4 years ago, on February 2, 2014, People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) protesters forcefully shut down many polling stations in Bangkok and the South.The blockade prevented the election from being held on the same day nationwide and paved the way for the coup d'etat. After the junta took control, PDRC leaders expressed the hope that the junta would carry out this reform. In its fourth year of power, the junta has declared that elections will probably be held this year or early next year, or whenever — with no sign of the “reform before elections” that the PDRC called for so loudly.
On 29 January, Ratchaburi Provincial Court will announce the verdict in the case of 4 activists and 1 Prachatai journalist who were accused of allegedly violating the Referendum Act by giving moral support to villagers in Ban Pong District, Ratchaburi Province in the case of the activists, and by reporting on the incident by the Prachatai journalist. Prachatai invites readers to review the proceedings of a case that has been going on for around a year, as well as the demands for a democratic referendum from organizations fighting for human rights and media freedom.
Suphap Khamlae, wife of disappeared land rights activist Den Khamlae, has been released upon completing a six-month jail sentence for land encroachment. At 65, Ms Suphap, of Khok Yao Village, Khon San District, Chaiyaphum Province, insists that she will continue to fight for the Khok Yao community until justice is achieved.
“... some people had stones thrown at their head, a knife pointed at their throat or a knife aimed at their belly (these are experiences that I myself had directly). Some have had piss thrown at them, and have been kicked and slapped around. Some have been beaten up to within an inch of their lives just for other people's satisfaction. They have been kicked, beaten and stomped in the face, without being raped or having their possessions taken.
Tens of thousands of migrant workers without proper documentation travelled back to their homelands or were fired by their employers who feared legal repercussion as soon as the Royal Decree on Managing the Work of Aliens B.E. 2560 (2017) went into effect on 23 June.
Bribes are unavoidable for businesses that operate in the grey market. Sex businesses must forfeit considerable sums of money to the authorities to persuade them to turn a blind eye to sex work, especially if their businesses operate in tourist districts. June (pseudonym), a 39-year-old ‘bar girl’ from Ao Nang in Krabi Province, recounts that each week the ‘bar’ owner provides a list of sums of money to be given to various government departments.
Although the Constitution supposedly guarantees the right to bail, it is as if that right does not exist for a lèse majesté suspect. In the case of Jatupat “Pai” Boonpattararaksa, the court seemed to improvise the reason for revoking bail beyond what the law allows, an expert says.
Apart from the problem of interpreting the legal meaning of the term ‘defame’ in Article 112, the other problematic term is ‘heir-apparent’. This has been a delicate issue for many years. Documents that will confirm this issue in fighting a case be used for the defense are extremely difficult to access. What is strange is that this is still the case even when we have entered the reign of King Rama X. Prachatai has compiled lèse majesté cases that deal with the status of Crown Princess Sirindhorn.
On the fourth anniversary of the clash at Ramkhamhaeng University and Rajamangala Stadium during the People's Democratic Reform Committee (PRDC) campaign, there is no progress in the legal cases to report. The father of a Ramkhamhaeng student hopes to learn who shot his son.
Though no Thai government has ever conducted a formal survey, UNAIDS estimated in 2014 that some 123,530 sex workers operated in Thailand, with the sex industry contributing 10 per cent of the revenue that the country generates from tourism. Another study in 2003 estimated that Thailand’s sex industry generates an annual US$4.3 billion dollars. While the sex industry is evidently a pillar of the country’s economy and touches the lives of a great number of people, sex work remains outlawed in Thailand.