police Station, without access to visitors or a lawyer. A TLHR lawyer and “Suthichai Ngamchuensuwan, Dean of the Faculty of Law, Prince of Songkla University, went to meet him on Wednesday morning (24 November).”

Supakorn is charged for allegedly being part of a “group of people who took pictures of various locations in Phatthalung and posted them on the Facebook pages ‘Free Phatthalung’ and ‘Democracy of Southern Thailand’ along with messages which the police claimed were insulting towards the King and the Queen and aimed to incite unrest among the people.”

Among the messages were: “‘1 2 3 4 5 fuck you,’ ‘Down with feudalism. Long live the ducks,’ ‘The people own the country’,” which TLHR disputed as messages corresponding to the charges.

Supakorn was “granted bail using Suthichai’s academic position as security.”

Supakorn pointed out some of the absurdities of his arrest, observing that “he had just reported to the police on charges relating to another protest but did not receive an arrest warrant for this case.”

TLHR stated that “an arrest warrant has also been issued for 2 other student activists on charges relating to the same incident, and that they would be reporting to the police on Friday (26 November).”





Updated: The regime’s political prisoners

24 11 2021

Recently, Thai Lawyers for Human Rights listed those political prisoners currently held in the regime’s dungeons. There are at least 25.

These political detainees have repeatedly applied for but been denied bail. For example, lawyer and activist Arnon Nampa has had his bail applications denied eight times, Jatupat Boonpattararaksa has had bail denied seven times, and so on. The courts can detain them for as long as it takes for their cases to be concluded. In the past, for lese majeste detainees, this was a form of torture meant to force them to plead guilty.

Those held longest have been in the dungeons for almost 4 months.

We attach here a summary of the list of political detainees:

Update: Thai Enquirer has a story regarding some of those included in the list above. It emphasizes that the regime’s police have arrested more than 200 children and youths associated with the Din Daeng protests. Using data from TLHR, it states that “from August to October, police have arrested 176 young people, aged 15-18, and another 46 children under the age of 15 for a range of charges.” Arrests are made and homes searched without warrants, and some a held without access to guardians or lawyers. Just another day in authoritarian, autocratic Thailand.





Banner 112

27 10 2021

Prachatai and Thai Lawyers for Human Rights report that two Burapha University students – Watchara (last name withheld) and his roommate Wirachat (last name withheld) – have been arrested and charged with lese majeste for hanging a banner from their dormitory balcony that was considered to attack the monarchy.

Watchara was arrested on 23 October 2021 outside his dorm “on an arrest warrant issued by the Chonburi Provincial Court. According to Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR), he never received a summons before being arrested…. He was taken to Saensuk Police Station and held there overnight.”

On 24 October 2021, Wirachat “who was informed that an arrest warrant had also been issued for him, reported to the police.” He was also held overnight.

Earlier, on 13 October 2021, the two, with another student,” were taken to Saensuk Police Station after they hung the banner from their balcony on the evening of 12 October 2021. They were questioned without a lawyer present before being released without being charged.”

That release lasted about 10 days before they were again taken in.

TLHR reported that a police report stated that an informant told them where Watchara lived, wanting “a reward for assisting in his arrest.” At the police station, efforts were made to “take DNA samples from both students, but their lawyer declined the request as there is no reason to do so in this case.”

Wirachat’s supporters showed their support, “holding banners saying ‘Feudalism shall fall; the people shall prosper’ and other messages demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha’s government, access to Covid-19 vaccines, repeal of Section 112, and monarchy reform.” Another group “poured dog food in front of a group of police officers.”

Police “opposed to bail on the grounds that the charge has a severe penalty and is related to national security.” However, the two were “later granted bail using a security of 150,000 baht each, which was covered by the Will of the People Fund, a bail fund for those facing charges for political expression. The court also set them the condition that they do not repeat their offense.”





A report on lese majeste

6 10 2021

The International Federation for Human Rights says that the recent “wave of arrests, detentions, and prosecutions for royal defamation could result in several pro-democracy activists receiving prison sentences ranging between 120 and 300 years…”.

It has released a new report with Thai Lawyer for Human Rights and Internet Law Reform Dialogue titled Second wave: The return of lèse-majesté in Thailand “documents how the Thai government has used and abused Article 112 of the Criminal Code (“lèse-majesté”) to target pro-democracy activists and protesters in relation to their online political expression and participation in peaceful pro-democracy demonstrations.”





Cracking down III

19 09 2021

Thai Lawyers for Human Rights has recently reported statistics on people arrested or detained, accused of involvement in protest activities during the first three weeks of August:

It is found that from 1 to 25 August 2021, at least 260 persons have been arrested. This number includes at least 13 children younger than 15 years old, 57 youths within the age range from 15 to 18 years old, and 190 adults. However, it excludes the key protest leaders and activists who reported to the authorities per their arrest warrants.

Arresting and detaining 57 kids under 18 may seem excessive, but the point of these operations is to frighten and repress.

So it is that the cops harass:

Clipped from The Nation

All the arrested persons had been detained and interrogated in different places, depending on the authorities’ order each day. The documented detention venues included the Region 1 Border Patrol Police Headquarters (BPP 1) in Pathum Thani Province, the Narcotics Suppression Bureau (NSB) inside the Royal Thai Police Club, and other police stations across Bangkok. The majority of detention was unlawful because the police officers often did not bring the arrested persons to a police station in the locality of where they were arrested or the station in charge of processing the arrested persons’ charges in line with the Criminal Procedure Code.

Unlawful arrest and other unlawful activity seems to define police operations.

Read more on these arrests here.

Meanwhile, the regime’s thuggish police are running dragnets across the protest movement. Prachatai reports that on 17 September, “police officers raided the house of members of the student activist group United Front of Thammasat and Demonstration (UFTD), confiscating mobile phones and computers and arresting one person.” According to TLHR, the arrest warrant did not say why it was issued.

That’s probably unlawful as well, but these thugs have become the law; whatever they do seems okay.

According to Thai PBS, Deputy Police Spokesman Pol Col Krisana Pattanacharoen stated that the cops “have 20 targets of investigation, including the UFTD leaders, who are suspected of committing illegal acts related to national security.” That’s usually code for lese majeste and/or sedition.

Pol Col Krisana claimed “[s]imilar raids and searches have been conducted outside Bangkok and at least five suspects have already been arrested…”.

Clipped from Prachatai

The person arrested was university student Niraphorn Onkhao, a third-year liberal arts student at Thammasat University, on charges of sedition and computer crimes. TLHR say the arrest warrant did not say why it was issued and contained the wrong citizen ID number. Niraphorn also protested during the arrest that she had never received a summons.

Niraphorn denied all charges and refused to sign the arrest record and was later released on bail of 25,000 baht.

TLHR reported that the complaint leading to Niraphorn’s arrest was filed “by Nopadol Prompasit, a member of the Thailand Help Center for Cyberbullying Victims, an online royalist group whose members have filed numerous lèse majesté charges against many netizens and activists…”. Ultra-royalist Nopadol claimed the student was “involved with running the UFTD’s Facebook page, which contain messages calling for people to join protests, which said were not peaceful protests and at risk of spreading Covid-19.”

Showing how close the links are between regime cops and ultra-royalists, police claimed they “found that the Facebook page contain[ed] what they consider to be seditious messages calling for people to rebel against the authorities, as well as accusations that officers used excessive force on protesters.”

Thailand’s political space narrows by the day.








%d bloggers like this: