BANGKOK, 27 March 2015: Travel association leaders have called on the government to allow officials to attend seminars in neighbouring countries using land transport following the government’s ban on overseas trips to attend seminars and meetings. Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha announced the ban during his weekly televised talk late last month. He reminded officials that […] Read more...
BANGKOK, 27 March 2015: A China India ASEAN Summit will be hosted at 7 to 9 April at the Shangri-La Hotel Bangkok. Organised by ASEAN Affairs Business Council and media company, ASEAN Affairs, pre-event publicity suggests the event will attract 150 business leaders from China, India and the ASEAN region. Overall attendance could reach 300 […] Read more...
PHUKET, 27 March 2015: Kata Group Resorts is sponsoring the Phuket International Cricket Week 2015. The Asian Cricket Sixes Tour (ACST) event is made up of the 12th Annual Phuket International Cricket Sixes Tournament (16 to 19 April) and the 4th Annual Kata International Cricket 7s Tournament (22 to 24 April). A total of 24 […] Read more...
BANGKOK, 27 March 2015: An investigation is underway to determine the cause of a deadly tour bus crash in Phuket earlier this week. The bus driver and company owner have reported to police. TTR Weekly understands a full investigation will focus on the safety of tour buses, qualifications of drivers and tour company responsibility to […] Read more...

The military court postponed a trial of a suspect charged with defying the junta’s report order in 2014 due to the twice absence of a first plaintiff’s witness.  

The military court on Friday morning postponed the plaintiff’s witness examination in the case where Sirapop (surname withheld due to privacy concerns), was charged with defying the junta’s National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) announcement No. 41/2014 for not reporting to the coup-maker in May 2014.

According to the judge, the witness examination had to be rescheduled because Col Burin Thongprapai, the officer of the Military Staff Judge Advocate Office who is the first plaintiff’s witness on the case, did not show up.

This is the second time that the plaintiff’s examination on the case was postponed due to Burin’s absence. It was rescheduled to 6 July.

Burin is the one of the key military personnel who involves in arresting and charging suspects of offences under Article 112 of the Criminal Code, nicknamed lese majeste law, and other political dissidents after the 2014 coup d’état.   

Sirapop was arrested on 25 June 2014 in northeastern Kalasin Province, while he was fleeing to a neighboring country, and remained under custody in Bangkok Remand Prison since.

He has never submitted the bail request to the court and vowed the fight the case to the end.

In the courtroom on Friday, Sirapop told Prachatai “I didn’t comply with the coup-maker’s summon order because to me the coup d’état was illegitimate.”

“I only exercised my rights under the 2007 Constitution which I respect to peacefully resist against the illegitimate military government,” added the defendant.

In addition, Sirapop was indicted with offences under Article 112 of the Criminal Code and Article 14 of the Computer Crime Act (importing illegal content into a computer system) for composing and posting lese majeste poems on his personal blog and Facebook under the pen name ‘Rung Sila.’

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Another week in Thailand, and with it another spell of fatal traffic accidents: Three Chinese tourists died after a bus plunged down a hill in Phuket on March 25, and seven migrant workers from Burma (Myanmar) were killed the day before when the truck carrying them was hit by a train in Chiang Mai. These Read more...
The much-anticipated Bangkok International Book Fair has returned at the Queen Sirikit National Convention Center (March 26-April 6). Held annually by The Publishers and Booksellers Association of Thailand (PUBAT), the big, jam-packed book week has also been setting new attendance records in the past few years. But is its success a reflection or an illusion of Thai reading culture? Read more...
FORUM-ASIA

(Bangkok, 25 March 2015) – The Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA) is deeply concerned by the Draft Public Assembly Act (Draft Act) regulating public gatherings, including demonstrations that require prior notification. The Draft Act, which was proposed on 26 February 2015, is expected to be passed by the military junta-appointed National Legislative Assembly and enter into force this month.

The Draft Act declares that the organisation of any public assembly in the area or perimeter within 50 meters from Parliament, Government House or a Court could be prohibited under police discretion. Any public assembly from 10 pm to 6 am requires permission from the authorities and anyone who wants to organise a public assembly that may affect the maintenance of national security, public safety, public order, public morals, public health or the convenience of people when using public property or the protection of the rights and liberties of other people – is obliged to inform the authorised body via a written application at least 24 hours in advance.

FORUM-ASIA is alarmed at the junta’s efforts to pass the Draft Act without public scrutiny nor transparent parliamentary process, which will further add to the deterioration of fundamental freedoms in Thailand.

Article 11 of the Draft Act will give the authorities full power to prohibit public assemblies and on extremely vague and arbitrary ground. As a consequence, the Draft Act could be used by the regime as a basis to infringe the right to freedom of peaceful assembly. Article 14 of the Draft Act states that a public assembly which takes place without submitting an application for prior approval or a public assembly banned by the authorised body is regarded as an unlawful assembly and risks criminal liability. In this regard, FORUM-ASIA reiterates that the right to peaceful assembly – to public gatherings and peaceful protests, is at the heart of an active civil society and that the state has obligation to facilitate, not infringe or criminalise the realisation of this basic right of the people.

In addition to criminal liability for failing to obtain prior authorisation for public assemblies, organisers face a draconcian prison sentence of upto 10 years and a hefty fine of upto 200,000 THB under Section 5 of the draft Act if they organise a demonstration that results in severe damage to the public transportation system, telecommunications, or pubilc and economic infrastructure or if they fail to comply in any other way with instructions issued by the authorised body. Of equal concern is Article 26, which gives carte blanche to the authorities to act with unfettered discretion by indicating that any action taken under the Draft Act shall not be subject to the regular Law on Administrative Procedures.

According to the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, the organiser of a demonstration should not bear any responsibility for the unlawful behaviour of others. There is concern that these provisions in the Draft Act would be in violation of accepted international human rights standards with respect to assembly and association, necessitating greater scrutiny. 

Civil and political rights have been severely restricted under the military-ruled government, with the right to freedom of assembly in particular restricted under imposition of Martial Law. It is impossible in the current political context that people will be able to voice their concerns regarding the Draft Act.

FORUM-ASIA therefore calls on the Thai government to:

• Provide a platform for public participation to discuss the law before it be approved in The National Legislative Assembly;

• Ensure adequate consultation with civil society groups;

• Amend provisions which are not in compliance

Source

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In a bid to stop the political activities of student activists, the military officers intimidates 17 student activists by paying visits to their places, dorms, and parent’s places.

The Thai Student Center for Democracy (TSCD), a student activist group, on Wednesday revealed on the group facebook page that since 19 March, 17 student activists were intimidated by military officers, who came to visit their houses.

“The military and police officers both in uniforms and plainclothes raided, carried out searches, and talked to the students’ parents and student activists, who have records of political movement since the 2014 coup d’état in an attempt to adjust their attitudes,” wrote the TSCD on facebook.

At 1.30pm on Wednesday three police officers from the Special Branch Royal Thai Police (SBP), a police unit responsible for national security intelligence, visited parents of Natchacha Kongudom, a prominent TSCD student activist from Bangkok University, in the northeastern province of Nong Khai.

On the same day, several military officers visited parents of Rangsiman Rome, another prominent student activist from the League of Liberal Thammasat for Democracy (LLTD), another activist group based on Thammasat University.

Both Natchacha and Rangsiman participated in the protest in front of Bangkok’s military court on 16 March to support the four embattled anti-junta activists from the Resistant Citizen, an anti-junta activist group, who were charged with defying the junta’s National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) Order No. 7/2014 for holding a political gathering of more than five people on 14 February.             

In addition, on Wednesday Seri Kasetsart, a student activist group based in Kasetsart University in Bangkok, revealed on the group’s facebook page that on Wednesday evening security officers in plainclothes visited the house of Athiwich Pattamapornsirigun, a leading member of the group.

Athiwich was not at his house during the officers’ visit. However, the officers talked to his family members and told them to send him a message that he should not engage in any political activity.

Seri Kasetsart is the student group which actively campaigns against the privatisation of public universities, such as the privatisation of Kasetsart University and Thammasat University.

After the incident, the group urged the junta to refrain from any dictatorial action.

Seri Kasetsart is one of the student groups that rallied in front of the National Parliament against the university privatisation on Thursday morning.  

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BANGKOK, 26 March 2015: Airports of Thailand reports its February data showing increases in both aircraft movements and passengers at six airports under its management. AoT released its latest data, Tuesday, showing a 25.84% improvement at its managed airports. The six airports handled 9,180,195 passengers up from 7,295,372. The overall airports’ aircraft movements also increased […] Read more...

The police on Wednesday morning arrested one of the four embattled anti-junta activists from Resistant Citizen, a pro-democracy activist group, and planned to have him in jail tonight.

At around 00.30am on Thursday, the police arrested Pansak Srithep, a pro-democracy activist and father of a boy killed by the military during the 2010 political violence, from his house in the north of Bangkok before bringing him to the Chanasongkram Police Station for interrogation.

On Thursday morning, the police brought Pansak to Bangkok’s military court and submitted the custody request for him. The police said that they will object the activist’s bail request.

The military court issued the arrest warrant for Pansk on 17 March.

Pansak Srithep in police custody on 26 March 2015 

According to Anon Numpa, a volunteered human rights lawyer for Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR), and fellow Resistant Citizen activist, in his capacity as Pansak’s attorney, the police charged Pansak with violation of the junta’s National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO)’s Order No.7/2014, which prohibits a political gathering with more than five persons, offenses under Article 14 of the Computer Crime Code for importing illegal computer contents, and article 116 for Criminal Code for instigating rebellion.

Anon added that the police barred him from talking the activist while they were writing the report regarding Pansak’s arrest. However, Anon was allowed to see pansak after he raised the issue to the police.

Prior to his arrest, Pansak planned to walked from his residence to Bangkok’s military court from 26-27 March for interrogation.    

Earlier on 14-16 March, Pansak led a three-days march titled ‘I Walk Therefore I Am’ from his home to Pathumwan Police Station in central Bangkok. Organised by Resistant Citizen, an anti-junta activist group, the march was to campaign against the use of military courts to try civilians.

In early February, Pansak and three other activists, Sirawit Serithiwat, a student activist from Thammasat University, Anon, and Wannakiet Chusuwan, a pro-democracy activist and taxi driver were charged with defying the junta’s National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) Order No. 7/2014 for holding a political gathering of more than five people on 14 February. If found guilty the four could be jailed for one year and fined up to 20,000 baht.

The military Judge Advocate General’s Office will announce if the four will be indicted on charges related to 14 February activity on 27 March.

 

Read related news:

Military court releases 4 anti-junta activists

   

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THE allegations against the four men are severe: they are accused of being in connection to an alleged ”terrorism network” plotting to launch bomb attacks in Bangkok. A blast on March 7 at the Criminal Court (where no one was injured) is being pinned on them. They were held in military barracks for almost a week without charges, in accordance with martial law that is still in force since the military coup almost a year ago. Read more...