Tag Archives: Thailand

Thailand: Somchai Neelapaijit Memorial Fund award recipients announced

March 12, 2017

Pawinee Chumsri, a lawyer with the Thai Lawyers for Human Rights, has won the outstanding human rights award given by the Somchai Neelapaijit Memorial Fund.

The award was announced on Saturday along with three other prestigious human rights awards to mark the 13th anniversary of the disappearance of human rights lawyer Somchai Neelapaijit.

Ms Pawinee won the Somchai Neelapaijit Award as a lawyer who has dedicated her legal career to the fight for human rights in the restive southern border provinces as well as cases involving politics after the 2014 coup.

The three other awards went to the Khon Rak Ban Koed Group (KRBKG), established by anti-gold mining villagers in Loei province; 14 Myanmar workers who filed a lawsuit against a chicken processing operator in Lop Buri; and student activist Jatupat Boonpattararaksa, known as “Pai Dao Din”.

Jon Ungpakorn, a panel member, said Ms Pawinee has played a pivotal role in several cases associated with human rights in the three restive southern provinces since 2007. She also had experiences in dealing with many enforced disappearance cases as well as other lawsuits after the coup.







https://th.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E0%B8%AA%E0%B8%A1%E0%B8%8A%E0%B8%B2%E0%B8%A2_%E0%B8%99%E0%B8%B5%E0%B8%A5%E0%B8%B0%E0%B9%84%E0%B8%9E%E0%B8%88%E0%B8%B4%E0%B8%95%E0%B8%A3 (Thai)

Thailand: Keep Somchai from the black hole of history

March 11, 2017

‘Top Muslim lawyer disappears. Believed abducted for opposing martial law,” read a headline in this newspaper 13 years ago.

On March 12, 2004, Somchai Neelapaijit was last seen in Ramkhamhaeng. Eyewitnesses saw four men drag him from his car. No one has seen him since. Tomorrow marks the 13th anniversary of his disappearance — isn’t that oxymoronic, an anniversary of something invisible, for someone who wasn’t here?

Or maybe he is. To remember is to make someone exist. To forget is to condemn him to the dustbin of memory, to collective oblivion.

Every year friends and family organise an event to remember Mr Somchai. Today people are gathering at the Pridi Banomyong Institute in Thong Lor for “Somchai Where? Where’s Somchai?”, held not just to honour him with memory but also to reflect on the way justice works, or doesn’t work, in cases of human rights violations and enforced disappearances. The event includes the announcement of the Somchai Neelapaijit Award for human rights defenders.

Mr Somchai had been working in law for 30 years and, at the time of his disappearance, was representing five Muslim suspects allegedly involved in the army camp raid in Narathiwat in January 2004, the incident that blew up into the interminable unrest in the far South. He was also vociferous in his call for the army to end martial law in the troubled region, which remains in effect today.



Thailand: Activists Welcome Thai Decision to Drop Charges Against Rights Report Author

March 8, 2017

Thailand, featuring the cities of Bangkok, Mueang, Nonthaburi, Udon Thani, Chon Buri, Nakhon Ratchasima, Chiang Mai, Hat Yai, Pak Kret, and Si Racha

Rights activists and groups are welcoming a Thai government decision to drop legal cases against three rights activists who authored a report last year accusing Thai security forces of abuse and torture in restive southern Thai provinces.

In early 2016, rights lawyers Somchai Homlaor, Pornpen Khongkachonkie, and Anchana Heemmina, published a report citing 54 cases of alleged torture and mistreatment of prisoners in military custody.

Three majority Muslim Malay provinces have been the center of a 12-year insurgency that has claimed more than 6,000 lives with little progress in efforts to achieve a peaceful settlement.

Following the report’s public release, Thai Internal Security Operations Command officials filed a criminal complaint against the activists, accusing them of defamation and breaches of the Computer Crimes Act.They faced prison sentences of up to five years and fines of $2,800.

The decision to drop the charges Tuesday followed negotiations and agreement by the activists to present future evidence to the ISOC before releasing any report.



Iran & Thailand: Lifetime Achievements: Paying Tribute to 4 Human Rights Heroes

February 23, 2017

On 26 February Hollywood’s brightest stars will gather in LA for the Oscars. The biggest film event on the calendar will provide a welcome distraction from the reality of a year that has seen assaults on human rights in almost every country.


Times like these can bring out the best in us, mobilizing people around the world to fight for what is right. Just like in the movies, sometimes extraordinary circumstances can make heroes out of ordinary people.


There are countless brave activists around the world who take great personal risks to defend human rights. Since it’s awards season, Amnesty International is paying tribute to four human rights heroes whose dramatic stories could – and should – be made into movies:

Sirikan Charoensiri

Sirikan Charoensiri, also known as “June”, is a young lawyer who has bravely stood up for human rights during a dark period of military rule in Thailand. In June 2015, she was on hand at a peaceful protest by pro-democracy student activists in Bangkok to monitor the situation and provide legal representation, if necessary.


Narges Mohammadi

In Iran, human rights defenders and other peaceful critics are subject to relentless harassment. Over the past year, those jailed after shockingly unfair trials before Revolutionary Courts including lawyers, bloggers, students, women’s rights activists, filmmakers and even musicians.




Thailand: Thai army urged to drop case against 3 activists

February 22, 2017

Rights groups yesterday urged the Thai army to drop defamation charges against three activists over a report on torture in the conflict-hit south, decrying the prosecution as an effort to silence critics.

A state prosecutor was handed the case file yesterday and will now decide whether to press on with the controversial charges against Pornpen Khongkachonkiet, Anchana Heemmina and Somchai Homlaor.

Pornpen is the Amnesty International Thailand chairman, while Anchana is the founder of the Duay Jai Group which provides rehabilitation services for torture victims. Somchai is a human rights lawyer.

The trio could face up to seven years in jail for defamation and a separate charge filed for publishing the report online.

Released last year, the report, which is based on interviews with 54 former detainees, catalogued a host of torture tactics allegedly used by soldiers and police across the kingdom’s Muslim-majority southernmost provinces.


Thailand: Fifth postponement for lawyer Sirikan’s car case, ongoing judicial harassment

January 18, 2017


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Ms Sirikan Charoensiri, aka June, a human rights lawyer and specialist at Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR), reported to the Dusit District Prosecutor’s Office in Bangkok to hear the prosecution order of her offences on refusing to comply with an order of competent officers and concealing evidence, charged under Sections 142 and 368 of the Thai Criminal Code. The prosecutor stated that they had submitted Sirikan’s letter of petition to the Director of Department of Summary Litigation. Sirikan waits to hear the prosecution order, and is scheduled to report again at 9.30 am on 2 May 2017 at the Dusit District Prosecutor’s Office in Bangkok.

On 12 May 2016, Sirikan had submitted a letter of petition to the Dusit District Prosecutor’s Office when she reported to hear the prosecution order the first time. The letter states the circumstantial evidence and legal opinions on the allegations, that on the night of 26 – 27 June 2015, the police attempted to conduct a warrantless search of her car without the authority. A list of five witnesses were submitted but only two were later scheduled to give statements. (Read more) If the public prosecutor orders to indict Sirikan, this case will be heard in the Criminal Court.


Thailand: Missing activists’ wives call for justice

December 20, 2016

See original image

(Somchai Neelapaijit lawyer)

Human rights activists whose husbands are still missing years after they mysteriously vanished have urged the government to pass a law on preventing enforced disappearances, to address human rights violations.

Prominent human rights campaigner Angkhana Neelapaijit urged Thai authorities to enact the Torture and Enforced Disappearance Prevention and Suppression bill as quickly as possible, regardless of the fact that no missing persons case has been resolved.

“I have fought a lot in the past 10 years, but nothing has changed,” said Ms Angkhana, whose Thai-Muslim lawyer husband, Somchai Neelapaijai, is one of the missing.

Ms Angkhana addressed a press conference organised by the Sombath Initiative on Monday — named after the missing Laos lawyer — at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand (FCCT) to mark four years since Sombath’s enforced disappearance.

Ms Angkhana said she has lost hope of seeking justice under the present and previous governments.

Her husband, Somchai, a human rights lawyer, is believed to have been abducted by five state officials on Ramkhamhaeng Road in March 2004. His body has never been discovered.

The Department of Special Investigation (DSI) declared the Somchai case closed two months ago, reasoning that no culprits were found.