The military in Chiang Mai threatened two anti-coup protesters who gave the three-fingered salute in Chiang Mai city, warning that the military will ‘visit’ them at their homes if they do not stop their political activity. Earlier an editor was detained for flashing the anti-coup symbol in the same incident. 
Damnai Prathanang, a 40-year-old writer, and Sinapan Kerdsanong, a 31-year-old hotel employee, reported themselves at the Chiang Mai Kawila Military camp at 9 am on Sunday after the military searched for them, but failed. A lawyer from Thai Lawyers for Human Rights accompanied the two during the interrogation at the military camp and police station.
(From left) Nitipong Samrankong, Sinapan Kerdsanong, and Damnai Prathanang gavethe anti-coup three-fingered salute at Thapae Gate, Chiang Mai.
On Friday, the military arrested Nitipong Samrankong, a writer and editor of Burakamin Publishing House. He was released after he signed the military-drafted document. 
Sinapan, Damnai and Nitipong posted a photo of themselves giving the three-fingered salute at Thapae Gate, in Chiang Mai city on Facebook on Thursday night.
At the military camp, the military officer who oversees information asked for their personal information, why they gave the salute, their past political activities, and what they want the military to fix. 
The two answered that they gave the anti-coup symbol to give moral support to the five Khon Kaen student activists, detained for giving the same salute to the junta leader on Wednesday, and proposed to the military that martial law should be lifted. They also said that the right to give the salute is guaranteed under the democratic system. 
Col Phoka Jokloi, the interrogator, told them that they should be patient and be open-minded about the junta’s National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO). If they have any problem, they should send a letter to the Damrongtham Centre, under the Interior Ministry. 
The military added that the martial law cannot be revoked since the anti-coup movement continues. 
The colonel added that if the two do not stop their political activity, they will be prosecuted in the military court and that there will be military officers visiting them at home. 
After interrogation at the camp, the two were taken to Chiang Mai Police Station where they were forced to sign the military-drafted agreement. 
The police wrote on the police daily ledger that the two gave the anti-coup symbol because they were impetuous.
International Commission of Jurists
Thailand must end immediately the prosecution of civilians in military tribunals and transfer all remaining cases to the civilian courts, said the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) today.
On 18 November 2014, the Bangkok Military Tribunal convicted a political broadcaster, Khathawut B., of lese majeste under article 112 of the Thai Criminal Code and Article 14 of the Computer Crimes Act, and sentenced him to five years in jail following a plea of guilty. The court barred observers and the public from the proceedings on the ground that they “concerned matters of national security.”
There is no appeal possible under article 61 of the Thai Act for the Organization of the Military Court so long as Thailand remains under Martial Law, which has been in force nationwide since May 22.
“Under international standards, civilians should not be subject to the jurisdiction of military tribunals, particularly where, like in military-ruled Thailand, military tribunals lack the institutional independence from the executive required by international law regarding fair trials. Thus, civilians convicted before such tribunals should have the right to a new trial before a civilian court,” said Wilder Tayler, Secretary General of the ICJ. “This case also highlights another very serious problem with the state of human rights in Thailand: Thailand’s misuse of criminal defamation laws to imprison people exercising their right to freedom of expression.
The National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) extended the jurisdiction of military tribunals over civilians after it took power by a coup d’etat and imposed Martial Law throughout Thailand. Prior to this, civilians had not been subject to military jurisdiction in Thailand for crimes not directly involving the military for decades, including during the state of emergency in place in southern Thailand since 2004.
Among crimes now within the jurisdiction of military tribunals in Thailand is lese majeste - criminalizing the making of statements that could be construed as defaming or insulting the Thai Monarchy. Such broad restrictions violate the right to freedom of expression guaranteed under article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Thailand is a state party.
Since the coup, at least 69 civilians have faced prosecution before military tribunals in Thailand on charges ranging from breaching NCPO orders, to planning a terrorist act and lese majeste.
Under article 14 of the ICCPR, everyone has the right to a “fair and public hearing by a competent, independent and impartial tribunal established by law.” The imposition of Martial Law, and the State’s suspension of some of its obligations under the ICCPR, including the right to appeal guaranteed by article 14(5) for cases heard by military tribunals, does not affect the applicability of this provision.
“All prosecutions of civilians before military tribunals must be transferred to civilian courts immediately, if Thailand is to comply with its international obligations,” said Tayler. “There is absolutely no excuse or justification for the use of military tribunals to prosecute civilians in Thailand, and especially not for simply exercising the right to freedom of expression.”
The Draft Principles Governing the Administration of Justice through Military Tribunals, set out principles that apply to state use of military tribunals.
Principle 5 states “Military courts should, in principle, have no jurisdiction to try civilians. In all circumstances, the State shall ensure that civilians accused of a criminal offence of any nature are tried by civilian courts.”
Further, Principle 2 states “Military tribunals must in all circumstances apply standards and procedures internationally recognized as guarantees of a fair trial.” Military tribunals must in all circumstances respect the principles of international law relating to a fair trial, even in times of crisis.
Prayut Chan-O-Cha warns citizens who use three-finger symbol of resistance against army coup risk jeopardising their futures

Thailand’s military ruler has said he is unfazed by people using a three-fingered protest salute inspired by the blockbuster Hollywood franchise The Hunger Games to express opposition to the country’s junta.

But Prayut Chan-O-Cha warned that those who adopted the gesture in public risked jeopardising their futures.

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Thai military in Northern Chiang Mai Province arrested an activist on Thursday night after she took and shared a photo of her holding a sheet of paper reading “No Martial Law” and “No NCPO.” The military said free expression is allowed only when the second phase of the junta’s reform plan starts in September 2015.

The activist has been released with no charge although she declined to sign a military-drafted document stating that she would not engage in any political activity again. This is the second case where people arrested for showing opposition to the junta’s National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) were coerced and threatened into signing the document, but refused to sign and faced no official consequences, yet. (Read about the first case here)
Siriporn Chayphet and a friend hold a sheet of paper reading “No Martial Law” and “No NCPO”. The sign below reads “Peak of Chiang Dao Mountain, 2,225 metres above sea level.” The spot is for tourists to take photos as souvenirs of their visit. 
At around 7 pm on Thursday, the military stopped the car of Siriporn Chayphet, an activist with the Thai Volunteer Service Foundation, at a checkpoint in Chiang Dao District. The military searched the car, confiscated her national identity card and brought her to Chiang Dao Police Station. 
At the police station, she was asked by the authorities whether she was the person in the picture or not. Siriporn confirmed her identity and told the authorities that she has every right to express her ideas and she only shared the photo among friends.   
“Do you know which situation we are in?  Showing things like this is illegal,” Siriporn quoted the military officers as saying.
According to Siriporn, the military told her that she has the right to express her opinions, but only after the second phase [of the junta’s reform plan], which starts after September 2015. The authorities later asked her to sign an agreement not to publicly criticize the junta again and told her that she might be charged and detained for seven days if she did not sign the paper.
Siriporn, however, was adamant and refused to sign any paper and was released without charge after several hours in detention.
“I have good intentions and I did nothing wrong. I have the right to express my ideas and beliefs,” Siriporn told Prachatai. 
As the military pleaded to her to sign the document, they told her that they had spent two whole days looking for the people in the photos as there was an order to find them. All people on Chiang Dao Mountain were inspected and all cars driving down from the mountain were searched. 
Siriporn said a military officer took pictures of her car on Thursday morning but she was not aware that it would lead to her arrest. 
Siriporn has organized activities with the Dao Din group and is one of the activists who on Thursday signed the petition, ‘Down with martial law…power belongs to all the people’, against the junta and the imposition of martial law together with more than 100 others. 


The Thai diaspora and students in France gathered to wave three-fingered salutes as a symbol of defiance against the military regime at the ‘Hunger Games 3’ premiere and at the Institut d'études politiques (Sciences Po) in Paris. The event was joined by the controversial transgender anti-coup student activist Aum Neko. 
After the Wednesday arrest of five student activists in Khon Kaen who flashed three-fingered salutes in front of Prayut Chan-o-cha, the head of the junta, while he was giving a speech to civil servants and the subsequent arrests of students who followed suit in Bangkok, Thai people in France on Thursday gathered at the ‘Hunger Games 3’ premiere in Paris and raised the symbolic three-fingered salute in front of a cinema.
The activists flash the salute in front of a cinema in Paris. Aum Neko is on the right bottom corner
They also put up banners reading ‘District Thai’ and ‘No to Dictator Prayut’ while later at the student gathering at Sciences Po the students showed banners reading, “Down with martial law, release students” and “Thai students in Paris do not accept the coup”.
In the evening, the group and international students at Sciences Po, a well-known political science institute in Paris, also raised 3-fingered salutes in symbolic protest to condemn the junta’s use of martial law to arrest political dissidents and students.
“This movie reflects many dimensions of current Thai society, especially the main content of the movie which points out that a dictatorial regime will eventually meet its demise, and as long as people are still treated with injustice they will come out and fight against the oppressor,” said Saran Chuchai, aka Aum Neko, who is now in exile in Europe. 
Delattre, a French native who also came to join the campaign, added that the salute signified the French national motto, Liberty, Equality, and Brotherhood, which has had an important meaning in France for the last 200 years. Therefore, the arrest of people who only express these values is very regressive.    
‘Hunger Games 3’ or ‘Mockingjay’ is the last in the Hunger Games movie trilogy, based on the novel of the same title by Suzanne Collins. The movie is about a fictional country called Panem, which is ruled by a suppressive dictatorial regime based on a city called the Capitol while other cities are divided into numbered districts to serve without question the rich Capitol. A 3-fingered salute is used in the story by rebels as a sign of resistance against the Capitol.
The activists held placards in French and English reading "End Martial Law. Free Student activists in Thailand."


John Sifton (Human Rights Watch)
Life in Thailand is growing more absurd by the day. Earlier this week Gen. Prayuth Chan-Ocha, the leader of the junta that seized power in May and later anointed himself prime minister, was beginning a speech in the northeastern province of Khon Kaen when five local university students stood up and stripped down to t-shirts emblazoned with “Don’t Want a Coup” in Thai. They then raised their hands to give the iconic three-fingered salute of Jennifer Lawrence’s heroine in “The Hunger Games” franchise, a symbol of resistance in Thailand since the coup.
“I want to express my opinion and I’m from here,” one said, as security forces surrounded him and the other students. Security forces seized the students and led them away.
The entire episode was captured on video.  A short while after the students were taken off, General Prayuth dropped a chilling challenge with a smile: “Anyone else want to protest?”
It was hardly a laughing matter for the students. Security personal took them to a nearby military base in Khon Kaen to be interrogated by an intelligence unit. There, officers told local rights advocates that the five would be charged with violating martial law and have to sign an agreement not to engage in further political activity. The intelligence officers threatened the students with expulsion from the university and worse.  But the students refused to back down—even at one point singing a Thai version of the “Les Miserables” anthem “Do You Hear the People Sing?” which led one intelligence officer to order soldiers to strip off their anti-coup t-shirts.
The military is expected to charge the five with violating martial law and order school officials to expel them from Khon Kaen University.  
“The Hunger Games” movies take place in a dystopian totalitarian society in the future, divided into districts outside a wealthy capital.  The heroine, Katniss Everdeen, comes from District 12. Last week, outside the latest film’s premier in London, a group of anti-coup protesters held up a sign reading “District Thai.”
When news of the arrests reached Bangkok on Wednesday, several student activists gathered at the city’s Democracy Monument to support the students and were briefly detained. Others assembled at cinemas showing “The Hunger Games” and flashed the three-fingered salute. At least one cinema group with two theaters in Bangkok then announced that it had decided not to show the film “for fear of political implications.” On Thursday, the authorities arrested at least three students outside a cinema where the movie was set to be shown.                                                                    
Such is life in Thailand under martial law. Bangkok’s hustle and bustle remains—tourists, shops, commuters—but protests and political gatherings are illegal. Unauthorized meetings with more than five people are banned, and violators risk trial in military courts where decisions are final and there is no appeal.
Since the coup, which the junta contends was necessary to restore order after months of political protests, dissidents have sought novel ways to protest military rule, including the three-finger salute, eating sandwiches together in “democracy picnics,” or publicly reading George Orwell’s “1984.”
In the wake of the coup, media outlets in Thailand remain tightly restricted. One Thai military official recently told editors: “We don’t limit media freedom but freedom must be within limits.”
It is time for the international community to see Thailand’s leadership for what it is: a military dictatorship set on long-term rule. Of course, Thailand has suffered a number of coups over its modern history.  Some of the coups, during the Cold War, led to authoritarian governments that ruled for years. But more recent military coups in 1991 and 2006 were short-lived “resets,” with elections scheduled relatively soon after. The current military rule, however, appears more of the old school. All evidence suggests the military’s so-called roadmap to democracy, sketched out in mid-2014, is really a roadmap to nowhere—the junta no longer even bothers to pretend that elections will be held next year.
Thailand’s friends and allies need to adopt a tougher line with the junta, and insist on a speedier timeline to democratic civilian rule. In the interim, they should press the junta to lift its restrictions on free speech and assembly.
And someone needs to inform General Prayuth that if his system of government is threatened by young people emulating a Hollywood movie, it is pretty sure sign that things needs to change.
John Sifton is Asia advocacy director at Human Rights Watch. 
BANGKOK, 21 November 2014: International tourist arrivals to Thailand posted a decline of 8.72% during January to October this year according to Ministry of Tourism and Sports’ data. Released Tuesday, the ministry data reported 19,739,600 visits to the country during the first 10 months, down from 21,626,233 over the same period last year. Tourism and […] Read more...