National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO)
Thailand’s military junta increased its repression and failed to restore democratic rule in 2016, Human Rights Watch said today in its
According to a poll, Thailand is divided over whether the country is ready for democracy. While 37 per cent of Thais support postponing elections until 2018 after the mourning period, another 32 per cent believe elections should be held this year as per the junta’s road-map for national development. The findings come from a Suan Dusit poll of 1,192 Thais surveyed from 2–7 January 2017 on the theme ‘What do the people think about national reforms and elections?’, reports Thai Rath Online.
Withdrawing an earlier ruling, a district court has sentenced a prominent anti-junta activist to two months in prison with the jail term suspended for one year. On 19 December 2016, Pathumwan District Court of Bangkok read the verdict of the Court of First Instance for Apichat Pongsawat, a 27-year-old prominent anti-junta activist. The court sentenced Apichat to two months in prison and a 6,000 baht fine for violating the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) Head’s Order No. 3/2015 and Article 215 of the Criminal Code.
Thailand’s junta leader has invoked absolute power to terminate three public agencies responsible for facilitating dialogue between civil society and the state.
Prisons in Thailand still fail to recognise the basic rights of female prisoners, depriving women of essential health services and goods from sanitary pads to bras. Overburdened prisons due to Thailand’s harsh drug laws aggravate the current situation. This report reveals the devastating condition of female prisons in Thailand, places where women detainees live without dignity.
A deputy junta head has asked Google and YouTube to cooperate in blocking websites and videos with alleged lèse majesté content. On 21 October 2016, Deputy Prime Minister ACM Prajin Junthong invited Ann Lavin, Director of Public Policy of Google’s Southeast Asia and Greater China office, for a meeting at Government House.
Thailand should immediately end the use of Article 44 of the Interim Constitution which gives the Head of the military junta sweeping, unchecked powers contrary to the rule of law and human rights, said the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), today.
Despite being accused of disrespecting the military court, an embattled lèse majesté suspect has refused to bow down, saying that the court should have defended democracy against coup-makers. On 4 October 2016, a defence lawyer for Sirapop (surname withheld for privacy concerns), 52, resubmitted his client’s closing statement to the Military Court of Bangkok, Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) reported.
A military court has accused a lèse majesté suspect of disrespecting the court for arguing that the courts have a role in defending democracy and resisting Thailand’s coup-makers.
Police and public officials have prevented a press briefing by Amnesty International (AI) on a report about state-sponsored torture, saying that the AI speakers might be charged for not having work permits. On 28 September 2016, at Four Wings Hotel in Bangkok, Special Branch police officers and officials from the Department of Labour Protection and Welfare intervened in a press briefing on an AI report titled “Make Him Speak by Tomorrow: Torture and Other Ill-Treatment in Thailand”.