Tag Archives: Thailand

Thailand: Constitutional Court rules activists aimed to overthrow monarchy


Activist Panusaya

The Constitutional Court ruled on Wednesday that three activists aimed to overthrow the state and the monarchy in their speeches, and ordered them and other parties to end all moves against the highest institution.

The court said Arnon Nampa, Panupong “Mike” Jadnok and Panusaya “Rung” Sithijirawattanakul attempted to overthrow the democratic institution with the King as head of state in demands made during a rally at Thammasat University Rangsit campus on Aug 10, 2020 and on other occassions afterwards.

The activists listed 10 demands in their manifesto delivered at Thammasat and at  subsequent events, includng a call for reform of the monarchy and the abolition of Section 112, known as the lese majesty law.

The judges ruled that these demands were in violation of Section 49 of the constitution. 

The court also ordered the three respondents and others to end their movement.

“The three respondents, other organisations and networks must cease their actions,” the judges said in their ruling, read out at the court on Wednesday afternoon.

The court said the ruling carried no penalty for the three respondents.

Only Ms Panusaya was at the court. Mr Arnon and Mr Panupong sent representatives to hear the ruling. They all refused to stay in the courtroom and waited outside.









Concerns about criminal investigation into Thai lawyer Waraporn Utairangsee


Concerns about criminal investigation into Thai lawyer Waraporn Utairangsee

Lawyers for Lawyers is concerned about criminal proceedings that have been initiated against Thai lawyer Waraporn Utairangsee for actions undertaken in her capacity as legal representative of the ethnic Karen minority group.

Waraporn Utairangsee is a lawyer active in Thailand for the Human Rights Lawyers Association, who is currently representing the ethnic Karen minority group. According to our information, criminal proceedings have been initiated against her based on an accusation of giving false information on a criminal offence. Ms. Waraporn was reported to the police by Mr. Chaiwait Limlikhitaksorn, the former Chief of the Kaeng Krachan National Park on 27 July 2021. Ms. Waraporn reported a criminal case against Mr. Chaiwat for burning ethnic Karen villages and forcible eviction of the villagers this village in Kaeng Krachan National Park during 5 to 9 May 2011. Mr. Chaiwat disputes this course of events and has therefore accused Ms. Waraporn and her client, spiritual leader Mr. Ko-I Mimi of the Karen ethnic group of providing false information about a criminal event. According to reports received by Lawyers for Lawyers, the Supreme Administrative Court ruled on 6 October 2016 that the actions of the Kaeng Krachan National Park’s officers, led by Mr. Chaiwat, between 5 to 9 May 2011, were unlawful.

According to the United Nations Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers, Ms. Waraporn should be able to defend her clients, the ethnic Karen minority group, without being criminally prosecuted for actions and statements made within her capacity as a lawyer, such as reporting a criminal charge against the unlawful behaviour of Mr. Chaiwat. Lawyers for Lawyers emphasizes that lawyers in Thailand should be able to carry out their legitimate professional rights and duties without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions including judicial harassment.

Lawyers for Lawyers will continue to monitor Ms. Waraporn’s case.



A year after taboo on Thai king broken, 103 face jail for royal insult


Human rights lawyer Arnon Nampa arrested and charged | Front Line Defenders

In the year since making an unprecedented, taboo-breaking speech openly calling for discussion on the role of Thailand’s powerful king, human rights lawyer Arnon Nampa has spent months in jail, charged with the crime of defaming the monarchy.

He’s one of 103 people from Thailand’s youth-led anti-government protests now charged with insulting or threatening King Maha Vajiralongkorn or his immediate family, a crime punishable by up to 15 years’ imprisonment. Hundreds more face other criminal charges.

Arnon, 36, says he has no regrets and vows the prosecutions won’t crush the anti-government movement, which in recent weeks has been building again.

“I think it has been worthwhile. Now the society can move forward and people can talk about the monarchy,” Arnon told Reuters in an interview while awaiting trial. He denies any wrongdoing.

The king has traditionally been portrayed as above reproach in conservative Thai culture, and any criticism of the monarch – whom some have viewed as semi-divine – is taboo as well as illegal.

Arnon, however, says talking openly about the monarchy is necessary in the push for democratic reform and the ouster of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, who first came to power in a 2014 coup and has long associated himself with loyalty to the king.

Government spokesman Anucha Burapachaisri on Monday defended the criminal cases against protesters.


Arnon, an adviser to the youth movement, faces 12 separate lese majeste cases and spent 113 days imprisoned before being released on bail in June.






Thailand: Lawyer and Land Rights Activist Gunned Down in Trang Province


Thailand, Lawyer and Land Rights Activist Gunned Down in Trang Province

Human Rights Watch said today Thai authorities should immediately investigate the killing of a lawyer and land rights activist. Somsak Onchuenjit was gunned down in Trang province in southern Thailand.

Successive Thai governments have failed to prevent or adequately respond to attacks against human rights defenders who represent landless farmers, Human Rights Watch said.

On May 4, 2021, at about 7:40 a.m., an unidentified gunman fatally shot Somsak, 54, while he was working in a rubber plantation near his home in Trang province’s Wangviset district. Somsak had recently told his family that he had been followed and was receiving death threats.

Furthermore local authorities had neither investigated the threats nor arranged any measures to protect him.

“Thai authorities should not just stand by while grassroots activists in southern provinces are being murdered for standing up for their communities,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “The Thai government should urgently conduct a credible and impartial investigation and bring those responsible for Somsak’s death to justice.”


Lawyer and Land Rights Activist Gunned Down in Trang Province



Thailand: Letter to the Lawyers Council of Thailand on Disbarment Proceedings against Mr. Anon Nampha


Letter to the Lawyers Council of Thailand on Disbarment Proceedings against Mr. Anon Nampha

In a joint letter to the President of the Lawyers Council of Thailand, the ICJ and Lawyers for Lawyers raised concerns on the disbarment proceeding against Mr. Anon Nampha, a lawyer and human rights defender. The organisations believe that the proceedings unduly interfere in his work as a lawyer and serves to impair the exercise of his human rights, including the right to freedom of expression.

Dear President of the Lawyers Council of Thailand,
Re: Disbarment Proceedings Against Mr. Anon Nampha

Lawyers for Lawyers is an independent and non-political foundation that seeks to promote the proper functioning of the rule of law by pursuing freedom and independence of the legal profession.

International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), a global non-governmental organization composed of 60 eminent judges and lawyers, works to advance understanding and respect for rule of law as well as the legal protection of human rights throughout the world.

We write to your office concerning the disbarment proceeding against Mr. Anon Nampha, a lawyer and human rights defender, that is taking place before the Investigative Committee that was established by the Committee on Professional Ethics of the Lawyers Council of Thailand during the Meeting No. 1/2564 on 13 January 2021. We are concerned that the proceeding unduly interferes in his work as lawyer, including in representation of clients, and serves to impair the exercise of his human rights, including the right to freedom of expression.

According to our information, we understand that the proceeding against lawyer Anon Nampha is related to a complaint motion filed to the Lawyers Council of Thailand on 7 August 2020 by Mr. Aphiwat Khanthong, Assistant Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister, claiming to be acting in his capacity as a private attorney at Or Amporn Na Takua Tung and Friends Law Office. Mr. Aphiwat Khanthong alleged that lawyer Anon Nampha’s behaviour violated the Lawyers Council of Thailand’s disciplinary rules as, he claims, it would “incite, intend to cause unrest, distort information and insult on the monarchy”. The alleged speech in question apparently called for reform of the monarchy, during a Harry Potter-themed protest at the Democracy Monument on Ratchadamnoen Avenue on 3 August 2020.

Under international law and standards, lawyers, like other individuals, enjoy the right to freedom of expression, belief, association and assembly. A lawyer should be able to draw the public’s attention to issues relating to public affairs in their official capacity as well as in their private capacity.









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https://lepetitjournal.com/bangkok/debut-dune-longue-liste-daffaires-de-lese-majeste-en-thailande-298353 (FRANCAIS)

Thailand: Thai protesters face charges of insulting monarchy

Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn and Queen Suthida greet royalist supporters who gathered outside the Grand Palace


Leaders of the Thailand’s pro-democracy movement have heard charges against them of insulting the monarchy. Protesters directly challenged the validity of the lese majeste law.

Thai protest leaders on Monday presented themselves to police to hear lese majeste charges over insults to the monarchy of King Maha Vajiralongkorn.

The protesters said they would not be deterred from their demonstrations. It is the first time in over two years that anyone has faced such charges, which are covered by Article 112 of the Thai criminal code.

Such charges can be punished with a jail sentence of up to 15 years in prison.

“[Article] 112 is an unjust law. I don’t give it any value,” rights lawyer and protest leader Arnon Nampa told reporters. “I am ready to fight in the justice system.”

Arnon said that he and other protesters had acknowledged and denied any wrongdoing. Seven protest leaders face royal insult charges. They also face separate charges alongside other protesters relating to demonstrations since July.

Another of the protesters to be charged, Parit Chiwarak, said the legal action would prove counter-productive for authorities.










Thailand: June, defending her right to stand up for others in Thailand

The story of Sirikan “June” Charoensiri, human rights lawyer from Thailand

She never asked for any of it. Not the awards. Not the grave charges filed against her. All she ever wanted was to defend others in the courtroom, but she ended up having to defend herself.

Despite circumstances conspiring against her, the 33-year-old Thai human rights lawyer manages to draw strength from her predicaments.

Sirikan “June” Charoensiri (@JCharoensiri) carries the burden of responsibility with astonishing grit and perseverance. She is always humble but with a laser sharp focus on what needs to be achieved.


Self-granted special powers

On the day of the interview, June’s colleagues submitted a petition to amend or revoke at least thirty-five orders issued by the junta since the 2014 coup d’état in Thailand. Hundreds of pieces of law were passed in the past five years by the junta leadership, better known as the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO). The NCPO exercised its sweeping powers granted by the 2014 interim Constitution — and by and large confirmed by the 2017 Constitution — to issue judicial, legislative, and executive orders that can’t be challenged in the court.

Only a new parliament can roll back what June calls a “dictatorial legacy.” Prayuth Chan-ocha, former army chief and leader of the pro-junta Palang Pracharat Party, has already been reappointed as Prime Minister following the general election in March 2019. A new Cabinet is also in place, and several military orders and decrees have been lifted. But June remains concerned. “Many Thai people think the junta-era restrictions are over, but military authorities can still detain civilians up to seven days without judicial oversight. Also, offenses under NCPO decrees remain in place. So far, only 70 of the 557 decrees issues by the NCPO are being repealed (for more details read this analysis piece written by Thai Lawyers for Human Rights).”

‘Fast horse lawyers’

Before the 2014 coup happened, June was working in the southern region bordering Malaysia — an area under protracted violence for a long time. When martial law, in the wake of Thailand’s twelfth coup d’état, was implemented, she knew what would come. She met late one night with a few fellow lawyers. The small group decided to form a task force made up of lawyers, social activists, and volunteers, focused on preventing the abuse of power they all expected to occur.



International Bar Association: IBA 2019: ‘Enthusiastic amateurs’ wanted to protect lawyers at risk

September 27, 2019

Simon Davis IBA

Commercial lawyers can do their bit as ‘enthusiastic amateurs’ to help protect colleagues at risk and the rule of law in general around the world, the president of the Law Society told the global legal profession today.

‘We need to ensure we are capturing the imagination and influence of the enthusiastic amateur,’ Davis told a packed closing session of the International Bar Association’s annual conference discussing ways to address the persecution of lawyers and judges.

By uniting in solidarity the profession can show that human rights lawyers are not just some isolated group to be picked off by hostile authorities, Davis said.

‘You can be a human rights lawyer in any organisation – we are all human rights lawyers,’ the Clifford Chance partner said.

The conference heard accounts of lawyers being threatened, imprisoned and murdered in countries as diverse as Turkey, Thailand and Venezuela. In the Philippines alone, 44 lawyers have been killed over the past three years, Erik Hammerstein, a commercial litigator who sites on the board of Netherlands group Lawyers for Lawyers said.

Noting this year’s furore over the granting of legal aid to a solicitor acting for a fugitive from justice, Davis said that the battle to protect the independence of the legal profession also had to be fought at home.





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Thailand: Acquittal of seven human rights defenders

OMCT LogoOMCT logo

New information

THA 002 / 0118 / OBS 015.2

Acquittal /
Judicial harassment /

Restrictions on freedom of peaceful assembly

September 20, 2019

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint partnership of FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), has received new information and requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Thailand.

New information:

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the acquittal of Mr. Sirawit Seritiwat, Ms. Nattha Mahatthana, Ms. Chonticha Jaengrew, Mr. Karn Phongprapaphan, Mr. Sukrit Piansuwan, and human rights lawyer Mr. Anon Nampa for their involvement in a peaceful demonstration held on February 10, 2018 in Bangkok. All six were charged and prosecuted under Article 116 of the Thai Criminal Code (‘sedition’). They faced up to seven years in prison each (see background information).

According to the information received, on September 20, 2019, at approximately 10:30am, the Bangkok’s Criminal Court found all six defendants not guilty of the sedition charges. The court found that the demonstration was peaceful, there was no chaos, there was no use of weapons, and police had received prior notification of the protest.

The court appearance of a seventh defendant, Mr. Rangsiman Rome, was postponed until mid-2020 in consideration of the parliamentary schedule. Mr. Rangsiman was elected as a member of the House of Representatives in the March 24, 2019 polls.

The seven defendants were among a group of 50 protesters who were also charged with violating Article 12 of National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) Order 3/2015, which banned political gatherings of more than four people. All charges with regard to this alleged violation were dropped following the repeal of Article 12 of NCPO Order 3/2015 on July 9, 2019.

The Observatory welcomes the acquittal of Mr. Sirawit Seritiwat, Ms. Nattha Mahatthana, Ms. Chonticha Jaengrew, Mr. Karn Phongprapaphan, Mr. Sukrit Piansuwan, and Mr. Anon Nampa, but recalls that the six should never have been prosecuted in the first place.





International Bar Association/South Korea: Sessions on persecution of lawyers, Annual Conference, September 22-27, 2019

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