Tag Archives: Thailand

Thailand/Lawyers for Lawyers Award 2017: Acceptance speech delivered by Sirikan Charoensiri (June) at the Lawyers for Lawyers Award 2017, 19 May 2017, Amsterdam, the Netherlands (video)

June 19, 2017

19 พ.ค.60 ทนายความศิริกาญจน์ เจริญศิริ เข้ารับรางวัล Lawyers for Lawyers award 2017 จากองค์กร Lawyers for Lawyers ณ เมืองอัมสเตอดัม ประเทศเนเธอร์แลนด์


Thailand: Thailand’s junta intensifies its hunt for critics of the monarchy

May 18, 2017

THE only historical record of Queen Chammathewi, the legendary founder of the Thai city of Lamphun, comes from a fanciful 15th-century chronicle written on palm leaves in an ancient liturgical language. It describes how, some time in the seventh century, she came to a spot that the Buddha had supposedly visited centuries before. With the help of a Buddhist ascetic, she conjured a city out of the jungle, subjugated the natives and begat not one, but two royal dynasties.

There is no proof that the queen (pictured) ever really existed, and she definitely falls outside the scope of Thailand’s law on lèse-majesté, which bars criticism only of the reigning king, queen, heir apparent and regent. But Thais should not feel they can say whatever they want about her. So, at least, a provincial court implied last month when it convicted a local of disseminating false or illegal material online for posting a lascivious comment about her on Facebook.

At least 105 people have been detained or are serving prison sentences for lèse-majesté, compared with just five under the elected government the junta overthrew in 2014. Many of them posted critical comments about the royal family on social media; some simply shared or “liked” such comments. Other arrests have been on even pettier grounds. Jatupat Boonpattararaksa, a student activist, is on trial for sharing a profile of King Vajiralongkorn published by the BBC’s Thai service. Police have warned that those agitating for his release could themselves face charges. A well-known academic, Sulak Sivaraksa, remains under investigation for several instances of lèse-majesté, including questioning whether a 16th-century battle involving a Thai king really took place.

This month security forces arrested Prawet Prapanukul, a human-rights lawyer best known for defending lèse-majesté suspects. He risks a record 150 years in jail if convicted of all ten counts of lèse-majesté he faces. Several recent sentences for insulting royals have exceeded 50 years; the standard for murder is 15-20 years.






We are very concerned by the rise in the number of lèse majesté prosecutions in Thailand since 2014 and the severity of the sentencing, including a 35-year jail term handed down last Friday against one individual. A Thai military court found Wichai Thepwong guilty of posting 10 photos, videos and comments on Facebook deemed defamatory of the royal family. He was sentenced to 70 years in jail, but the sentence was reduced to 35 years after he confessed to the charges.

This is the heaviest sentence ever handed down under Article 112 of the Criminal Code, which is also known as the lèse majesté law. The previous heaviest sentences were handed down in 2015, when three people were jailed for between 25 and 30 years by military courts on the same charges. The offence carries a penalty of three to 15 years in jail for each charge of insulting the monarchy.

Between 2011 and 2013, 119 people were investigated for insulting the monarchy. Over the last three years, between 2014 and 2016, that figure has more than doubled to at least 285.

Statistics provided by Thai authorities show there has been a sharp fall in the number of people who have been able to successfully defend themselves against lèse majesté charges. From 2011-13, around 24 percent of people charged with the offence walked free, but over the next three years, that number fell to about 10 percent. Last year, that figure was only 4 percent.

While our Office appreciates the complexity and sensitivity of the issue surrounding lèse majesté in Thailand, we are deeply troubled by the high rate of prosecutions and the courts’ persistence in handing down disproportionate sentences for the offence. All people have the right to freedom of expression, including when it comes to criticising public figures. Imprisonment of individuals solely for exercising the right to freedom of expression constitutes a violation of Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which Thailand acceded to in 1996. In March 2017, the UN Human Rights Committee, which reviews implementation of the ICCPR, concluded that Thailand should review Article 112 of the Criminal Code to bring it into line with Article 19 of the Covenant.

We also have concerns about the conduct of the trials since the military coup of 2014. Most of the lèse majesté cases have been tried before a military court, and the hearings have been closed to the public. Most of the accused have been denied bail and some held for long periods in pre-trial detention. While we welcome the Government’s decision in September 2016 to cease hearing future lèse majesté cases in military courts, we reiterate our call to authorities to apply this is to all pending cases, retroactively.

Our Office calls on the Thai Government to immediately amend the lèse majesté law to bring it in line with international human rights standards and to review all cases brought under Article 112 of the Criminal code.

Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights:
Rupert Colville

(UN Human Rights – Asia Facebook, June 13, 2017)

Thailand/Lawyers for Lawyers: Lawyer Sirikan Charoensiri receives L4L Award, with acceptance speech


May 19, 2017

On 19 May 2017, Ms Sirikan Charoensiri, human rights lawyer at Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR), received the Lawyers for Lawyers Award in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

The prize is awarded to a lawyer/group of lawyers who had been threatened or suppressed as a result of their working to promote the rule of law and human rights. Lawyers for Lawyers, an independent non-political Dutch foundation, first introduced the biennial award in 2011. The foundation works to protect the rule of law, and freedom and independence of the legal profession, through providing moral, financial and legal support for lawyers who are facing prosecution on the course of their work. Their aim is to conform with international law and standards, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers and the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders.

In 2017, lawyer Sirikan is selected among the shortlisted nominated 18 lawyers and organisations from all over the world for her courage and dedication to providing legal service to her clients, and to raise awareness of human rights situation in Thailand, unknown to the West. The Award was presented to her at the end of the seminar “The Voice of Rights” on harassment and threats against lawyers and freedom of expression in countries including Colombia, Turkey, United Kingdom and Thailand. Iyad Alami, a Palestinian lawyer, and Dr. Mohamed al-Roken from the United Arab Emirates were as well mentioned as the jury’s short list during the presentation of the Award.

For the occasion, Sirikan had been invited to deliver an acceptance speech regarding the ongoing human rights violation in Thailand after the 2014 coup and the important role of human rights lawyers during this critical time. Sirikan also extended her gratitude to those fighting for democracy, human rights, and the rule of law under the military regime.



May 22, 2017

A Bangkok lawyer, Khmer activist, Egyptian feminist and more will converge at the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre this week as artists and human rights activists will come down in Bangkok for art, music and talks.

Following Amnesty International’s global campaign Brave launched earlier this week, Braveviti will be held in Bangkok this week featuring graffiti, music and presence of human rights defenders from in and out Thailand.

The opening event on Tuesday features those people who stand up for their rights who will sit down for panel discussion on Tuesday. They include the Finnish transgender activist Sakris Kupila, Phnom Penh’s land rights activist Tep Vanny, Egyptian feminist Azza Soliman and Bangkok attorney Sirikan “June” Charoensiri.

Other highlight includes the local graffiti artists Chun “CSM” Smith and Jecks who will paint their art on the walls and the works will be on showcase from Tuesday through May 28.

Amnesty International launched its Brave campaign worldwide on Tuesday calling for human rights defenders to be recognized and protected under a safer environment as the situation has worsened: 281 people killed last year for defending human rights, up from 156 in 2015.

The event will start at 4pm at the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre. The city’s contemporary art venue is best reached by skywalk from BTS National Stadium.



Thailand/Lawyers for Lawyers: Human rights lawyer Sirikan becomes first woman to receive Dutch L4L award

May 21, 2017

Sirikan Charoensiri receives her award in Amsterdam.

HUMAN rights lawyer Sirikan Charoensiri has become the first woman to receive international recognition from Dutch civil society group Lawyers for Lawyers (L4L).

She was presented with the Lawyers for Lawyers Award 2017 at a ceremony in Amsterdam on Friday.

The accolade is given every two years to exceptional human rights lawyers working to promote the rule of law.

Sirikan, 31, is a co-founder of Thai Lawyers for Human Rights, a lawyers’ collective set up shortly after the military coup on May 22, 2014, to provide legal aid and monitor the human rights situation in Thailand.

The jury remarked that Sirikan “stands up for human rights activists, journalists and people tried after the coup by military courts, even though she is facing considerable risks herself”.

Its statement added: “The jury wants to applaud her unwavering courage and commitment, and draw attention to the human rights situation in Thailand that is relatively unknown in the West.”

At Friday’s ceremony, besides addressing the deteriorating post-coup human rights situation in Thailand, Sirikan thanked the organisation for its recognition of the hard work and endeavour of lawyers who sought to protect the rule of law and human rights while facing continual threats from state authorities.

She also paid tribute to courageous activists and rights advocates who never cease to demonstrate non-violently against illegitimate governments and who inspired her to continue her work as a human rights lawyer. Sirikan encouraged rights advocate to continue fighting for justice and rights.

The lawyer, who was selected for the award by 18 nominees around the word, has faced a number of criminal charges in connection to her professional activities.

If found guilty, she could face up to 10 years in prison.


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Bloemen voor June van wethouder Mario Jacobs gemeente Tilburg voor de Lawyers for Lawyers Award 2017. Hartelijk dank namens June. Flowers for June for the Award 2017 from L4L. Thanks to the Alderman Jacobs and the Municipality of Tilburg.

(Shelter City Tilburg Facebook)

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‘This award is not a personal award, it is a recognition of the courage of all of those who never give up the fight for human rights.’
Shelter City Tilburg‘s guest Sirikan June Charoensiri received the Lawyers for Lawyers 2017 Award. We congratulate her on her work and hope this quote from her speech will inspire all of you.

(Justice and Peace Netherlands Facebook)

Lawyers for Lawyers: Join us via LIVESTREAM ‘The Voice of Rights’ about Lawyers and Freedom of Expression Friday May 19th

May 17, 2017

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After the seminar ’The Voice of Rights, about lawyers and freedom of expression’* on Friday May 19th, the Lawyers for Lawyers Award 2017 will be presented to Thai human rights lawyer Sirikan Charoensiri. The event will take place in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

If you can’t attend this event in person, you can watch it online via our free LIVESTREAM!  

You’ll be able to watch and listen to speakers from Colombia, Greece and Turkey, the panel discussions and of course the most important part: the Award Ceremony.

From 2:00 PM until 2:45 PM CEST we will livestream PART I with the opening and the introductions.

Hereafter, during the break-out sessions, we will pause the livestream.

We will continue the broadcast with PART II from 3:45 PM until 5:30 PM CEST with a plenary discussion and the Award Ceremony.


http://www.bd.nl/tilburg/tijdelijk-in-tilburg-wonende-thaise-advocate-krijgt-prijs-voor-moedig-werk~a03ee9d3/ (NEDERLANDS)

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This afternoon, Sirikan Charoensiri received the 2017 L4L Award from 2015 recipient Jorge Molano

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The latest two recipients of the L4L Award

(Lawyers for Lawyers Facebook)

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Thailand: Rights Lawyer Feared ‘Disappeared’

May 2, 2017

Thailand: Rights Lawyer Feared ‘Disappeared’ PHOTO

The Thai government should immediately disclose the whereabouts of Prawet Prapanukul, a prominent human rights lawyer and critic of the monarchy, who has been missing since security forces raided his Bangkok home on April 29, 2017, Human Rights Watch said today. Authorities have not acknowledged his arrest and detention, raising grave concerns that he is the victim of an enforced disappearance.

“The Thai junta should urgently disclose Prawet’s whereabouts and release him if he hasn’t been charged with a credible offense,” said Brad Adams, Asia director. “Secretly detaining rights lawyers, critics of the monarchy, and other dissidents has created a climate of fear in Thailand that is generating international outrage.”

Officers of the ruling National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) junta, together with soldiers from the 1st Infantry Division and police from Bangkok’s Bang Khen Police Station, carried out a morning raid on Prawet’s house. An official receipt shows that Prawet’s computers, hard drives, flash drives, mobile telephones, CDs containing political programs, and various political T-shirts were confiscated. However, there is no official notification that Prawet was arrested or is in state custody.








The United Nations Human Rights Office for South-East Asia (OHCHR) urges the Thai Government to halt the practice of arbitrary detention of political activists, and to immediately release six people recently charged with criticising authorities.
On 29 April 2017, two political activists – Mr. Danai Tibsuya, a former military officer from Chiang Mai, and Mr. , a Bangkok-based lawyer – were arrested and detained by the military under the lese-majeste law for criticising the King on Facebook. The two men were taken to an unknown location.
On 4 May 2017, the two activists and four other individuals were paraded at a media conference held at the Royal Thai Police’s Technology Crime Suppression Division. The six individuals were charged under the lese-majeste law. Two also face a charge under the Computer Crime Act. Mr. Prawet was also charged under the sedition law reportedly for criticising the Prime Minister. The accused are currently being held at the Bangkok Remand Prison. None of the activists have been given access to legal representatives and their families.
“I am very concerned at the sharp increase in the use of the lese-majeste law after the 2014 coup, with more than 70 people detained or convicted.” said Laurent Meillan, the acting Regional Representative. He added that the UN human rights mechanisms repeatedly stated that the implementation of the law ran contrary to fundamental rights of freedom of expression and opinion.
The UN Human Rights Office is also concerned about the use of incommunicado detention. In March 2017, Thailand was reviewed by the UN Human Rights Committee which raised concerns that individuals had been arrested and detained at undisclosed places without access to lawyers. It recommended that Thailand immediately bring its legislation and practices into compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

(UN Human Rights – Asia Facebook)




http://www.bfmtv.com/international/accuse-d-avoir-diffame-la-famille-royale-un-avocat-thailandais-risque-150-ans-de-prison-1156297.html (FRANCAIS)

http://www.bd.nl/tilburg/tijdelijk-in-tilburg-wonende-thaise-advocate-krijgt-prijs-voor-moedig-werk~a03ee9d3/ (DUTCH)