Submitted on Thu, 25 Jun 2015 - 11:44 AM
In pursuance to the invocation of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) Order no. 7/2557 to ban political gathering and Section 44 of the 2014 Interim Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand which issue the Order of Head of NCPO no. 3/2015 regarding the maintenance of public order and national security as well as the orders to authorize military court to have jurisdiction over cases related to political assembly, the police and military officials have lately exercised their draconian power to hold a person in custody. It has given rise to infringements on the rights to freedom of expression in many instances, particularly the arrest and pressing of criminal charges against a group of students and citizens who were gathered to demonstrate during the first anniversary of the military coup in front of the Bangkok Art & Culture Centre and the Democracy monument in the city of Khon Kaen.
The Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) deems the activities have been carried out peacefully and unarmed according to the right and liberty every Thai citizen is entitled to as far as the democratic convention in Thailand is concerned. In addition, the right is provided for in Articles 19 and 21 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) to which Thailand is a state party, and which guarantee that “everyone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference” and that “the right of peaceful assembly shall be recognized”. Even though the officials claimed to have performed their duties according to the law, but the law which restricts people’s rights and liberty has to be exercised proportionately and properly in a democratic society. Since it appears that the laws have essentially led to breaches of the right to public assembly, it is not justified for the state to claim that the arrest and prosecution against the persons based on such charges have been carried out according to human rights principles and justice process.
In addition, it happens that the police officials have apprehended and brought individuals to police station and recorded their personal information and action, even though they had not done anything that could be deemed as an illegal offence. There have been instances that such individuals have been ‘invited’ to the police station and no charges were pressed against them, for example when Mr. Pansak Srithep was brought to the Pathumwan Police Station, or when Mr. Anurak Janetawanit was brought to the same police station today (24 June). Moreover, three other students were nabbed from around the Democracy Monument in Bangkok and arbitrarily brought to the Samran Rat Police Station without committing any apparent illegal offence. Such apprehensions are a breach to procedure as provided for in Article 78 of the Criminal Procedure Code and it was in fact an obvious attempt to stifle freedom of expression.
Therefore, the Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) demands the following;
1. The National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) and government officials have to stop behaving in such a way that threatens the exercise of the right to freedom of expression by students and citizens who simply express themselves peacefully and unarmed.
2. Stop trying civilians in Military Court since the use of such justice system is a breach to the principle of independence and impartiality of the judiciary which in this case is being used as a political tool.
3. Such intimidation and the misuse of justice process to carry our the arrest and others prosecutions shall not only violate rights and liberties of the people, but they will also not help to restore social justice without which no genuine solutions to the incumbent conflicts can be founded