Drop charges against peaceful conference attendees: Scholars at Risk

August 17, 2017 -- Scholars at Risk (SAR) is concerned over the summons of two professors, two students, and one independent intellectual in connection with their attendance at the International Conference on Thai Studies.
 
SAR understands these five individuals attended the 13th International Conference on Thai Studies, held from 15 to 18 July 2017 at the Chiang Mai Convention Center in Chiang Mai. The International Conference on Thai Studies, which takes place every three years, is the largest global gathering of scholars from different disciplines who work on topics related to Thailand, including topics that touch on the country’s military rule. In connection with their attendance, these five individuals have been summoned to report to the Chang Phuak Police Station in Chiang Mai by August 21, 2017, and have been accused of violating Head of the NCPO Order No. 3/2558, which bans political gatherings of five or more persons. If convicted, they are subject to imprisonment of up to six months, a fine of up to 10,000 baht, or both.
 
The five individuals are: Chayan Vaddhanaphuti, Associate Professor and Director, Regional Center for Sustainable Development, Chiang Mai University, and Organizer, 13th International Conference on Thai Studies; Chaipong Samnieng, Ph.D. Candidate and Lecturer, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Chiang Mai University; Teeramon Buangam, M.A. Candidate, Faculty of Mass Communication, Chiang Mai University, and Editor, Prachaham News; Nontawat Machai, undergraduate student, Faculty of Mass Communication, Chiang Mai University; and Pakavadi Veerapaspong, independent writer and translator. 
 
SAR calls for letters, emails, and faxes respectfully urging Thai authorities to drop any charges against the accused arising out of the non-violent exercise of the rights to expression, association, or academic freedom; and to ensure that the case against them otherwise proceeds in a manner consistent with Thailand’s obligations under international law.
 
 
Chayan Vaddhanaphuti, organizer of the 13th International Conference on Thai Studies (Photo from SAR)