Judicial harassment against human rights activist

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Thailand.

Description of the situation :

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the judicial harassment against Mr. Anon Nampa, a volunteer lawyer with the organization Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR). TLHR was established by a group of lawyers in May 2014 to provide legal assistance to alleged lèse-majesté violators and activists targeted by the authorities following the 22 May military coup. Although in existence for less than a year, TLHR received a human rights award by the French Embassy in Bangkok in December 2014. Besides his work for TLHR, Mr. Anon has defended numerous individuals accused of lèse-majesté under Article 112 of the Criminal Code or under the provisions of the Computer Crimes Act since 2010.

According to the information received, on March 5, 2015, Mr. Anon reported to the Pathumwan police station in Bangkok to respond to a complaint filed by Lt Col Burin Thongprapai, an official at the Judge Advocate General’s Department, on February 25, 2015. Lt Col Burin accused Mr. Anon of “importing into a computer false information which may damage national security” under Article 14(2) of the Computer Crimes Act for posting five Facebook messages that criticized the role of the military in the administration of justice under martial law. If prosecuted and found guilty, Mr. Anon faces up to 25 years in jail and a fine of up to 500,000 Thai baht (approximately 14,135 Euros).

Mr. Anon posted the five messages on Facebook while in police custody on February 14, 2015. On that day, police arrested Mr. Anon, along with three anti-coup activists, on charges of violating National Council for Peace and Order’s (NCPO’s) order No. 7/2014, which prohibits public gatherings of more than five people. The four were arrested while they were in the process of organizing an event at the Bangkok Cultural and Art Center to mark the one-year anniversary of the annulled Thai general election on February 2, 2014. All four were released on bail after being detained and interrogated for more than nine hours at the Pathumwan police station.

The Observatory strongly condemns the judicial harassment against Mr. Anon Nampa, which only aims at sanctioning his legitimate human rights activities. The Observatory calls on Thai authorities to drop all charges held against him and put an immediate end to this judicial harassment.

Actions requested :

Please write to the authorities of Thailand asking them to :

  • Drop all charges against Mr. Anon Nampa and put an end to all acts of judicial harassment against him and all human rights defenders in Thailand ;
  • Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Anon,as well as all human rights defenders in Thailand ;
  • Conform with the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 9, 1998, especially its Article 1, which states that “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection and realisation of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels”, and Article 12.2, which provides that “the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration” ;
  • Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by Thailand.

Addresses :

lPrime Minister, Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha, Government House, 1, Phitsanulok Road, Dusit, 10300, Bangkok, THAILAND ; Fax : +66 (0) 2282 5131
lMinister of Interior, Gen Anupong Paochinda, Asatang Road, Ratchabophit, 10200, Bangkok, THAILAND
lMinister of Foreign Affairs, Gen Tanasak Patimapragorn, Sri Ayutthaya Building, 443 Sri Ayutthaya Road, Phaya Thai, 10400, Bangkok, THAILAND ; T Fax : +66 (0) 2 643-5320 ; E-mail : minister@mfa.go.th
lMinister of Justice, Gen Paiboon Khumchaya, 120, Chaeng Watthana Road, Laksi, 10210, Bangkok, THAILAND ; Fax : +66 (0) 2 953-0503
lPol Gen Somyot Poompanmoung, Commissioner-General of the Royal Thai Police, 1st Building, 7th Floor, Rama I Road, Pathumwan, 10330, Bangkok, THAILAND ; Fax : +66 (0) 2 251 5956 / +66 (0) 2 251 8702
lMs. Amara Pongsapich ; Chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission of Thailand ; 120, Chaeng Watthana Road, Laksi, 10210, Bangkok, THAILAND ; E-mail : help@nhrc.or.th

lPermanent Mission of Thailand to the United Nations in Geneva, rue Gustave Moynier 5, 1202 Geneva, Switzerland, Tel : + 41 22 715 10 10 ; Fax : + 41 22 715 10 00 / 10 02 ; Email : mission.thailand@ties.itu.int

lEmbassy of Thailand in Brussels, 2 Sq. du Val de la Cambre, 1050 Ixelles, Belgium, Tel : + 32 2 640.68.10 ; Fax : + 32 2 .648.30.66. Email : thaibxl@pophost.eunet.be

Please also write to the diplomatic mission or embassy of Thailand in your respective country