Saturday, 2 July 2016

Immediately release the 7 student activists without charge for campaigning against the junta-sponsored charter draft

Thailand Human Rights Campaign UK (THRC UK) is deeply concerned  the 13 activists arrested for campaigning  to reject constitution in referendum. If convicted they could face up to ten years of imprisonment.


On 23 June 2016, authorities arrested 13 people while they were handing out leaflets urging people to vote “No” campaign for the referendum on the draft constitution. Campaigners wearing "vote no" campaign T-shirts had distributed leaflets about the Aug 7 referendum on the draft charter to people in Keha Bang Phli market in Bang Sao Thong district, Samut Prakan




On 24 June 2016, all the 13 campaigners were brought to the pre-trial remand hearing at the Bangkok Military Court. Seven of the thirteen  activists - students and graduates from Thammasat, Ramkhamhaeng and Kasetsart universities were ordered to be locked up by a military tribunal as they await their trial.


Six were released on bail, but continue to face charges. The remaining seven students refused to post bail and will remain in jail until a July 5 detention renewal hearing.


All of them are charged with violating the junta’s ban on political gathering of five persons and an offence against the Constitution Referendum Act 2016. They are subject to military court jurisdiction and, if found guilty, could face up to 10 years of imprisonment, fine of 200,000 Baht, and also have their right to vote revoked by court according to the Referendum Act.


The 13  activists included


1. Mr. Rangsiman Rome, 24 years, currently detained at the Bangkok Remand Prison
2. Mr. Korakoch Saengyenpan, 23 years, currently detained at the Bangkok Remand Prison
3. Mr. Anan Loket, 21 years, currently detained at the Bangkok Remand Prison
4.Mr. Thirayut Napnaram, 28 years, currently detained at the Bangkok Remand Prison
5.Mr. Yuttana Dasri, 27 years, currently detained at the Bangkok Remand Prison
6.Mr. Somsakol Thongsuksai, 20 years, currently detained at the Bangkok Remand Prison
7. Mr. Nantapong Panmat.24 years, currently detained at the Bangkok Remand Prison
8. Ms. Tueanjai Waengkham, 43 years, on temporary release with conditions imposed by military court
9. Ms. Pimai Ratwongsa, 43 years, on temporary release with conditions imposed by military court
10. Mr. Rackchart Wong-arthichart, 25 years, on temporary release with conditions imposed by military court
11. Ms. Konchanok Tanakhun, 45 years, on temporary release with conditions imposed by military court
12. Mr. Worawut Butmat, 23 years, on temporary release with conditions imposed by military court
13. Ms. Phanthip Saengathit, 22 years, on temporary release with conditions imposed by military court


THRC UK urgently calls on Thai authorities to release the 7 student activists immediately and unconditionally, with all charges against the 13 students and activists to be dropped.


Furthermore, THRC UK calls for Thai military government to respect the people’s freedom of expression and right to information by allowing campaigns, open discussions, and public exchanges about the process and the draft constitution which is the central matter to be decided upon on referendum day.


Additional information:


7 August 2016 is scheduled for the Constitutional referendum by the Thai military government and the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), the junta-ruling body. In the run-up to the referendum, the New Democracy Movement (NDM), a group of student activists and other activists which was formed at the first anniversary of the coup in late June 2015, has started their campaign to encourage people to cast their votes to reject the draft Constitution as they are of the opinions that the draft is undemocratic.


One of 13 activists arrested this time, Mr. Rangsiman Rome, used to be remanded in custody in 2015 and has a trial pending against for violating the Order no. 3/2558 (3/2016) of the Head of the NCPO [ban on political gathering of five persons] and the Penal Code’s Article 116 [sedition-like offence]. On 25 June 2015, the 14 NDM members were arrested and charged as a result of their campaign to demand democracy. By rejecting the second motion for pre-trial remand filed by the police, the Bangkok Military Court ordered their release on 7 July 2015, after their having been remanded in prison for 12 days.

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