Thailand: Judicial harassment of Mr. Anon Nampa

16/11/2018
Urgent Appeal

THA 004 / 1118 / OBS 135
Judicial harassment
Thailand
November 16, 2018

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint 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 reliable sources about the judicial harassment of Mr. Anon Nampa, a human rights lawyer working with Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) [1] since 2014. Mr. Anon is the lawyer of Mr. Thanakorn Siriphaiboon, who has been charged with violating Article 112 of the Criminal Code (lèse-majesté), Article 116 of the Criminal Code (sedition), and the 2007 Computer Crimes Act for having shared information about alleged corruption in the construction of the Rajabhakti Park [2], and for having ‘liked’ a Facebook post deemed insulting to King Rama IX’s dog.

According to the information received, on October 2, 2018, the Bangkok Military Court issued a summons dated September 25, 2018 for Mr. Anon to be investigated for disseminating on the TLHR website a statement [3] from a prosecution witness, Pol. Maj. Gen. Wijarn Jodtaeng, without the permission of the same military court in relation to Mr. Thanakorn’s case. If convicted under Article 30 of the Civil Procedure Code (‘contempt of court’), Mr. Anon could face up to six months’ imprisonment and/or a fine of 500 Bahts (approximately 13,50 Euros).

On October 3, 2018, the Bangkok Military Court argued that the public dissemination of the testimony could negatively impact the case and asked Mr. Anon to ask TLHR to delete the content published on their website within 24 hours. The Court also banned any other individual or organisation from publishing witness testimonies related to the case in the media, and indicated that this would be considered contempt of court.

On October 4, 2018, Mr. Anon submitted a motion to revoke the Bangkok Military Court’s order, arguing that Mr. Thanakorn’s trial should be conducted publicly, as provided for under Article 172 of the Criminal Procedure Code, the 2017 Constitution, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Mr. Anon added that TLHR’s publication did not distort the military officer’s testimony and did not directly disseminate any military court documents.

On October 5, 2018, the Bangkok Military Court dismissed the motion arguing that the case was still pending, and that publishing the witness testimonies could have a negative influence on society.

On October 8, 2018, Mr. Anon submitted an appeal to the Bangkok Military Court’s decision from October 5, on the grounds that the dismissed motion order had violated Mr. Thanakorn’s right to a fair trial and the performance of his duties as a lawyer.

Mr. Anon dedicates his efforts to providing legal aid to those facing politically motivated charges. He is facing another 10 legal cases against him [4] (among others for sedition under Article 116 of the Criminal Code and insulting a court under Article 198 of the Criminal Code). Three of the cases have concluded, while eight are still ongoing. Two cases are being tried in military court for violations of National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) Order 3/2015.

The Observatory condemns the judicial harassment of Mr. Anon and considers that this investigation over the dissemination of a witness’ testimony is emblematic of the violations of the right to a fair trial of the accused and of the continuous judicial harassment of human rights lawyers in Thailand.

The Observatory urges the Thai authorities to end all acts of harassment, including at the judicial level, against Mr. Anon, as these acts seem to be only aimed at punishing him for his legitimate human rights activities.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities of Thailand asking them to:

i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Anon Nampa and of all human rights defenders in Thailand;

ii. Put an end to all forms of harassment, including at the judicial level, against Mr. Anon Nampa and all human rights defenders in the country and ensure in all circumstances that they are able to carry out their legitimate activities without any hindrance or fear of reprisals;

iii. Guarantee in all circumstances the right to a fair trial of accused persons;

iv. Conform to the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 9, 1998, in particular with Articles 1, 5(a), and 12.2;

v. 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:

· Gen. 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
· Air Chief Marshal Prajin Juntong, 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, November 16, 2018

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 / +33 1 43 55 18 80
· Tel and fax OMCT +41 (0) 22 809 49 39 / +41 22 809 49 29

[1] TLHR is an organisation that was set up after the 2014-coup d’Etat to provide legal aid to civilians arrested and/or prosecuted by the military, as well as monitor and document human rights situations and violations throughout Thailand post-coup.
[2] Rajabakhti Park is a historically themed park located in Hua Hin, Prachuap Khiri Khan Province. The park honours Thai kings from the Sukhotai period to the current Chakri royal family. It was built by the Royal Thai Army on Thai Army property with over one billion Baht (around 27 million Euros) donated by the public and private sector.
[3] The court said that the statement was published online in TLHR’s human rights case updates under the title: “NCPO [National Council for Peace and Order]’s legal officer in case of sharing about alleged corruption in the construction of Rajabhaktu Park, and liking a Facebook post related to an insult to a royal dog; testifying although he cannot use Facebook, but nevertheless spotted the defendant’s like on Facebook”.
[4] See for example the Observatory Urgent Appeals THA 003 / 0518 / OBS 072, published on May 24, 2018; THA 001 / 0315 / OBS 017 published on March 12, 2015; THA 002 / 0118 / OBS 015 published on January 31, 2018.

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