On 26 November 2021, a law NGO Destination Justice has filed an Urgent Action to the United Nations’ Working Group on Arbitrary Detention on behalf of Thai activists Parit 'Penguin' Chiwarak and Panusaya 'Rung' Sithijirawattanakul.
From left to right: Parit and Panussaya conduct an activity prior to a charge hearing in 2020.
The Urgent Action requests the United Nations body to declare Parit and Panusaya’s current arrest and detention as arbitrary and in violation of international law.
Destination Justice has also called upon the United Nations to request the Thai authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Parit and Panusaya and terminate all prosecutions and cases against them.
Parit and Panusaya are amongst the highest profile, most outspoken protesters in a mass protest movement in Thailand calling for socio-political change, including monarchy reform.
They have been repeatedly arrested and detained for participating in peaceful protests, expressing opinions, and otherwise exercising fundamental freedoms protected under international law.
Parit and Panusaya are currently being detained pending trial on charges including for lese-majesty under Criminal Code section 112, which has a sentence of up to 15 years.
Overall, Parit faces 43 trials and up to 300 years’ imprisonment and Panusaya faces 25 trials and up to 135 years’ imprisonment in total.
Moreover, a recent Thai Constitutional Court decision means that they may eventually charges of attempted insurrection for their human rights work, a crime which carries the death penalty.
The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention is a Special Procedure of the United Nations Human Rights Council that investigates deprivation of liberty around the world. It can also intervene urgently where a person is detained arbitrarily in dangerous conditions or where there are other unique circumstances.
The Urgent Action has also been sent to the United Nations Special Rapporteurs on freedom of assembly and association, freedom of expression and opinion, and human rights defenders. All of these officials, together with the Working Group, have already expressed concern over the treatment of Thai protesters participating in the ongoing movement.
Destination Justice is a NGO which focuses on human rights and rule of law.