July 2016: Mrs. Marshall arrested, Vote-no campaigners threatened till last minute, 3 Human rights activists prosecuted since their report on torture released

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One month before the referendum, freedom of expression for people publicly stating that they would vote ‘no’ for a referendum was widely restricted and the restriction was in various forms.

Human rights activists, as well as a relative of a military officer who died in a military camp, were threatened after they had informed the public about the torture situation in the deep South.

Concerning lese majeste, the wife of Andrew Marshall McGregor was arrested for questioning after McGregor had dissemminated photoshopped pictures of a member of Thai Royal Family. In the case of Tom Dundee, the prosecutor indicated that the verdict would be appealed.  

 

Period 22 May 2014 – 31 July 2016 July 2016
Number of individuals summoned 988 61
Arrests at peaceful demonstrations 561 28
Individuals prosecuted before military court 278 120
Individuals prosecuted before civilian Court 50 1
Number of individuals charged with lese majeste offense (Article 112) 68 -
Number of individuals detained under lese majeste charge
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Restriction of freedom in both online and offline world before the referendum


 

On 10 July 2016, police officers of Banpong Provincial Police Station, Rachaburi asked Boriboon and 18 others to report to the police station for having violated the NCPO Order prohibiting political gathering of more than five people after they were trying to establish a referendum fraud investigation center in the area. On the same day, Pakorn Areekul, an activist from the New Democracy Movement Group and his two friends went to show their support to Boriboon and others in Rachaburi. Police officers searched their car and found documents related to the referendum. The police arrested three of them including a journalist from Prachatai website who came along with them to cover the event and Panuwat, a student from Maejo University who is one of the 18 accused at the police station. The next morning, they were brought before the court for detention permission. The Court allowed the detention and later allowed them to be bailed with a bail guarantee of 140,000 baht each. They were all released in the evening of the same day. 

 

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On 14 July 2016, the villagers who attended the opening ceremony of a referendum fraud investigation center at Nonesa-ard District, Udonthani Province were ordered to participate in an attitude adjustment at Nonesa-ard Provincial Police Station. Military officers came to talk to them and read out the charge of violating the NCPO Order prohibiting political assembly of more than five people. They asked the villagers to sign a memorandum of understanding that they would no longer involve themselves in political activity and that if they violated the memorandum, they would be prosecuted and their financial assets would  be freezed. As a result, the villagers were not prosecuted.

 

On 16 July, Chuwong, a lawyer, together with a leader of a group of farmers without land in Krabi Province, gave themselves up to the police at Muang Krabi Provincial Police Station. They had been the subject of an arrest warrant under the Referendum Act after they had posted on Facebook that they would not accept a draft constitution. They admitted that they posted the message but it was only to express their feeling. One the same day, Chuwong was released after he placed a bail guarantee in the amount of 150,000 baht.

 

On 23 July 2016, military and police officers arrested a 63-year-old-man at Muang Chiangmai District. He was charged under section 61 of the Referendum Act and was detained at Chiangmai Central Prison on 25 July 2016 after he had  put ‘Vote No’ leaflets on the windshield of cars at Pantip Plaza Shopping Mall on 21 July 2016.

 

On 25 July 2016, Aditep wore a black t-shirt with a message on the back stating ‘Vote No Constitution’ and rode a motorbike past the town hall of Ubonrachathani Province. A military officer stopped him, asked for his address, and seized his t-shirt. The next morning, he was ordered to report for questioning. Further, his house was also searched but no evidence was found. The officer informed Aditep that they would question him further, if they found new evidence.

 

On 26 July 2016, Wicharn was arrested by officers of Piboonmungsaharn Provicial Police Station while he was shouting in the municipality market asking people not to go cast their vote at the referndum. The officers took him to Prasrimahapo hospital. The doctor found him to have normal mental health. Therefore, Wicharn was charged with creating disturbance with the intention of persuading others not to participate in the refendum. On 28 July 2016, police officers brought him before the Court with a request to detain him. The Court set a bail guarantee in the amount of 200,000 Baht. As he did not have bail money, he was detained at Cental Prison.

 

28 July 2016, Krisakorn, a coordinator of Poor People Assembly, revealed that around three weeks ago, he had posted a message that he would not accept the draft constitution. Shortly after that, an officer called him and asked him to delete the message; but he refused. He found out that on 26 July 2016, the Provincial Electoral Committee of Udonthani Province reported the case and requested the police to prosecute him under paragraph two of section 61 of the Referendum Act. An arrest warrant was not issued as the police were still gathering evidence. On 28 July 2016, police, military and administrative officers visited him at his office while he was away.

 

 

Update on lese majeste cases


 

 

On 21 July 2016, Andrew McGregor Marshall, a former journalist of Reuters Thailand, shared pictures of members of theRoyal Family of Thailand which the authorities claimed were photoshopped. The next day, police officers from the Crime Suppression Department searched the house of Noppawan, Andrew’s wife. Later, she and her son were taken to the Department. Their computer, Ipad, flashdrives, passports and documents were seized for inspection. Lawyers from Thai Lawyers for Human Rights were refused access to Noppawan. The police claimed that it was because that no charge has been pressed. The Police Commander of Central Investigation Bureau stated in a press conference that Noppawan was not involved in the conduct of Andrew. Therefore, he ordered that she should be released. Two days later, Noppawan and her son left the country.

 

On 26 July 2016, members of a network in Singburi Province  set up to monitor and protect the monarchy of made a complaint to the police at Singburi Provincial Police Station using screenshot pictures of Facebook. They demanded that the police take action against a Facebook user with the account of “Nattapong XXX’. Natthanara Paanmee, a leader of the network, alleged that the user had posted statements defaming the King in  a Facebook group.

 

On the same day, Tom Dundee /Thanat’s wife was informed that the prosecutor would appeal the decision of the Court and that the prosecutor had made a  request to extend the appeal period until 1 September 2016.As such, his case had not been finalized and Tom could not make a request for royal pardon as he had wished. This case is one of two lese majeste cases after the coup in 2014. Tom confessed after he had denied the charge and had insisted that he would defend himself in one of the cases during the period when the Martial Law was declared. Hence, that case could not be appealed. In the other case, the Criminal Court sentenced him to seven years and six months following which the prosecutor sought an opportunity to appeal the decision.

 

Apart from the witness examination in Bandit case and Tara case at the Bangkok Military Court, there have been some updates in the case of Harit and Natthrika. They are accused in lese majeste cases relating to Facebook chat. The Court did not grant them bail on 11 May 2016; however, on 8 July 2016, the Court released them on bail guarantees of 500,000 Baht each.

 

 

Threats against human rights defenders and their relatives for having revealed torture by military.


 

On 26 July 2016, Somchai Homla-or, Pornpen Kongkajornkiat and Atchana Heemmena, travelled to Muang Pattani Provincial Police Station to hear charges against them. They all denied the charges and were released without bail from Internal Security Operation Command. The ISOC in 4th Region was assigned by the Army to make a complaint to the police for defamation and breaches of the Computer Crime Act. They had released a joint report regarding the torture situation in the deep South. The international media and international human rights organizations have closely followed the case and have asked the authorities to halt the prosecution.

 

Find more deatail about this,  https://freedom.ilaw.or.th/en/case/711

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On the same day, police officers from Makkasan Police Station arrested Narisrawan, who is a niece of a military private who died at a military camp in Narathiwat Province, for defamation and breaches of the Computer Crime Act. She had been using the internet to campaign about the death of her uncle. First Lieutenant Puri Perksopon, a commander of a battalion where the assault of Private Wichain had allegedly taken place, was a complainant to the police. On that day, Narisawam was brought from Bangkok to Narathiwat by plane and then by car. She denied all charges and used her position to bail herself out for the investigation stage.

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