Protestors summoned on Emergency Decree charges after calling for justice for missing activist

Six people who participated in the demonstration in front of the Cambodian Embassy last Monday (8 June) to call for the authorities to address the disappearance of activist in exile Wanchalearm Satsaksit have been summoned by the police on Emergency Decree charges, said Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR).

The group of protestors in front of the Cambodian Embassy on the afternoon of 8 June. 

TLHR reported that Chotisak Onsoong, a leader of the activist group People’s Party for Freedom, Mathana Atchima), and one other person reported receiving a summons from Wang Thong Lang Police Station requiring them to report on 17 June for violating the Emergency Decree. They said that the summons also named activist Somyot Pruksakasemsuk and five other people.

One of those who received the summons said that it concerned their participation in a demonstration in front of the Cambodian Embassy on 8 June to demand that the authorities investigate the disappearance of Wanchalearm, who was abducted from in front of his condominium in Phnom Penh on 4 June.

The NGO Coordinating Committee on Development (NGO COD) also posted on their Facebook page yesterday (14 June) that their four representatives who went to the Cambodian Embassy on the morning of 8 June to submit a petition calling for an investigation into Wanchalearm’s disappearance have also received a summons from Wang Thong Lang Police Station for violating the Emergency Decree.

A group of students from the Student Union of Thailand (SUT) were also arrested and threatened with charges under the Emergency Decree after they tied white ribbons at various Bangkok locations as part of their “White Ribbon Against Dictatorship” campaign, in which they invite the public to display a white ribbon to call for justice for Wanchalearm. The police later dropped the Emergency Decree charges and instead charged them with violation of the Cleanliness Act and failing to carry their national identification cards.

The Thai authorities have, on many instances, used the Emergency Decree to restrict freedom of expression. Several activists have been arrested and charged under the Decree, including Chaiyaphum-based human rights defender Sunthorn Duangnarong, political activist Anurak Jeantawanich, and former MP Dr Tossapon Serirak.

Police in Songkhla also denied a request from a beach conservation network to hold an anti-seawall protest on Muang Ngam Beach on 23 May, claiming that the protest would violate the Emergency Decree.

On 2 June, the police also denied a request from student activist Netiwit Chotiphatphaisal to organize a commemoration event on the 31st anniversary of the 4 June 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre.