Eight persons linked to a satirical Facebook community page were charged with sedition and computer crimes on 28 April. They are scheduled to appear in a military court on 3 July. Two of them are still detained on the additional charge of offending the monarchy.
Soldiers conducted raids on 27 April in Bangkok and Khon Kaen, north-east Thailand, and detained Harit Mahaton,Noppakao Kongsuwan, Worawit Saksamutnan, Yohtin Mangkhangsanga, Thanawat Buranasirim, SupachaiSaibutr, Kannasit Tangboonthin, and Natthika Worathaiyawich.
The eight were charged on 28 April with sedition under Article 116 of the Penal Code and violations of the Computer Crimes Act. They are scheduled to appear in a military court on 3 July and may face an unfair trial, and sentences of at least twelve years’ imprisonment. Authorities have maintained that the group’s satirical Facebook community page “We Love Gen. Prayut”, where users regularly posted doctored photos and memes parodying Prime Minister General Prayut Chan O-Cha and members of his administration, was intended to “cause unrest”.
After granting the group’s second request for bail on 11 May, authorities immediately rearrested two of the group, Harit Mahaton and Natthika Worathaiyawich, and detained them on the additional charge of offending the monarchy under Article 112 of the Penal Code on account of their private Facebook messages. The two remain detained in Bangkok Remand Prison and Central Women’s Correctional Institution. They could face a further term of at least three years’ imprisonment and an unfair trial in a military court.
Authorities seeking to crush any real or perceived dissent in Thailand are in violation of their obligations under international human rights law to respect and protect the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly. They are increasingly penalising Facebook users peacefully expressing their opinions in a manner that authorities consider “detrimental” to themselves and the position of Thailand’s royal family.
- Please write immediately in Thai or your own language:
- Expressing concern that the “Facebook Eight” (Harit Mahaton, Noppakao Kongsuwan, Worawit Saksamutnan, Yohtin Mangkhangsanga, Thanawat Buranasirim, Supachai Saibutr, Kannasit Tangboonthin and Natthika Worathaiyawich) have been penalised for their legitimate exercise of the right to freedom of expression, and urging that authorities immediately and unconditionally drop all charges against them;
- Urging that Harit Mahaton and Natthika Worathaiyawich are immediately and unconditionally released from detention;
- Urging authorities to uphold their international obligations to guarantee the rights to freedom of expression and, association, including online, and release any Facebook user detained or imprisoned on account of their peaceful exercise of these rights.
2. For the full Urgent Action, including appeal addresses and further information, please click on the Word or PDF version here.
3. Please let us know if you took action so that we can track our impact!
- EITHER send a short email to firstname.lastname@example.org with “UA 132/16” in the subject line, and include in the body of the email the number of letters and/or emails you sent,
- OR fill out this short online form to let us know how you took action