Thai prison sued for violating prisoner rights

Human rights lawyers have filed a charge against Thailand’s Corrections Department after prison officers barred a lawyer from meeting his lèse majesté client.  
 
 
On 16 January 2016, Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) filed a charge against the Corrections Department, the Director of Chiang Rai Central Prison and a prison staff member. The three plaintiffs were accused of violating a prisoner's rights after a lawyer from TLHR was denied a meeting with his client on 12 September 2016. The case was filed at Chiang Mai Administrative Court. 
 
On 12 September, TLHR lawyer Anon Nampa requested to meet Somsak (surname withheld for privacy), a lèse majesté convict. But prison staff refused, reasoning that the case had already ended with Somsak’s conviction.  
 
Two weeks later, Anon appealed to the prison’s director. He reasoned that he wanted to consult with his client about overturning his conviction, as well as to ensure his client was receiving adequate care for his mental illness. However, the director dismissed the appeal, saying it lacked solid evidence.   
 
TLHR then asked the court for access to Somsak and will now attempt to sue the Corrections Department for 200,000 baht as compensation. 
 
Since the 2014 coup, at least six people with mental illness have been prosecuted under Article 112 of the Criminal Code, the lèse majesté law. The courts rarely take these illnesses into account.