Three unionists at the commencement of trial on causing public disorder

Envoys from Belgian and Swiss Embassies in Bangkok attended the court session regarding the right to peaceful assembly and association. They promise to observe the trial closely and attend the next hearings which will take place on 15 November this year onwards.
28 March 2011: 9.30 am at the Criminal Court, in Room no. 707, Ms. Jitra Kotchadej, advisor to the Triumph Labour Union, Ms. Boonrod Saiwong, Former Executive Secretary of the Triumph Labour Union and Mr. Sunthorn Boonyod, staff member of the Labour Union Center, attended the first hearing at the Criminal Court to review evidence. The defendants are accused of violating Section 215 and 216 of the Penal Code which stipulates against the “gathering of ten people upwards to do or threaten to do an act of violence, or do anything to cause a breach to the peace…and being the manager or the person having the duty to give orders for the commission of the offence…and when the official orders the persons assembled together to disperse, the persons refuse to do so”. The Black Case no. Or 620/2554 was filed by the public prosecutor of the Division of Special Prosecution 10, Office of the Attorney General.
Envoys from the Swiss and Belgian Embassies were present during the review of the evidence including Mr. Daniel De Waegh, Investment and Trade Commissioner, of the Belgian Embassy to Thailand. They shall be present during the next hearings which shall take place from 15-16 November 2011 during which the examinations of six prosecution witnesses shall take place. From 16-22 November, 14 defendant witnesses shall be examined, too.
The legal case stems from the 27 August 2009 demonstration of over 1,000 workers from Triumph International Labour Union, Electronics and Mechanics Labour Union under the Aneon Electronics (Thailand) and World Well Garment in front of the Parliament and the Government House in Bangkok. They were there to ask to know progress after their submitting petitions to the Prime Minister asking him to defend the rights of workers who had been unjustly laid off en masse. On that day, the police used Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD) making very loud noises in an attempt to disperse the defiant demonstrators. The arrest warrants issued later have drawn outcries from rights activists and the National Human Rights Commission has been asked to come out to defend the right to peaceful assembly and association and to inquire over the violation of civil rights by the police.

Translated by Pipob Udomittipong

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