The week after the national phenomenon “Run Against Dictatorship” is stirred with a series of human rights violations, along with the SLAPP cases inflicted on organizers of the event from across the country. Apart from the cases derived from the running event, TLHR has gathered information regarding the ongoing cases’ update along with the political situation for further review from 13 – 17 Jan 2020.
Thai Federation Series: this week marked the witness examination for the case in which the defendants were wearing black shirts in a symbolic gathering on “Father Day”. (Released on 14/01/2020)
On 16 and 17 Jan 2020, starting from 9.00 AM – 4.30 PM, the Criminal Court on Ratchada road has made appointments to testify the witness for the case concerning the Thai Federation series, in which the Public Prosecutor under the Office of the Attorney General (Office of Special Prosecutor, Criminal Cases Division 5), the accuser, has alleged two of the defendants, Mr. Therdsak and Mrs. Praphan, of violating Article 116 (Sedition) and 209 (Committed in an organized crime) of the Criminal Code, as the two allegedly involved in the Thai Federation’s political gathering.
This case is considered as the second case in the series. However, it is the first one that involved symbolic expression: wearing a black shirt with a red-and-white flag sew on the left side of the shirt above the chest. Such prosecution derived from the gathering on 5 Dec 2018 during which the two had joined with others wearing the same outfit identifying themselves as a part of the Thai Federation at the Mall Bangkapi department store.
2 organizers of the “Run Against Dictatorship” in the Northeastern provinces were fined, while the other 2 insisted on fighting for their justice. (Released on 14/01/2020)
4 individuals were alleged of violating the Public Assembly Act due to their failure to notify the assembly prior to the event:
- 13 Jan 2020 – Issari Aphisiriruchipas, former Future Forward Party MP’s candidate – Buriram province, reported that she had received a summons by Amphoe Sateuk Police Station to come to acknowledge of the allegations on 17 Jan 2020 at 9.00 AM. However, she insisted that she was not an organizer to the event and thus determined to fight for her justice.
- At Yasothorn province, a former officer of Future Forward Party’s coordinating center “Chaiwat Saiseekaew” was called to Yasothorn Police Station for a “talk”. As he came to meet with police officers, he was then informed of violating the Public Gathering Act, despite receiving no summons prior to the visit. According to Mr. Chaiwat, he claimed that he was forced to confess and pay for a fine of 3,000 Baht.
- At Surin province, Nirun Luadngern, former Future Forward Party MP’s candidate – Surin province, was summoned to Surin Police Station to acknowledge of the allegations. After having a meeting with the inquiry officer who told him to pay for a fine of 500 Baht, he agreed to confess. However, before leaving the station, he was called back to pay a hefty fine of 5,000 Baht, as the superintendent of Surin Police Station considered the first amount as too little.
- 14 Jan 2020 – Pisarn Buppasiri, former Future Forward Party MP’s candidate – Nakhon Phanom province, district 4, came to meet with the inquiry officer to receive the summons. However, as he arrived at the police station, it turned out the officer still had not issued a summons yet. He was then forced to confess by signing in the record of an allegation to which he refused, insisting that he will fight for justice in the courtroom.
Computer Crime Act: the victim of the “Witch Hunt” who participated in the gathering held at the front of the MBK shopping complex was summoned to give a statement at the TCSD, as a result of posting a controversial photo on Facebook. (Released on 15/01/2020)
While the Public Gathering Act has been used by the state to suppress the political movement during and after the assembly #ไม่ถอยไม่ทน initiated by members of Future Forward Party on 14 Dec 2019, an online “Witch Hunt” has also been used by alt-right Facebook’s pages to hunt down dissidents, particularly 4 individuals who posted and commented in a Facebook’s post displaying the protestor who held an English sign “Fuck U Dictatorship” with a grand mural of the late King Rama 9 in the background. As a result, one of them lost a job and has become a target to the state’s authorities ever since.
On 14 Jan 2020, Duangthip (pseudonym), an individual who was forced to resign from her job, came to the TCSD to give a statement concerning the controversial post, after receiving a summons by authorities as per the Computer Crime Act, Article 18 (1). During the interrogation, she was asked with a series of personal questions revolving around her Facebook post and the royal house of Thailand wherein she made a clear statement that such post was made out of good intention. It should be noted that officers also requested to check her phone despite presenting official summons.
Another postponement was made: Public Prosecutor delayed order for the fourth time in the case against 3 activists, alleged of insulting the Election Commission. (Releases 15/01/2020)
On 15 Jan 2020, at the Office of the Attorney General, Public Prosecutor made an appointment for Payao Akkhahad, Parit Chiwarak, and Sirawit Serithiwat to hear for an order whether to press charge or not. However, the appointment was postponed to 27 Feb 2020 instead.
This postponement was made for the fourth time: initially, 30 Sep 2019, then to 30 October 2019, 28 Nov 2019, and recently on 15 Jan 2020.
The cause of such prosecution derived from the assembly on 31 March 2019 where people gathered to pressure the Election Commission to resign from the position.
The court refused to adjudicate a petition made by the NDM group as they tried to sue officers who initiated a violent crackdown on the protestors in 2015. (Released on 16 Jan 2020)
Southern Bangkok Civil Court arranged an appointment for the litigants in the case of 13 activists under the name of the New Democracy Movement (NDM) who tried to sue the Royal Thai Police, the Royal Thai Army, and the Office of the Prime Minister because of their violent crackdown on the protestors at the front of BACC during a gathering made to commemorate the 2014 coup, to hear an order from the Supreme Court. On that day, the Supreme Court was determined in not allowing an attempt to file the petition, dismissing the petition, and rejecting the petition submitted by the accuser.