Lawyers condemn military’s harassment against lawyer, clients

Lawyers and human rights activists condemn the military for its recent interruption and harassment a lawyer and her clients, saying the junta must respect the right to justice of the citizen. 
 
On 11 November, military and police officers interrupted a private meeting between\ Sor Rattanamanee Polkaw, the lawyer from the Community Resources Centre (CRC) and her clients in northeastern Udon Thani Province, while they were discussing a case related to the environmental impact of a Xayaburi and Don Sahong dam. The military also told the lawyer to ask for permission for every meeting with her clients. The military forced the lawyer to sign a letter asking for permission, collected documents related to the cases and continued to observe the meeting. 
 
According to the statement, issued on Friday, the military also deceived some of her clients in northern Lampang Province into a military camp, claiming that the commander wished to discuss about a case related to Lignite mine; the ‘discussion’, however, turned out to be a summon under the martial law. 
 
The statement was signed by six human rights organizations, including Human Rights Lawyers Association and the Cross Cultural Foundation
  1. The people have the right to justice. The summons related to this right is considered a harassment which should have had happened in the state governed by law. 
  2. According to lawyers’ code of conduct, lawyers must keep the information related to the clients and the cases secret. The UN’s Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyer states that a government must assure that lawyers can work freely without intimidation and harassment and that lawyers can freely meet with clients. The act of interrupting and observing the meeting between lawyers and clients will directly affect their right to justice.     
  3. The junta’s current use of the martial law to prohibit any assembly of more than five people are not in line with the spirit of the martial law. 
  4. The government announce its policy to create unity and peace in the nation and want to reform the nation, but the junta’s use of the martial law to intimidate people’s rights is human rights violation and is the real obstacle to build the peaceful nation.  
The rights groups urge the military to stop intimidating the people’s right to justice, stop intimidating lawyers and immediately lift the martial law. 
 
Read related news: