February 2016: 5 constitutional seminars interfered and canceled, the police continued to suppress gatherings, and anti-coup rallies cases were dismissed.

Period 22 May 2014 – 29 February 2016 February 2016
Number of individuals summoned 902 18
Arrests at peaceful demonstrations 214 -
Individuals prosecuted before military court 155 3
Individuals prosecuted before civilian court 48 1
Number of individuals charged with lese majeste offense (Article 112) 62 4
Number of individuals detained under lese majeste charge 50
 
Closure/interference seminars during the month

Closure/interference of 5 seminars relating to Mr. Meechai’s constitution

 

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Representatives of the website, prachamati.org, held a press conference for the incidents of a seminar titled “What about the new constitution?”, and a presentation contest, PetchaKucha 20x20 titled “The Constitution”. Both events were scheduled at the Bangkok Art & Culture Centre (BACC), on 28 February 2016, were interfered and had to be relocated. Pictures by iLaw.     

 

After the constitution, drafted by the Chief Drafter Mr. Meechai, was announced, many tried to hold meetings and activities in order to give advice on the draft. They were at least 5 meetings that were intervened by the police and the army. For example an activity held by a group of academic called Siam Pracha Piwat was banned, an activity held by the Women's Movement for Thailand's Reform (WeMove) was also banned, an activity promoting “Vote No on the Draft” held by the Red Path Group was asked to discontinue, and 2 activities held by the website, prachamati.org, were interrupted and had to change the venue. The Government and the NCPO asked the public to express their opinion on the constitution with a creative and appropriate manner for reconciliation. The NCPO would invite those who found misinformed the constitution for a talk.

 

Students’ seminar and Look Tung concert were banned.  

 

2 February 2016. Siang Esan Fan club Facebook page informed that their concert at Si Maha Phot District, Prachin Buri Province, was banned after the officials did not allow them to hold the event.

 

13 February 2016. A seminar titled “Pattani, Peace and why people?” was canceled because there was intervention and pressure from the officials. The officials claimed that there were worried about the seminar. The organizers said that the seminar had to be canceled because they were worried about about the safety of students and other participants.

Since the coup on 22 May 2014, at least 73 academic seminars have been intervened or banned.    

 

 

Section 112 Cases of February 

2 February 2016. The military prosecutor concluded the dismissal of a lese majeste case filed against Jaruwan and three other accused. The prosecutor told the lawyer from the Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) that the order to dismiss the case was sent out. For more information about this case, visit http://freedom.ilaw.or.th/en/case/641   

 
Bandit was insane, but could defend his case.
11 February 2016. The military court examined the doctor who treated Bandit’s mental illness. Bandit was a 75-year-old man who was charged with the Criminal Code Section 112, when expressed his opinion at a seminar. The doctor concluded that Bandit was suffered from though disorder. He was considered as having an unsound mind. He could have committed other crimes. He however could defend his case, and the judge scheduled for further witness examination.
 
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Bandit has been charged with Section 112 for expressing his opinion at the seminar of the Innovation Party in late 2014. 

 

Attitude Adjustments and Visits in February 2016

11 February 2016. The army of the 1st Calvary Division, Phetchabun Province, summoned the leaders of anti-mining group in Phetchabun Province for a discussion. The army asked the leaders to file complaints to the local authority only, and asked them not to go to Bangkok.   

 

12 February 2016. The army of the 24th Military Circle, Udon Thani Province, summoned the villagers in order to make an understanding. The incident occurred on 7 February 2016 when the villagers paraded to pray to Prince Prachak Silpakhom Statue. Some villagers held up messages against potash mining. A statement was announced that contained a phrase “Down with dictatorship”.          

 

18 February 2016. The army went to see Mr. Jatuporn Prompan, the leader of the National United Front of Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) at Peace TV studio, Imperial World Ladprao Shopping Mall. The army wanted to have a talk with him in regard to the comment he made at the 11th Military Circle. Dr. Weng Tojirakarn asked the army to accompany Mr. Jatuporn Prompan. Prior to this, on 2 February 2016, Jatuporn was arrested by the army, and was brought to the 1st Army Area. This was because it was a rumor that Mr. Jatuporn Prompan, Mr. Nattawut Saikua, and other UDD leaders would ask people to go traveling on Chao Phraya River for the second time at Si Phraya Pier.          

 

19 February 2016. In Songkhla Province, some 10 people in green uniform who claimed to be Border Patrol Police Officers wanted to meet Anchana Heemmina, an activist from Southern Thailand. Anchana had published a report on prisoner abuse in Thailand. Anchana’s house was surrounded by 3 vehicles. The officers entered the premise without any arrest or search warrant. Anchana was not home at the time. The officers questioned Anchana’s mother, and took pictures the mother and the house.        

 

23 February 2016. 6 army personnel from the 5th Anti-Aircraft Artillery came by a humvee visited Same Sky Books publisher. They said that it was a regular duty on a monthly basis.    

 

26 February 2016. The sister of an academic, Pavin Chachavalpongpun, informed that the army went to her house and forced the family to convince Pavin to stop criticizing the royal institution.   

 

Since the coup on 22 May 2014 until February 2016, there have been at least 902 people who have been summoned, had attitude adjustment talks, and visited at their premises. 


 

Other Freedom of Expression Cases in February 2016 

2 – 4 February 2016, Chiang Mai Provincial Court. It was a schedule for witness examination on Maitree’s charge according to the Computer Crime Act. Maitree was accused of publicized video clip accusing military officer slapped on a villager's face in Chiang Dao District, Chiang Mai Province. 

The judge examined 6 plaintiff’s witnesses, and 9 defendant’s witnesses. After the examination finished, the judge scheduled for ruling on 8 March 2016.

8 February 2016. The Criminal Court scheduled for witness examination of Thanaporn’s case. Thanaporn, who worked for Government Savings Bank, was alleged for posting the 3-finger salute picture and a message insulting the deputy chief of the 3rd Army Area Division who died in a helicopter crash accident in Phayao Province. After the examination finished, the judge scheduled for another witness examination on 10 – 14 October 2016. Thanaporn asked to reconcile with concerned parties; the army and the relatives of the deceased, at the alternative dispute resolution center on 31 May 2016. If the reconciliation was succeeded, the case will be dismissed.      

10 February 2016. The military court scheduled for witness examination of Siraphop’s case on defying NCPO order. There was an authorization letter drafted by the witness who was scheduled to be examined. The letter was for the officials to file charges against those who defied NCPO order. 

 

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Kampol was making a statement against Biological Safety Bill in December 2015

 

18 – 19 February 2016. Nakorn Sri Thammarat Provincial Court scheduled for witness examination of Kampol’s case. An academic from Prince of Songkla University filed a charge for defamation against Kampol, an environmental activist. It was when Kampol posted on his Facebook account saying that the 2-billion-Baht project that used coal's ashes to make artificial reef to protect coastal erosion would affect the environment. The judge scheduled for ruling on 17 March 2016. 

 

 

Apichat’s case against the coup dismissed

 

11 February 2016. Pathumwan Municipal Court read the verdict for Apichat’s case on violating the NCPO announcement and joining a protest against the coup. The judge ruled and dismissed the case. The judge reasoned that the plaintiff did not attest whether the inquiry official who questioned the defendant had a jurisdiction over this case. Therefore the inquiry procedure was conducted without legitimacy.  

 

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Apichat gave an interview in front of Pathumwan Municipal Court after the case was dismissed on 11 February 2016. 

 

On the same day, the military court scheduled for witness examination of Jittra’s case on defying the NCPO order. Pol. Lt. Chalit Maneeprow, an inquiry official of the Crime Suppression Division, testified as the plaintiff’s witness. Pol. Lt. Chalit was the one who recorded and signed the police report and the complaint filed by Lt. Col. Burin Thongprapai. After the examination finished, the judge scheduled for the next examination on 25 April 2016.

      

26 February 2016. Sama-ae Jemudo, the President of the Federation of Thai Fisher Folk Association, went to acknowledge his accusation at Nanglerng Police Station for organizing a rally without informing the police in advance. Sama-ae was charged after he went to the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives in order to demand changing the Royal Ordinance on Fisheries, Section 34.

 

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Sama-ae Jemudo, the President of the Federation of Thai Fisher Folk Association, met the inquiry official at Nanglerng Police Station and received his accusation for organizing a rally without informing the police 

 

Other Freedom of Expression Cases

3 February 2016. The army who claimed to be from the 1st Army Area asked the security guards of News One TV station, located on Phra Athit Road, to take pictures inside the premise. But their access was denied because they had no official document. After being denied the army left.

 

4 February 2016. Lawyers and human rights organizations made a statement after officials interfered lawyer’s duties. It was after Benjarat Meetien’s lawyer was charged with falsifying, defamation, and other accusations. All together there were 5 charges. And the lawyer was threatened.       

The statement also mentioned that another lawyer was threatened. Sirikarn Charoensiri, a lawyer of TLHR, was a member of the working group on 14 cases for the accused from the New Democracy Movement. She did not allow the police to search and seize her client’s phone without a search warrant. Sirikarn was summoned to acknowledge her charges for perjury and refusing to comply with an order of an official.  

 

25 February 2016. The People's Network for Sustainable Development handed a petition for the order; prohibit rallies against city planning. They reasoned that Nanglerng Police Station had no authority to judge. The police could only prepare public safety. The petition was filed after the Group informed the police that they would hold a rally in front of the UN building. But the police of Nanglerng Police Station, who had responsibility to the local area, did not grant the permission.     

26 February 2016. The inquiry official summoned Admiral Pajun Tamprateep, a member of the National Reform Steering Assembly (NRSA), to acknowledge the charge according to the Computer Crime Act. This was related to a Line message claiming that an army general was involved with the buying and selling of Royal Thai Police (RTP) positions. Later on 3 March 2016, Pol. Gen. Srivara Ransibrahmanakul, Deputy Commissioner-General, stated that the Commissioner-General ordered to file an additional complaint against Admiral Pajun for defamation by advertising. Admiral Pajun had not been informed, but he was ready to meet as scheduled.

 

 

 

 

 

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