Rights Organizations Condemn Assault against Assoc. Prof. Worajet, core leader of Nitirat Group

Assoc. Prof. Worajet Pakirat, lecturer of the Faculty of Law, Thammasat University and a member of the Nitirat Group, was assaulted by two men in the Tha Pra Chan Campus of Thammasat University on the afternoon of 29th February 2012. The incidence took place in the Faculty’s parking lot.

The undersigned organizations feel gravely concerned that the reason behind the attack could stem from the lecturer’s taking the lead as a core member of the Nitirat Group. There is no reason to believe that the attack could have been resulted from personal grudges. Previously, the Nitirat Group has proposed recommendations based on academic evidence to void the remnant of the 19th September 2006 coup and reform of the lèse majesté law or Section 112 of the Penal Code. A campaign has been spearheaded by the group in the name of the Campaign Committee for the Amendment of Section 112 to collect 10,000 signatures to propose an Amendment Bill to the Parliament. As a result of that, members of the Nitirat Group who are university lecturers have been subjected to controversies. Some criticisms made against the group are within the legal boundary and fall within democratic norm and international human rights standards, but others seem to have transgressed acceptable norms and have gone as far as insulting, defaming and threatening to commit bodily harm, which is an unlawful act and a breach of the rights and freedom. Previously, effigies of Dr. Worajet have been burned, i.e., on 27 January 2012, at the gate of Thammsat University. And now, Dr. Worajet has to suffer physical assault.

We deem that the incidence will spur a climate of fear in society. It might intimidate people who want to exercise their right to freedom of expression as provided for by the Constitution as they may fear that by doing so, they will get physical or even fatal retaliation from those who disagree with them. The campaign led by the Nitirat Group and the Campaign Committee for the Amendment of Section 112 have been conducted based on solid academic foundation and the right to freedom of expression which is so fundamental in democracy. It could be said that the group of lecturers are forefront human rights defenders and the state is obliged to uphold and protect their constitutional rights and freedom.

We deem that the attack was a breach of the right in body and showed a lack of respect for other people’s rights and liberties. It reflected a lack of tolerance to listen to differing opinions, the behavior which undermines democratic value in the society. The attack is not simply a personal matter, but it is a matter of public safety and the right to freedom of expression which is a fundamental right. Therefore;

1.      We condemn the violent retaliation and demand that the government promptly bring the perpetrators to justice. It would then show that the government is capable of upholding the right to freedom of expression as guaranteed by the Constitution and helps to quell the climate of fear.

2.      We demand that Thai people should hold on to their tolerance to listen to opinions different from theirs. Though the opinions expressed by the Nitirat Group and the Campaign Committee for the Amendment of Section 112 may not please certain groups of Thai people, but their campaigns have been conducted as prescribed for by the Constitution and are an exercise of the fundamental constitutional right.

With respect for people’s rights and liberties

Human Rights Lawyers Association (HRLA)

Union for Civil Liberty (UCL)

Human Rights and Development Foundation (HRDF)

Campaign Committee for Human Rights (CCHR)

Environmental Litigation for the Wants (Enlaw)

Cross-Cultural Foundation (CrCF)

Center for Protection and Recovery of Local Community Rights (CPRLCR)

Community Resources Center (CRC)

Comments

One possible good thing that

One possible good thing that can come out of this incident is to hear outrage and condemnation from the media, organizations, people of influence and at large. I am hoping, but so far have not heard much

The Vejjajiva Post.... A slap

The Vejjajiva Post.... A slap in the face... is basically billing this brutal attack by goons and thugs... who apparently loitered, unquestioned for the whole day at Thammasat... as a question of Worajet's just getting what he deserved... what did he expect? This is Thailand... back under the terrorist regime of the Royal Thai Army.

Thammasat rector Somkit Lertpaithoon... "I warned of a possible clash between people who may agree or disagree with the campaign..."

The Bangkok Post discussion

The Bangkok Post discussion section under the article on this news has ONE comment so far. Is it due to indifference, reluctance to express an opinion or heavy censoring? Not a good sign in any event.

I'm told they censor

I'm told they censor everything which does not toe the Royal Thai Army line. I fire off letters to the editor often... but I don't even read their letters page, knowing that letters such as mine will never appear there.

I think it's good to let them know, though, that they're seen through, seen as the tabloid they are, no matter how regally broad their sheet or the forests wasted in their spew.

Yes, Bangkok Post is not

Yes, Bangkok Post is not nearly as upstanding as Prachatai - who hid their US funding for years and still doesn't disclose it to their Thai readers, nor the incestuous ties that plague nearly every post they make, including this one where half of those organizations are ALSO funded by the US State Department, through NED, just like Prachatai is.

http://landdestroyer.blogspot.com/2011/08/exposed-indy-newspaper-funded-by-us.html

And Prachatai was recently caught red-handed censoring their own comment sections which was even condemned by their own contributor - the Nation's Pravit.

http://landdestroyer.blogspot.com/2012/01/us-funded-rights-advocate-censoring.html

This is a knuckle-dragging power struggle on both sides - it has nothing to do with progress - and no matter who prevails, unless people become independent of these two cliques, regression is all that will result.

So John, you can berate Bangkok Post all you want - with the "rumors" you've heard - but what are you doing about the confirmed facts regarding outfits like Prachatai? Hypocritical no? Counterproductive to both truth and progress, no?

We deem that the incidence

We deem that the incidence will spur a climate of fear in society. It might intimidate people who want to exercise their right to freedom of expression as provided for by the Constitution as they may fear that by doing so...

People need to march in the street en masse and demand that the government protect and guarantee their safety in doing so.

Is the government on the side of the people, or of the thugs and goons and of those who make others disappear?

Certainly the Royal Thai Government has always been on the side of the latter. It is now time to hold this elected government's feet to the fire.

Whose side are you on?

A Letter To Other

A Letter To Other Occupiers

[O]ne Occupier has written, “A thoughtful soldier, a soldier with a conscience, is the 1%’s worst nightmare.” The Occupy Wall Street Journal, Nov. 2011, p. 2.

A principal lesson of the 1960s is that maintenance and nurturing... of trust becomes more difficult as a movement or organization grows larger.

Here the Zapatistas have something to teach us. They do have a form of representative government in that delegates from different villages are elected to attend coordinating assemblies.

But all governing is done within the cultural context of the ancient Mayan practice of “mandar obediciendo,” that is, governing in obedience to those who are represented.

Thus, after the uprising of January 1, 1994 negotiations began with emissaries from the national government. If a question arose as to which the Zapatista delegates were not instructed, they informed their counterparts that they had to go back to the villages for direction.

Apparently it has never crossed the minds of self-selected "redshirt core" to go back to the villages for direction. Perhaps they never came from the villages to begin with... perhaps that's the problem?

And the people in the villages, the soldiers that make up the Royal Thai Army, need to remember if not to realize they are ultimately responsible, not to 2,000 generals in braid, but to the 66,000,000 people of the 75,000 villages of Thailand, to their pi-nong, the ultimate sovereigns of the country.

I hate to sound like a spoil

I hate to sound like a spoil sport or rotten apple but IMO Thailand will never dig its way out of its feudal past. The military and reactionary elements are far too strong. This thuggery is applauded by many (a few is too many) of its citizens as acts of courage.

The military through Prayuth's recent speech has clearly given its OK to people to do what they want with impunity at the same time it was suggested the Nitirat group could leave the country.

Meanwhile the PTP continues to turn its back on a better society and in particular, its voter base. It promised before the elections to look into the post-coup LM convictions but instead is going full steam ahead by turning a cold shoulder to the Nitirat group, its supporters languishing in jails and even intensified the witch hunt. And with the return of the 111 the inner party core probably think they will have the next elections guaranteed.

IMO this is all because they really have done what I thought would simply not happen at this early stage: place Thaksin above the people. I thought there would be some effort made to stick by their campaign rhetoric.

I am sure the PT inner core are now simply dealing behind locked doors with the same people they were confronted by before, and in exchange for becoming sheep-like corrupt politicians again will have Thaksin forgiven and welcomed back into the fold.

JFL you will recall the military brought in troops from other than Isan provinces to Bangkok to deal with the UDD/red shirts. I am pretty sure they feared the possibility of troops refusing to shoot down their own families and friends. There is a potential for forcing change, but at this stage...for what purpose?

As Surachai has suggested the PT has mistaken one victory at the polls as the winning of the war.

Thailand will never dig its

Thailand will never dig its way out of its feudal past.

I know that to a pessimist such as yourself, Robald, life must seem to drag on far too long. But I assure we will all be dead and gone long before 'never' is ever approached and what seems to be deterministic to our wee minds, stuck in a conception of time so laughably short that it beggars the imagination, will turn out to have been a sheer, mere bagatelle, a crap shoot, in the unfolding fullness of time.

Remember that even if we destroy the entire planet... and it's hard to imagine that occurring, although the continuing degradation of life here seems well within our capabilities... the 'entire planet' is to space as we are to time.

I do feel sorry for all the other animals, though. And for the plants and minerals as well :)

Point taken, and OK let us be

Point taken, and OK let us be hopeful for some foreseeable future being better. But I see the power holders entrenching themselves firmly.

I think I am a realistic, not really a pessimist. History seems to be a long list of leaders ruling over the masses and, the more ruthless they were (or are) the more they appear in the history books (which of course they re-write in most cases)

I hope to be around if and when things do change for the better in Thailand though. Heck every little positive change here and there I applaud but always with apprehension and misgivings.

“TO BE HOPEFUL in bad times

“TO BE HOPEFUL in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness.

What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places - and there are so many - where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction.

And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.”

― Howard Zinn

We are all in various measure pessimists, racists, fearful of change... the idea is to be less pessimistic, less racist, and less fearful of change. At least that's what I tell myself.

They were charged with bodily

They were charged with bodily assault which carries a penalty of up to three years imprisonment and a fine of up to 6,000 baht.

These guys will be bailed... unlike non-violent 'criminals', those arrested for thought crimes, who are immediately thrown in jail and the keys thrown away... their trials will take several years, they'll be acquitted... or be sentenced and then released early... for good behavior... or perhaps they'll receive pardons...

It'll be an unbelievable display of the Royal Thai Double Standard. Not even the pretense of decency is deemed necessary any longer.

It is true, however, no matter what the professional cynics and naysayers proclaim, that the people united can never be defeated. It's the people united part that is the hurdle.

Again - all these "rights

Again - all these "rights groups" are US State Department funded fronts - so in actuality not "rights groups" at all but frauds and propagandists just like Nitirat and Prachatai themselves.

http://landdestroyer.blogspot.com/2012/01/globalist-lawyer-attends-color.html

http://landdestroyer.blogspot.com/2011/08/exposed-indy-newspaper-funded-by-us.html

One wonders where their pleads were when UDD were murdering people and burning businesses to the ground in 2010.

I do not condone the violence directed toward the frauds running Nitirat - but in a lawless government where frauds are allowed to prey on the people with impunity for the sake of a billionaire crook openly dividing and destroying a nation of 65 million - people are going to start taking the law into their own hands.

It is up to state authorities to shut down frauds like Nitirat, UDD, and round up crooks of both the Democrat and PT parties. If this is done, regular people will be able to go on with their daily lives without the interruptions of riots, road blocks, violence, and foreign-funded subversives jeapordizing lives and livelihoods for the sake of their petty political ambitions. With a bit of stability, real activists pursuing real solutions will be able to deal with people on all ends of the political spectrum making real change in fields that count - education, infrastructure, innovation etc.

This has nothing to do with freedom or democracy - it is about Thaksin and his opponents fighting for power. To pretend that it is anything more is an insult to people who have really fought honestly for these ideals throughout history.

Leave it to US-funded Prachatai to play the victim once again, despite UDD/Nitirat/Thaksin