Thailand: Four pro-democracy activists detained on lèse-majesté and sedition charges

10/02/2021
Statement

Paris-Geneva, February 10, 2021 – Four Thai pro-democracy activists have been detained on charges of lèse-majesté and sedition in connection with speeches they made during a peaceful protest in September 2020. The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (FIDH-OMCT) urges Thai authorities to immediately and unconditionally release them and to stop all acts of harassment against pro-democracy activists.

Thai human rights defenders and pro-democracy activists Anon Nampa, Parit Chiwarak, Somyot Prueksakasemsuk and Patiwat Saraiyaem, were detained yesterday on charges under Articles 112 (“lèse-majesté”) and 116 (“sedition”) of the Criminal Code in connection with speeches concerning the Thai monarchy they made at a peaceful pro-democracy protest at Bangkok’s Sanam Luang on September 19, 2020.

The Attorney General made a decision for the proceedings to go ahead and the Bangkok Criminal Court denied a bail request with a deposit of 200,000 THB (approximately 5,530 Euros) each to all four defendants. The Court argued that, if released, the defendants would present a high risk of re-offending, as they had committed the same alleged “offences” several times. The four human rights defenders are currently detained in the Bangkok Remand Prison pending trial.

The Observatory notes with concern that between November 24, 2020, and February 8, 2021, 58 people, including many human rights defenders, were charged under Article 112 of the Thai Criminal Code.

The Observatory recalls that dozens of peaceful protesters, including the four above-mentioned activists, have been arbitrarily detained several times since the beginning of pro-democracy demonstrations in Thailand in early 2020.

The Observatory urges the Thai authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Anon Nampa, Parit Chiwarak, Somyot Prueksakasemsuk, and Patiwat Saraiyaem. The Observatory further calls on the Thai authorities to stop all acts of judicial harassment against pro-democracy activists for their participation in demonstrations in Bangkok and in the rest of the country.

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.

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