Thursday, 11 February 2021

Four activists imprisoned pending trial under lèse majesté law

Thailand Human Right Campaign UK is deeply concerned about the detention of human right lawyer Annon Nampa, former labor right Somyot Prueksakasemsuk, student activists Parit Chiwarak and pro-democracy activist Patiwat Saraiyaem. We urge the Thai authorities to immediately and unconditionally release the four and drop all charges against pro-democracy activists.

On 9 February2021, the Criminal Court denied bail for the four after they were indicted for violating the kingdom's royal defamation law - the first formal charges laid against the leaders of a movement calling for reforms to the monarchy. The four are currently detained in the Bangkok Remand on Lese Majeste and sedition charges, awaiting trial. The charges were brought by the police and the attorney general’s office for their speech during the rally at Bangkok’s Sanam Luang on September 19 2020. As a result, the four will likely be in jail until they are granted bail after the next application, or till the trial is completed which could take years.

Thailand had briefly stopped using the lese majeste law in 2018 but Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha ordered authorities to invoke it again in November 2020 after protesters began openly criticising the monarchy.

Since then, at least 58 pro-democracy protesters have been charged under Lese Majeste Law to curtail criticism of the monarchy . Thailand’s lese majeste law is one of the harshest in the world and could face between three and 15 years in prison. Sedition carries a sentence of up to 7 years.

Thailand Human Right Campaign UK calls on the government of Thailand to release them and to end the use of draconian laws against pro-democracy activists.

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