Tag Archives: Thailand

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 So far, only 70 of the 557 decrees issues by the NCPO are being repealed (for more details read this analysis piece written by Thai Lawyers for Human Rights).”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.

June

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sirikan_Charoensiri

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.

https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/iba-2019-enthusiastic-amateurs-wanted-to-protect-lawyers-at-risk/5101596.article

https://www.ibanet.org/Conferences/Seoul-2019.aspx

https://www.ibanet.org/

https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/iba-2019-lawyers-must-stand-against-populism/5101575.article

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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

Thailand
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.

https://www.omct.org/human-rights-defenders/urgent-interventions/thailand/2019/09/d25515/

https://www.fidh.org/en/issues/human-rights-defenders/thailand-judicial-harassment-of-mr-anon-nampa

https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/fr/profile/anon-nampa

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/09/thai-activists-risk-murder-abduction-fight-land-rights-190918060803825.html

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

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https://www.int-bar.org/Conferences/conf840/ProgrammeSearch/Results/Detail.cfm?FunctionGuid=AC48E5C0-996A-413A-B43A-B6DF858FC129&Search=ListSessionsByCommittee

https://www.int-bar.org/Conferences/conf840/ProgrammeSearch/Results/Detail.cfm?FunctionGuid=6E914D6F-9A21-48C9-9C44-3A73FF15BB85&Search=ListSessionsByCommittee

https://www.int-bar.org/Conferences/conf840/ProgrammeSearch/Results/Detail.cfm?FunctionGuid=49F526CE-0BC8-4DD3-98BE-B5137667ADC7&Search=ListSessionsByCommittee

https://www.int-bar.org/Conferences/conf840/ProgrammeSearch/Results/Detail.cfm?FunctionGuid=90E75C5E-82B9-4C7E-8796-CC4CF5A25DE7&Search=ListSessionsByCommittee

http://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/news/article/article.aspx?aid=3068206&cloc=joongangdaily%7Chome%7Ctop

https://www.ibanet.org/IBAHRI.aspx

https://www.ibanet.org/Conferences/Seoul-2019.aspx

https://www.ibaseoul2019.com/

#IBASeoul

#IBA2019

Thailand: The Attorney General ruled not to prosecute Lawyer June for not allowing police to search her car, due to her lack of intention to comply with the order

August 30, 2019

On 27 August 2019, Ms. Sirikan Charoensiri, known as Lawyer June, went to meet the inquiry officer who was responsible for her case at Chanasongkram Police Station, Bangkok, to hear the Attorney General’s order not to prosecute her on an allegation of concealing evidence.  The order was due to the fact that there was no intention to hide any evidence since she only complied to the recommendation from military court officers to keep the belongings of the alleged fellow activists by her side. Furthermore, the police made the request to search her car during the night and without providing any reasonable legal grounds.

For the other charge of not complying with an official order without reasonable grounds or explanation, the responsible prosecutor issued an order to dismiss the case due to be barred by prescription.  As a result, the criminal proceedings against lawyer Ms. Sirikan for two such allegations have been terminated.

Today the representatives from the embassies of Canada, Sweden, Germany, the United States, the European Union, and officials from human rights organizations including Amnesty International (Regional Office) came to observe the proceedings.

Detailed accounts of the final non-prosecution order and the termination of legal proceedings

On 26 July 2019, the office of the Special Prosecutor issued notification document No. 0013.3/1076 to Chanasongkram Police Station giving a final order not to prosecute and to terminate the proceedings against lawyer Sirikan.  In summary, the document provided the following details:

https://www.tlhr2014.com/?p=13569&fbclid=IwAR2axLGo0dJ6hVoAKljha8PXyM4dPEaDt6hge-6MF5rfK9pHF3a8XtcK4ao&lang=en

https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/case/judicial-harassment-against-sirikan-charoensiri

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sirikan_Charoensiri

https://www.facebook.com/tlhr2014/

https://www.tlhr2014.com/?p=13465 (THAI)

https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sirikan_Charoensiri (FRANCAIS)

Thailand: Ensure truth, justice, and reparations for victims of enforced disappearance | Written Statement to the UN Human Rights Council

August 29, 2019

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Joint written statement* submitted by Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada, non-governmental organization in special consultative status, and Asian Legal Resource Centre, non-government organization in general consultative status

Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR), NGO without consultative status, also shares the views expressed in this statement.

Unforgotten in Thailand: Ensure truth, justice, and reparations for victims of enforced disappearance

  1. Introduction: Persistent impunity for enforced disappearances

 A pattern of impunity for enforced disappearances[1] persists in Thailand despite years of promises to ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (UNCED)[2] and to pass legislation making enforced disappearance a crime.[3] The United Nations (UN) Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID) reports 82 unresolved cases of enforced disappearances since 1980.[4] This number represents a fraction of Thailand’s enforced disappearances since the 1950s,[5] as families and witnesses remain silent for fear of reprisals.[6] Those most vulnerable to enforced disappearances belong to minorities or indigenous peoples. Also at risk are human rights defenders (defenders) or peaceful government critics.[7]Thailand’s current laws foster impunity for enforced disappearance; when a body is not found, murder charges are not laid.[8] No public officials have ever been held accountable for suspected involvement in enforced disappearances. The persistent pattern of impunity for enforced disappearances constitutes a grave violation of Thailand’s obligations under customary international law and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) to which Thailand acceded in 1996.[9]

The risk of enforced disappearances is heightened by the practice of incommunicado detention of political opponents, suspects in national security cases, and suspected insurgents in southern provinces.[10]

Thailand: Ensure truth, justice, and reparations for victims of enforced disappearance | Written Statement to the UN Human Rights Council

https://www.hrw.org/news/2019/03/11/thai-lawyers-disappearance-unsolved-15-years

15 years since disappearance Somchai Neelapaijit

Thailand: at event marking 15th anniversary of the enforced disappearance of Somchai Neelapaijit, ICJ calls for effective measures to tackle the crime

https://www.hrw.org/news/2018/03/11/14-years-disappearance-thai-rights-lawyer

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Somchai_Neelapaijit

https://www.un.org/press/en/2019/sgsm19716.doc.htm

https://www.un.org/en/events/disappearancesday/

https://international.thenewslens.com/article/124112

https://www.thedailystar.net/frontpage/enforced-disappearance-in-bangladesh-thousand-days-wait-1792822

https://www.amnesty.org.uk/press-releases/syria-new-testimonies-families-disappeared-mark-day-disappeared

https://iran-hrm.com/index.php/2019/08/29/enforced-disappearances-in-iran-and-the-1988-massacre/

https://www.un.org/fr/events/disappearancesday/ (FRANCAIS)

enforced disappearances

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Thailand: Three Thais accused of insulting king have disappeared – rights groups

May 10, 2019

Image result for Jatupat Boonpattaraksa

Three Thai activists facing charges of insulting the monarchy have disappeared after reportedly being arrested in Vietnam, rights groups said on Friday, months after two exiled critics of the military and monarchy turned up dead.

Thailand’s deputy prime minister, Prawit Wongsuwan, denied the three activists were in Thai custody, as has been reported by the Thai Alliance for Human Rights.

Chucheep Chiwasut, who broadcasts political commentary to Thailand from exile, and fellow activists Siam Theerawut and Kritsana Thapthai were reportedly turned over to Thai authorities by Vietnam on May 8, Human Rights Watch said in a statement.

“Vietnam’s alleged secret forced return to Thailand of three prominent activists should set off alarm bells in the international community,” Human Rights Watch Asia Director Brad Adams said.

London-based Amnesty International said Chucheep had long faced charges of lese majeste, or insulting the monarchy.

Siam and Kritsana were also under police investigation for lese majeste, the rights group said.

Article 112 of Thailand’s criminal code says anyone who insults the king, queen, heir or regent faces punishment of up to 15 years in prison.

Human rights groups have accused the ruling military of applying the lese majeste law more widely since a 2014 military coup as a way to silence critics.

Separately on Friday, a former law student was released from jail a month before the end of his two and half year sentence for a 2017 lese majeste conviction.

Jatupat Boonpattaraksa, an activist and critic of the ruling junta, was jailed for posting a profile of King Maha Vajiralongkorn published by the BBC’s Thai-language service that was deemed offensive.

His release was part of a royal amnesty for thousands of prisoners to mark the king’s May 4-6 coronation.

https://www.euronews.com/2019/05/10/three-thais-accused-of-insulting-king-have-disappeared-rights-groups

https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/case/ongoing-detention-jatupat-boonpattararaksa

Three Thai activists go missing after allegedly insulting king

http://www.news4europe.eu/6350_world/6125747_between-30-000-50-000-prisoners-to-be-freed-on-royal-pardon-in-thailand.html

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-thailand-king-insult/thai-activist-jailed-for-two-and-a-half-years-for-posting-bbc-article-idUSKCN1AV0YN

https://www.abc.es/internacional/abci-tailandia-aprueba-liberacion-entre-30000-0-50000-presos-carceles-201905100947_noticia.html (ESPANOL)

https://www.dnoticias.pt/mundo/milhares-de-presos-recebem-perdao-real-na-tailandia-EB4740446 (PORTUGUES)