The first week of 2020 doesn’t mark as a good beginning of the new year solely as the human rights violation still looms in various areas across Thailand. With the nation’s biggest assembly’s “Run Against Dictatorship” to be staged for the first time after the 2014 Coup d’etat on 12 Jan, profound cases of intimidation and threatening conducted by the state authorities against organizers of the event have been reported, while several were prosecuted. From 6 – 11 Jan, TLHR has gathered information regarding the cases’ update along with the political situation for further review.

Cases Updates

Police agreed to file the case against a member of “Liberal Assembly of Chiang Mai University for Democracy” after an individual failed to notify the gathering #ไม่ถอยไม่ทน (#WeWillNotRetreat) at Tha Phae Gate, Chiang Mai.

6 Jan 2020 – 10.00 AM

At the Prosecutor’s office, Chiang Mai District Court, inquiry official of Muang Chiang Mai Police Station made an appointment for Mr. Prasit Khrutarot, a student from the Faculty of Humanities, Chiang Mai University and members of “Liberal Assembly of Chiang Mai University for Democracy” to hear for an order to submit the case in which he was accused of not notifying of a public gathering prior to the event to the Public Prosecutor. The cause of this case derived from Mr. Prasit being an organizer of the flash mob activity #ไม่ถอยไม่ทน held concurrently with the main event in Bangkok on 14 Dec 2019 to oppose to the unjustified ruling made by the Constitutional Court.

On that day, Pol.Lt.Col. Komsan Pimpunchaiyabul, an inquiry official of Muang Chiang Mai Police Station, had concluded the case’s files and passed on an order to prosecute Mr. Prasit to the Public Prosecutor of Chiang Mai District Court. After receiving the case’s files, the Public Prosecutor then made the next appointment for Mr. Prasit to hear for further order on 10 Jan 2020 at 13.30 PM.

“Parit – Thanawat” came to acknowledge the charges as a result of participating in the flash mob staged by the leader of Future Forward Party.

10 Jan 2020 – 15.00 PM

“Penguin” Parit Chiwarak and “Ball” Thanawat Wongchai traveled to acknowledge of the allegations (violating the Public Assembly Act) at Pathumwan Police Station. Alleged of being a part of an organizer to the #ไม่ถอยไม่ทน public gathering on 14 Dec 2019 (initiated by the Future Forward Party) on the skywalk at the front of MBK shopping center, they came to the police station to deny all the allegations and thus insisted on giving written forms of the testimony to inquiry officers later.

Others who were alleged of the same charges are Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit – Future Forward Party Leader, Phairat Chotikanchornkajorn – former MP candidate of Future Forward Party, Nakhon Pathom Province, and Nattha Mahatthana – political activist.

Situation Updates

Reviewing the experience as an organizer of “Run Against Dictatorship” Phayao: being summoned to the police station, intimidation, being forced to testify, and was forced to cancel the event.

6 January 2020

At Muang Phayao Police Station, Mr. I-Din Pra-in, Mr. Narawit Onthong, and Mr. Thiwa Chiwathawatsakun, 2nd-year students of the Faculty of Information and Communication Technology Phayao University, who prepared to stage the “Run Against Dictatorship” in the area of Muang Phayao, came to receive a response letter from the superintendent of Phayao Police Station, after presenting at the police station to explain on the details of the event in a 5-hours-long meeting yesterday. Prior to being summoned to testify as a “witness”, they were faced with several forms of intimidation: being followed by officers to their parents’ houses and were called privately to meet with police officers for 3 consecutive days.

On 6 Jan, the director of Muang Phayao police station stated in a response letter not to support the event organizer given the reason that they were not allowed to use the location by the Muang Phayao Municipality and the traffic officer. Officials also further stated that if the organizer still insists on staging such activity without notifying the public gathering prior to the event, they will be charged as violating the Public Assembly Act 2015.

Police Officers followed former MP candidate of Future Forward Party – Lampang forcing him to divulge information regarding the event “Run Against Dictatorship”

10 Jan 2020

Mr. Kritphop Satidinitiwong, a former candidate representing the Future Forward Party for the House of Representatives (MP), District 2, Lampang Province revealed to TLHR that he was followed by several police officers who forcefully tried to divulge his personal information and information regarding the “Run Against Dictatorship” event ever since around the end of last year. Such intimidation has taken its toll on his father who is almost 80 years old and is suffering from diabetes, causing him to become hospitalized. Despite the consequence, police officers still followed the victim to the hospital and forced him to divulge information, even making a phone call relentlessly for the past few days. Such unlawful conduct was made in spite of having no running event staged in Lampang province.

3 university students from Phayao University announced to cancel the “Run Against Dictatorship” event; still, the police officers followed them to the dormitory and took a photo to report to the “chief” afterward.

5 Jan 2020

A summon was released calling 3 university students of Phayao University to report to the superintendent of Phayao Police Station after they had requested permission to stage the “Run Against Dictatorship” event. Prior to being summoned, they were constantly contacting via phone calls and even were visited at their parents’ houses. After 5-hours-long meeting on 5 Jan, the superintendent issued a response the following day, denying the request made by the 3 students given the reason that Phayao Municipality did not grant the request to use the location to stage the event concurrently with the traffic officers who also refused to grant the permission to use the road per the Land Traffic Act.

Related stories:

You Can “Run Against Dictatorship”: Basic Legal Recommendations before Staging a “Run Against Dictatorship” Event