BANGKOK, 1 September 2014: Tourism Authority of Thailand says India’s high-end tourist market has great potential for Thailand especially hosting weddings. TAT New Delhi Office director, Runjuan Tongrut, told the Association of Thai Travel Agents members at their monthly meeting. last Thursday, that India’s top-end market is growing fast, but local tour operators need to [...] Read more...
CHIANG RAI, 1 September 2014: A week-long exhibition Mysterious Mekong, was opened on a high note at the popular Central Plaza in Chiang Rai Friday evening. Under the guidance of Guy Heidelberger, director of Alliance Francaise and French Honorary Consul in Chiang Rai, the documentary-style “Mekong” exhibition took most of Thursday night to put into [...] Read more...
BANGKOK, 1 September 2014: Centara Hotels & Resorts, has joined the Fin Free Thailand campaign to stop the serving of shark fin dishes. Centara hotels in Pattaya were the first to end the serving of shark fin, with other properties in the group following later this year. There are currently 47 hotels in Centara’s Thailand [...] Read more...
 
The Criminal Court on Monday found a 50-year-old man guilty for uploading audio clips deemed lese majeste on a file-sharing website. Since Chaleaw J., the defendant, pleaded guilty, the sentence was suspended. 
 
The court found him guilty for storing audio clips on 4shared.com, a free file sharing and storage website. 
 
Prachatai will report more details soon. 
 
Chaleaw, a full-time tailor, was a self-taught computer geek who listened to red-shirt online radio programs. As he was busy with his military/police uniform tailoring, he would upload the clips on the website as to save them for later. He insisted that he did not intend to distribut the clips to anyone else. 
 
He said he has attended red-shirt rallies only a few times. 
 
The problematic clips which led him to be in jail was a podcast program by red-shirt hos named Banphot.  
 
Chaleaw was charged with lèse majesté and offences under Computer Crime Act after being detained for seven days by the military. The court has never granted them bail. He was detained at the Bangkok Remand Prison.  
 
They were among 28 people summoned by the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) under order no. 44, issued on June 1. 
 
During military detention, he was interrogated three times and also interrogated using a lie detector, while most of the other detainees were interrogated only once.
 
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The international outcry demanding that charges against activist Andy Hall be dropped are increasing ahead of his trials. Hall faces trials for criminal defamation and charges under the Computer Crimes Act. The defamation trial begins Sept. 2. Thai company Natural Fruit is suing Hall after he went public with his findings after researching the conditions and treatment of migrant workers in Natural Fruit's factory. Representatives of the Finnish and British embassies are expected to attend the trial. Read more...
One hundred days after Thailand’s military launched a coup and toppled the elected government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, the establishment of an interim constitution, a so-called “National Legislative Assembly” (NLA) and its appointment of army chief and Thai junta leader General Prayuth Chan-ocha as prime minister, Thailand now has an interim cabinet. King Bhumibol Adulyadej Read more...
Relatives of those killed during the 2010 political violence were arrested on Sunday morning after they distributed leaflets in downtown Bangkok. Their activity was part of a campaign for justice after the Criminal Court earlier rejected the cases against then Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister as responsible for the killings, saying that the cases do not come under its jurisdiction. 
 
At around 4.30 pm, the three relatives were released after paying fines of 5,000 baht for littering the footpath after the police failed to come up with any serious charge against them. The police also asked them not to hold any activity again. In total, they were detained for six hours at Bang Sue Police Station.
 
 
 
The leaflets
 
Thailand is now ruled under martial law which prohibits assemblies of more than five people. The police nevertheless arrested the three relatives at the scene at about 10.40 while they were distributing a document about the case near Chatuchak Weekend Market, saying that their document may be deemed as defaming the junta leader Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha.
 
Pol Maj-Gen Amnuay Nimmano earlier told media that the police would charge the three for criminal defamation against Prayuth and would consult with the military’s Judge Advocate if a charge of violating martial law should be filed. 
 
However, according to Thai law, the police cannot file a libel suit on behalf of the injured party.  
 
The document distributed by the three relatives
 
The document was a modified version of the case filed against former Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and former Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban for ordering the killings in the 2010 crackdown against the anti-establishment red shirts. The three added the names of Gen Prayuth, Gen Anupong Paochinda and Gen Dapong Rattanasuwan as Defendants Nos. 3-5 and replaced “Criminal Court” with “People’s Court.”
 
The police said since the three generals are not suspects in the case, the document was, therefore, deemed a slander.
 
 
The police detain Pansak Srithep near Chatuchak Weekend Market 
 
 
Phansak’s 17-year-old son Samapan Srithep was shot in the head and killed on 15 May 2010 near Bangkok's landmark Victory Monument. Payao’s 25-year-old daughter Kamolked Akhad was shot dead while she was on duty as a volunteer paramedic, taking care of injured red shirts at Pathum Wanaram Temple, near Siam Square shopping district on 19 May 2010. Nattapat is the younger brother of Kamolked. 
 
In 2010, the three generals held positions in the Centre for the Resolution of Emergency Situation (CRES), a special body assigned to control and suppress the red-shirt demonstrators. 
 
 
The police detain Payao and Nattapat Akhad in the presence of the media near Chatuchak Weekend Market
 
Phansak and Payao have been very active in fighting for justice for the victims of the crackdown and have become political activists. They were very vocal against the blanket amnesty bill proposed by the Pheu Thai Party, whose de facto leader is former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. The bill was aimed at whitewashing all kinds of wrongdoers in political conflicts, including the 2010 crackdown.  
 
Before her arrest, Payao told reporters that the activity was not about the coup, but to create public awareness about the case. She added that the activity should not be deemed a violation of martial law since there were fewer than five people.
 
 
Samapan Srithip was shot dead in the head and killed on 15 May 2010 
 
 
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ISG-Thai

Since the military seized power from the interim government on 22 May 2014 and established the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), the international community is gravely concerned by the severe backlash of human rights and democracy in Thailand.

The International Solidarity Group for Thai Democracy and Human Rights (ISG-Thai) was set up during the International Conference on “Thailand: Human Rights and Democracy in Crisis” in Manila, The Philippines by representatives of various organisations across the region to express their solidarity with Thai people.

While we recognise the important and inseparable relationship between human rights and democracy, we have to emphasise that, in the difficult time for democracy in Thailand, human rights cannot be ignored by anyone in any side.      

The International Solidarity Group for Thai Democracy and Human Rights (ISG-Thai) therefore demands the Thai military to:

  1. Lift the Martial Law and repeal the repressive orders that violate international human rights standards especially civil and political rights of Thai people.
  2. Return to democratically-elected civilian government.
  3. Stop all human rights violations especially on the following issues:
    1. The harassment of human rights defenders, community rights defenders and grassroots activists 
    2. Arbitrary arrest, custody and detention
    3. Freedom of Assembly
    4. Freedom of Expression
    5. Right to Information
    6. Respect of due process and rule of law
    7. Right of migrant workers
  4. Assert civilian authority and control over the military.
  5. End impunity and bring human rights perpetrators to justice.
  6. Repeal all provisions in the interim constitution that violate international human rights standards.

Living under Military Rule: Human Rights Situation in Thailand after the Coup

Since the Martial Law has been enforced in Thailand on 20 May 2014 and the military coup that followed after two days, human rights situation in Thailand has deteriorated rapidly under military rule. From being one of most democratic countries in Southeast Asia, Thailand has now become one of very few countries in the world under military dictatorship.

There are more than 500 individuals who were summoned by junta. [1] 242 individuals were arrested. Many of them have been facing criminal prosecutions including political-related lèse majeste and charges under the computer crime act.

  • The Right to Freedom of Expression

There are 12 individuals who were charged with lese majeste after the coup including the case of P. Apichat, the lawyer who was arrested at peaceful anti-coup protest in front of Bangkok Art and Culture Centre.   

The number of arrests related to lese majeste has also drastically increased after the coup including the case of two young activists who were involved in the play ‘The Wolf Bride’ which was staged by a group of students and artists in October 2013. Both of them were denied bails by the Court.

  • The Right to Freedom of Assembly and Association

Peaceful demonstrations are prohibited, even symbolic ones such as eating sandwiches, reading George Orwell’s 1984 and three fingers salute protests. At least 78 individuals were arrested by participating in peaceful demonstrations. [2] The Metropolitan Office Bureau offers 500 Baht reward for anyone who can capture and send them the pictures of anti-coup activities in Bangkok. [3]

  • Arbitrary Arrests and Detentions

Article 15 of Martial Law states that military authority shall have the power to detain any person for inquiry or other necessities no longer than seven days. [4] Until now, 571 individuals have been summoned or arbitrarily arrested by junta including 141 academics, writers, journalists and activists.

Many of them were detained incommunicado in undisclosed locations including Ms. Sukanya Phrueksakasemsuk, wife of Mr. Somyot Phueksakasemsuk, the editor of a magazine who is now serving 11 years for lese majeste, who has been campaigning for the right of political prisoners, and her son Panitan Phrueksakasemsuk, a student activist. [5]

  • The Situation of Human Rights Defenders

The human rights defenders have been facing more risks and difficulties in their work

especially community rights and land rights activists in rural areas.

In June 2014, The National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) deployed about 120 soldiers in Loei’s Wangsaphung district to intervene in the conflicts between Na Nong Bong villagers and the mining company Tungkum Limited Company (TKL). The soldiers removed all banners speaking out against gold mining. The soldiers warned that if villagers cannot reach an agreement to negotiate with TKL, they would no longer be allowed to display such banners in the village. [6]

The soldiers, joined by police and forestry officials also forcibly evicted more than 1,000 residents in Buriram province and destroyed their houses over the land dispute. [7]

  • Allegations of Torture and Inhumane Treatment

Red shirt activist, Kritsuda Khunasen, alleged that she was tortured by soldiers while she was incommunicado and detained without charge from 27 May to 24 June 2014 in an unidentified military camp. [8]

There are at least 11 allegations of torture and inhumane treatment under military custody, reported by red shirts activists and guards. There could be more cases of torture but victims are not willing to disclose information at the moment because of climate of fear in Thailand.  

The uncertainty of the over-all political situation in Thailand continues as the military refuses to return to democratic rule. The prospect for better human rights protection and defense is not seen for as long as the Thai people will live under military rule.

With the interim constitution framed and used by the military in ruling the country, the prospect for democratic governance is far from being realized with unlimited powers being given to the military to govern the country without transparency, accountability and rule of law.

While the violations of human rights continue with impunity, the Thai people cannot exercise their rights to defend themselves for fear of being summoned, arbitrarily arrested and detained, tortured and disappeared.

 

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