Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Stand with Thai Female Political Prisoners on International Women’s Day 2016

On International Women's day 2016, Thailand Human Rights Campaign UK calls on international women to stands in solidarity with Thai women behind bars.

Thailand has many women activists who sacrificed their freedom for their political beliefs. These brave women often sacrifice so much more than their freedom, as prison conditions can have lasting impact on their health.  There are several political prisoners sentenced to jail under lèse majesté. The only way to get released is to admit guilt. We include lese majeste prisoners as political.

Since the 22 May coup, the military government has prioritized prosecuting critics of the monarchy. The lese majeste laws have been used as a political weapon to stifle free speech.

The ruling National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO)—led by junta leader Gen. Prayut Chan-ocha—took power in a coup in May 2014. The NCPO has banned political gatherings of more than five persons. Under the interim constitution and orders issued by the NCPO, the courts were placed under its authority, and the junta extended the jurisdiction of military tribunals to cover civilian offenses involving lèse-majesté, national security, sedition, or the violation of any NCPO order. Cases tried in military courts have no right to appeal, and they are mostly adjudicated behind closed doors.   

Thailand's the military regime, the secrecy surrounding most lèse-majesté cases, it is unclear how many went to trial after the coup.

Thailand Human Rights Camoaing UK ( THRC UK) are calling international community  for the release of women political prisoners.  These women from the different sectors and the different struggles they represent are stripped of their freedom for months and years on end on the basis of trumped up criminal charges or political accusations, curtailing their democratic rights, their freedom of speech and their freedom of movement, as regimes use every repressive measure of the state to try to crush the struggle for national democracy and against imperialism.

THRC UK is launching the Free Her campaign to draw attention to the plight of Thai  women political prisoners.

We are going to share the story of these women in greater detail. We are sending a message to Thai Junta government. If you want to empower women, don’t imprison them on the basis of their views or on the basis of the rights that they are fighting for.

1. Daranee Charnchoengsilpakul aka ‘Da Torpedo’ has been convicted for giving three public speech defaming the King and has been sentenced to 15 years in jail. Her case has been finalized because. She was now serving her penalty.  
Ms. Chancherngsilpakul  is also known as “Da Torpedo”, former journalist at Pimthai Newspapers and Thai Sky Cable TV. Before detention, Ms. Chancherngsilpakul  was a political activist from Democratic Alliance Against Dictatorship (DAAD), former name of United Front of Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD).Da Torpedo was accused of making a public speech at Sanam Luang with words deemed transgressing the Lese Majeste law. The court found 3 guilty counts resulting in a 15-year imprisonment in total.  She has been denied proper medical treatment and has also been physically attacked in prison.

2 Papassanan or ‘Jedang Korat’ was convicted and sentenced to three years for burning a coffin with a message related to the president of the Privy Council of Thailand on it. Her case has been finalized and she has requested for the Royal Pardon.   

3. Porntip or Golf was alleged that she was involved in a play call "The Wolf Bride" of Iskra group which performed in a commemoration day of 14 October 1973 incident. A royalist group sent a complaint to 13 police station accusing that the content of the play seems to violate lese majeste law before the coup. On 15 August 2014, immigration police arrested her at Hat Yai International Airport while she was traveling aboard. She was taken to Bangkok and now detained in Central Women Correctional Institution.

4 Unchan works as a top-level government officer and also has online business. She was arrested by armed military officers at her house and was accused of uploading and publicizing Banpodj's audio clips with lèse majesté content.
The military court did not allow her on bail given that this is a case with severe penalty and the offense was committed under Martial Law. She is now detained at Women Correctional Institution

5 Sasivimol  a 29-year-old hotel worker  with two children in Chiang Mai Province was accused to post 7 messages that deemed to be offenses against Lese majeste on Facebook account with the name "Rungnapha Khamwichai". Sasivimol was summoned by the police to the police station in Muang District, Chiang Mai to signed a court warrant. However, soon as she arrived she charged with Le'se Majeste'.     
On 7 August 2015, Sasivimol plead guilty before the court and was sentenced for 8 years imprisonment each count together 56 years but reduced to 28 years.

6 Chayapa was accused for posting messages on Facebook about a double coup and insulting messages to the King. She was arrested on 19 June 2015 and the request for bail was denied.
Chayapa was charged for 5 counts. She was taken to the military court without advance notification or lawyers. The court sentenced her to 14 years and 60 months and reduced to 7 years and 30 months.

7 Natthida Miwangpa, a volunteer medic during the 2010 military crackdown on the red shirts, Nattatida worked alongside Kamonked Akhad, another volunteer, who was shot dead in Pathum Wanaram temple on 19 May 2010. That made her the key witness of the Army’s shooting of civilians in the temple. On March 11, 2015, five soldiers took her away from her home in Preksaksa district, Samut Prakarn province, near Bangkok. The Thai military junta initially denied any knowledge of Natthida's whereabouts, but handed her over to police six days later.

On March 17, the military handed her over to police at the Metropolitan Police Bureau, which charged her with committing terrorist acts and opposed her bail. Prime Minister Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha stated that Natthida is being investigated for alleged involvement in a grenade attack at the Bangkok Criminal Court on March 7, 2015.

Bannpodj's Network

Hassadin or DJ Banpodj  was arrested under article 112 of the Criminal Code for making a video clip of a political analysis program where part of the content deemed to be Lese Majeste. Apart from Hassadin, at least 9 individuals were arrested for shared the clip on the internet, other 2 were charge for supported the publicized of video clip.
The military court sentenced 8 of them for 10 years and reduced to 5 years in prison. While Saifon and 'Saichon' was sentenced to 6 years and reduced to 3 years in prison as supporters.

9 Saifon , was bank clerk when arrested. She lived with Hasdin for more than ten years.

10 Thiprachaya , 44 when arrested, former employee of the accounting sector at a private company, a graduate from the Faculty of Economics at Ramkhamhaeng University, a master’s degree in Economics at Sukhothai Thammathirat Open University, member of Facebook page “Kwan-Jing Khao-Jai Ngai Mue Khon-pob”

11 Nongnute , cloth retailer at Central Rama 3, member of Facebook page “Kwam-Jing Khao-Jai Ngai Mue Khon-pob”

12 Kornwan , 46 when arrested, private business owner, a high school graduate

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