Monday, 8 February 2016

Drop all the charges, stop harassment and intimidation of human rights lawyer, Sirikan Charoensiri

London, Feb 8, 2016 Thailand Human Rights Campaign UK (THRC UK) is deeply concerned about Thai military government’s targeting of Sirikan Charoensiri who is being intimidated and harassed by the authorities for her human rights work which included defending student activists who were unlawfully charged and harassed for exercising their rights to freedom of expression and freedom of peaceful assembly.

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”.

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 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.

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.

Thailand Human Rights Campaign UK strongly condemns the judicial harassment  against Ms. Sirikan, which is a blatant and calculated attempt to thwart her legitimate work as a human rights lawyer. 

Thailand Human Rights Campaign UK calls on Thai authorities to drop all the charges and immediately end its harassment and intimidation of human rights lawyer Sirikan Charoensiri

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