Thailand: Arbitrary arrest of human rights lawyer Mr. Anon Nampa and student activisist Mr. Panupong Chadnok

07/08/2020
Urgent Appeal

THA 003 / 0820 / OBS 090
Arbitrary arrest
Thailand
August 7, 2020

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Thailand.

Description of the situation:

The Observatory has been informed by the Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) about the arbitrary detention of Messrs. Anon Nampa, a prominent human rights lawyer, and Panupong Chadnok, aka Mike, a student activist member of the group Eastern Youth for Democracy, in connection with their participation in a peaceful pro-democracy demonstration at Bangkok’s’ Democracy Monument on July 18, 2020[1].

According to the information received, on August 7, 2020, eight police officers arrested Mr. Anon in front of his residence in Bangkok. Later the same day, Mr. Panupong was arrested by police officers in front of Ramkhamhaeng University in Bangkok. Messrs. Anon and Panupong were taken to Bangkok’s Samranrat police station. Mr. Anon was later transferred to Bangkok’s Bangkhen police station.

Arrest warrants for Messrs. Anon and Panupong were both issued by the Bangkok Criminal Court on August 6, 2020, for alleged violations of: Article 116 of the Criminal Code (“sedition”); Article 215 of the Criminal Code (“assembly intended to commit acts of violence”); Article 385 of the Criminal Code (“obstructing public way”); Article 9(2) of the Emergency Decree (“assembly or gathering of persons […] which may cause unrest“); Article 114 of the Land Traffic Act (“obstructing the traffic”); Article 4 of the Control of the Use of Amplifier Act (“use of loudspeakers without permission”); Article 19 of the Maintenance of the Cleanliness and Orderliness Act (“placing object on road”); and Article 34 of Communicable Disease Act (“participating in the acts that increase the risk for infection”).

The Observatory recalls that Mr. Anon Nampa has been subjected to numerous acts of judicial harassment at the hands of the authorities since the May 2014 military coup in Thailand[2].

The Observatory expresses its utmost concern about the arbitrary detention of Messrs. Anon Nampa and Panupong Chadnok, which seems to be only aimed at punishing them for the legitimate exercise of their rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of expression, and calls on Thai authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Messrs. Anon Nampa and Panupong Chadnok. 

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities of Thailand asking them to:

i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical integrity and psychological well-being of Messrs. Anon Nampa and Panupong Chadnok and all other human rights defenders in Thailand.

ii. Immediately and unconditionally release Messrs. Anon Nampa and Panupong Chadnok, since their detention is arbitrary and it seems to be merely aimed at punishing them for the legitimate exercise of their rights.

iii. Put an end to all acts of harassment, including at the judicial level, against Messrs. Anon Nampa and Panupong Chadnok and all other human rights defenders in Thailand, and ensure in all circumstances that they are able to carry out their legitimate activities without any hindrance and fear of reprisals.

iv. Comply with all the provisions of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 9, 1998, in particular Articles 1, 5, 6 and 12.

vi. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments to which Thailand is a State party.

Addresses:

• Mr. Prayuth Chan-ocha, Prime Minister of Thailand, Fax: +66 (0) 2 282 5131
• Mr. Don Pramudwinai, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand, Fax: +66 (0) 2 643 5320; Email: minister@mfa.go.th
• Mr. Somsak Thepsutin, Minister of Justice of Thailand, Fax: +66 (0) 2 953 0503
• Pol Gen Chaktip Chaijinda, Commissioner-General of the Royal Thai Police, Fax: +66 (0) 2 251 5956 / +66 (0) 2 251 8702
• Mr. Wat Tingsamit, Chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission of Thailand, Email: help@nhrc.or.th
• H.E. Mr. Thani Thongphakdi, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of Thailand to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Fax: +41 22 715 10 00 / 10 02; Email: mission.thailand@ties.itu.int
• Embassy of Thailand in Brussels, Belgium, Fax: +32 2 648 30 66; Email: thaibxl@pophost.eunet.be

Please also write to the diplomatic representations of Thailand in your respective countries.

***
Paris-Geneva, August 7, 2020

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997 by FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT). The objective of this programme is to prevent or remedy situations of repression against human rights defenders. FIDH and OMCT are both members of ProtectDefenders.eu, the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented by international civil society.
 
To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:
• E-mail: Appeals@fidh-omct.org
• Tel and fax FIDH +33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18
• Tel and fax OMCT +41 (0) 22 809 49 39

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[1] On July 18, 2020, approximately 2,000 protesters peacefully gathered at Bangkok’s Democracy Monument to demand the Parliament’s dissolution, a new Constitution, and an end of the authorities’ harassment of activists and government critics.
[2] See the Observatory Urgent Appeals THA 001 / 0315 / OBS 017 published on March 12, 2015, THA 001 / 0116 / OBS 008.2 published on May 3, 2016, THA 003 / 0518 / OBS 072 published on May 24, 2018, THA 004 / 1118 / OBS 135 published on November 16, 2018 and THA 002 / 0118 / OBS 015.2 published on September 20, 2019.

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