Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Rights Lawer Sirikan Charoensiri faces sedition charge for observing the 14 activists protest

On 26 September 2016, Human Rights Lawyer, Ms Sirikan Charoensiri received a new police summon from Samranrat Police Station to report to the station on 27 September 2016 after returning back from the 33rd general meeting of United Nations Human Rights Council Session in Geneva, Switzerland. She  is accused of violating the Head of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) Order No. 3/2015, which bans gatherings of five or more people under Article 116 of the Thai Criminal Code (“sedition”) and will put her on trial in military court.

According to the summon letter, Thai authorities press sedition charge against her is for observing the 14 activists from the New Democracy Movement (NMD) gathering at Victory Monument, Bangkok, on 25 June 2015. The rally was organised by the New Democracy Movement (NDM) activist group for demanding a transition to democratic civilian rule.




Sirikan Charoensiri is a human rights lawyer who works with Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR). She is one of the legal representatives of the 14 student activists from the New Democracy Movement (NDM) who were arrested on 26 June 2015 after staging peaceful protests to mark the first anniversary of the military coup, which took place in May 2014.

On 2 February 2016, human rights defender Ms Sirikan Charoensiri received  two summons to appear at the Chanasongkram Police Station on 9 February 2016 to be charged with two offences under the Criminal Code of Thailand: “giving false information regarding a criminal offence”,carrying a sentence of up to two years and “refusing to comply with the order of an official”.
Background information:

On 27 June 2015, Sirikan Charoensiri had objected to police searching her car without a warrant and accused the police of obstructing her work as a lawyer. At that point she was representing 14 student activists who had been arrested for organizing protests calling for an end to military rule and return of democracy.




On that date, police officers led by Chayapol Chatchaidej locked one of the wheels of her car where it was parked in front of the Bangkok Military Court, sealed its doors and surrounded it with a metal fence. The incident took place after the human rights defender had refused to allow the police to search her car without an official search warrant. As a result, the Police impounded her car, which contained the lawyers’ case files and personal computers, and five phones belonging to the students.

Photo by Prachatai
Officers at Samranrat Police Station refused to accept the human rights defender’s complaint and threatened her with legal action in response.

On 28 June 2015, a senior police officer told the media that they had found “important evidence” in Sirikan Charoensiri’s car and are considering whether to charge her with a crime.

On 29 June 2015, the police visited Sirikan Charoensiri’s family home and asked her parents to identify her in photos and questioned them about her background.

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