Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR)
Pawinee Chumsri, a lawyer at Thai Lawyers for Human Rights, has won the 2017 Somchai Neelapaijit Award. Pawinee urged society to action, saying that, ‘If people don’t fight, lawyers really can’t achieve anything’. On 11 March 2017, the Somchai Neelapaijit Memorial Fund announced Pawinee Chumsri as the winner of its annual award, commending an outstanding human rights advocate.
20 villagers have been found guilty of violating the junta’s ban on public gatherings by supporting a referendum monitoring campaign. The villagers pleaded guilty, but only because of the high costs of fighting the case. On 6 March 2016, Udon Thani Military Court ruled that 20 villagers from Sakon Nakhon province were guilty of violating NCPO Head Order 3/2015, the junta’s ban on public assemblies of five people or more.
A coalition of human rights organisations has condemned the junta’s suspension of a bill aimed at criminalising state enforced torture and disappearance, arguing the legal gap facilitates human rights abuses. On 1 March 2017, a coalition of human rights groups including Thai Lawyers for Human Rights, the Cross Cultural Foundation, and the Human Rights Lawyers Association released a statement expressing alarm that the military government is taking steps backwards in the criminalisation of state enforced torture and
Human rights lawyers have called on the junta to cease the use of absolute powers during the ongoing clash between authorities and monks at Wat Dhammakaya. On 20 February 2017, Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) released a statement calling on the military government to cease the use of special powers in its raid of Wat Dhammakaya.
A military court has held the first trial for the lèse majesté suspect who claimed to possess telepathic powers. The Military Court of Bangkok on 9 February 2017 held the first trial for Sao Saengmuang, a suspect of offences under Article 112 of the Criminal Code, the lèse majesté law. Sao was indicted by military prosecutors for submitting a complaint in March 2015 to the Criminal Division for Political Office Holders of the Supreme Court.
Human rights lawyers have filed a charge against Thailand’s Corrections Department after prison officers barred a lawyer from meeting his lèse majesté client. On 16 January 2016, Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) filed a charge against the Corrections Department, the Director of Chiang Rai Central Prison and a prison staff member.
A provincial court has detained three anti-junta activists accused of discrediting the junta’s referendum on its controversial draft constitution. Update: On 14 December 2016, Phra Khanong Provincial Court granted bail to the three suspects after Boonlert Wisetpricha, a lecturer from Thammasat University’s Faculty of Sociology and Anthropology, offered 200,00 baht as surety for each suspect. The suspects will be summoned again on 27 December to attend a reconciliation session and a deposition hearing.
Updated: According to the Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR), the Military Court of Bangkok on 16 November 2016 has denied the bail request for Bundit Aneeya. He will be detained in Bangkok Remand Prison for the first custody period from 16-29 November 2016 with the possibility of the custody permission being renewed. Updated2: on 17 November, Bangkok Military Court granted bail for Bundit with 400,000 baht in cash as surety.
A military court in northern Thailand has detained a man accused of defaming the Thai Crown Prince. On 11 October 2016, the Military Court of the northern province of Chiang Rai granted police permission to detain Sarawut (surname withheld due to privacy concerns), a 32-year-old optometrist.
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.