THAILAND: Call for observation — 14 students and allied activists face an extension of pre-trial detention on Tuesday 7th July at Bangkok Military Court

A Statement from the Protection International, Thailand Team forwarded by the Asian Human Rights Commission

Protection International calls upon you to be present at the Bangkok Military Court[1] on Tuesday 7th July at 9:00AM to witness the proceedings facing the 14 students and allied activists who were arrested on Friday 16th June on sedition charges. As publicised by the Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (a lawyer group providing lawyers and legal support to the 7 Dao Din students amongst the 14 activists) the 14 activists will challenge the request for a new custody permission of 12 days which will be filed by the Public Prosecutor on Tuesday 7th July. However, the 14 activists remain united in their refusal to apply for bail as they reject the legitimacy of the charges and don’t accept being tried in military court.

Chonticha Chaengrew, the only woman activist in the group of 14, being held at Bangkok’s Central Women’s Correctional Institution was transferred to a prison hospital on Thursday 2nd July to treat wounds she has been suffering from since the violent crackdown by authorities at the Bangkok Arts and Culture Centre on 22nd May 2015. The 13 male activists currently being held in Bangkok Remand Prison were separated into different sections of the prison in the evening of Wednesday 1st July. The 13 have shaved their heads in protest of this measure. We remain concerned about the physical and psychological well-being of all 14 detained as they face arbitrary detention for an extended period of time.

National Human Rights Commissioner and Chairperson of the NHRC Sub-Committee on Civil and Political Rights, Dr. Niran Pitakwatchara, held an enquiry meeting on Thursday 2nd July 2015. The lawyers of the students and allied activists, representatives of the Law Society of Thailand, the communities which the Dao Din student group works with, the parents of the students and allied activists, and professors from Thammasart University, were invited to the enquiry meeting. The meeting was observed by plainclothes military officials. Dr. Niran said that the behaviour of the authorities constituted an intervention in the work of the NHRC. Furthermore, family members, friends, lawyers and community-based Human Rights Defenders affiliated to the 14 detained activists continue to face intensive intimidation and monitoring by authorities, as well as a public media campaign by the government to delegitimise the work of the students and allies.

Thus, we call on you to:

  • Lobby the National Council for Peace and Order to immediately and unconditionally drop all charges and against all 16 activists (including 2 activists released on bail, facing fewer charges);
  • Demand for the immediate and unconditional release of all 14 activists;
  • Be present inside the Bangkok Military Court hearing on Tuesday 7th July at 9:00AM;
  • Publicly condemn the Human Rights violations and repression of civil and political rights which this criminalisation of peaceful, pro-democratic activism constitutes;

Lobby the National Council for Peace and Order to immediately stop the campaign of intimidation, harassment and misinformation which is targeted at the detained activists’ families, friends, lawyers, allied community-based HRDs, academics and other affinity groups.

Further call on the National Council for Peace and Order to cooperate with independent Human Rights mechanisms and allow them to work effectively in Thailand, namely by ensuring their ability to conduct country visits.

Bangkok Military Court

Judge Advocate General’s Department,
Ministry of Defence, Lak Muang Road,
Phra Borommaha Ratchawang Sub District,
Phra Nakorn District, Bangkok 10200.
The Court can be reached at Tel. 02 222 3887 or Tel. 02 224 0041 extension 207.

[1] Please see overleaf for the Bangkok Military Court address.

Document Type : Forwarded Statement
Document ID : AHRC-FST-034-2015
Countries : Thailand,
Issues : Administration of justice, Military,