Sunday, 6 March 2016

Campaign for the Free Thai Women political prisoners on Internation Women's Day

Statement on International Women’s Day
Today is a very important day for women all over the world. We, the Thailand Human Rights Campaign UK are very pleased to be joining women around the world in celebrating the achievement and lives of women.
Today, on this stage, we make a demand of the Thai military government and a plea to the international community.




We demand that the Thai military government immediately release all women political prisoners currently being held in Thailand. Our plea is that the international community lend their full support to secure this demand.
Thailand has many women activists who have sacrificed their freedom for their political beliefs. And these brave women often sacrifice so much more than their freedom, as prison conditions can have a terrible and lasting impact on their health. Thai prison conditions are notorious for being appalling.
After the military coups of September 2006 and, more recently, May 2014, the military government has prioritized prosecuting critics of the monarchy by using the arcane and draconian lese majeste laws. There is no doubt that these lese majeste laws have been used as a political weapon to stifle free speech and often give prison sentences that are decades long.
Under the current ruling military junta led by dictator General Prayut Chan-ocha the jurisdiction of military tribunals has been extended to cover civilian offenses involving lèse-majesté, national security, sedition, or the violation of any junta order. Cases tried in military courts have no right to appeal, and they are mostly adjudicated behind closed doors.   The number of individuals detained or imprisoned under Article 112 - the lèse-majesté law - has increased significantly.
We want to briefly share the story of one of the women currently imprisoned by military dictatorship. An activist, Porntip Munkong,26, was involved in the production of a play about a fictional monarch entitled "The Wolf Bride”  at Thammasat University in October 2013.
A royalist group complained to  13 police stations that the content of Porntip's play appeared to violate the lese majeste law. On 15 August 2014, immigration police arrested Porntip at Hat Yai International Airport while she was attempting to leave the country.  On 23 February 2015, The Bangkok Criminal Court sentenced Porntip to two and a half years in prison under Article 112 of Thailand’s Criminal Code. Originally she was sentenced to five years in prison but the term was reduced to two years and six months due to confessions. She is currently detained in Central Women Correctional Institution.
We call on the Thai military government to meet our demand and to fully honor International Women’s Day and release all our sisters held in their prisons.
We humbly ask the international community to continue to fully examine all the actions of the Thai junta government and to hold them to account where possible. The people of Thailand need the international community to play a role in pressurising the Thai junta government to respect human and democratic rights.

We’re collecting inspirational quotes to send to Thai women political prisoners. Please join us in our social media campaign to send prisoners support message and let them know that they are not alone.

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