August 9, 2017
On 2 August 2017, human rights lawyer Sirikan Charoensiri was informed of charges pressed against her for allegedly submitting a false report to the police under Sections 172 and 174 of the Thai Criminal Code. In total, Sirikan Charoensiri is currently facing three different legal proceedings, all linked to her work as a human rights lawyer, and which could carry up to 15 years’ imprisonment.
Sirikan Charoensiri is a human rights lawyer who works with Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR), where she provides legal services in high-profile human rights cases on a pro bono basis. She is one of the legal representatives of the 14 student activists from the New Democracy Movement (NDM), who were arrested on 26 June 2015 after staging peaceful protests to mark the first anniversary of the military coup, which took place in May 2014. In April 2017, she was the first woman to receive the Lawyers for Lawyers Award from the eponymous Dutch civil society group.
On 2 August 2017, Sirikan Charoensiri reported to the Chanasongkram police station in Bangkok and was informed that she was charged with allegedly submitting a false report to the police in violation of Sections 172 and 174 of the Thai Criminal Code. These charges, which Sirikan Charoensiri denies, were filed against her after she submitted a complaint of malfeasance in office against the Commander of the Metropolitan Police Bureau 6, and other police officers for illegally impounding her car on 27 June 2015. On that day, police seized Sirikan Charoensiri’s vehicle without a warrant in order to confiscate the mobile phones of the members of the New Democracy Movement, which were in the car. The defender declared that she would submit a written statement before 30 September 2017. The charges carry a penalty of up to 5 years in jail.
Earlier that day, the public prosecutor of Dusit District Prosecutor Office rescheduled the reading of the indictment decision in a separate case against Sirikan Charoensiri. The hearing was postponed to 20 November 2017 at 09:30. A case file was registered against the human rights lawyer in May 2016 under Sections 142 and 368 of the Thai Criminal Code for concealing evidence and refusing to comply with official orders, respectively.