Urgent Action Update: PEACEFUL PROTESTORS MAY FACE 100+ YEARS IN PRISON (Thailand: UA 134.20)

March 24, 2021

Leading pro-democracy activists have been detained, with their bail requests denied, apparently to prevent their involvement in continuing demonstrations. Several members of the group may now face up to 165 years’ imprisonment, under legal provisions on insulting the monarchy (lèse majesté) and sedition. Authorities are targeting them and hundreds of peaceful protesters, including children, with criminal charges solely for peacefully exercising their human rights under laws that have been used to penalize the exercise of the rights to freedom of expression, association, and peaceful assembly.

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  1. Write a letter in your own words or using the sample below as a guide to one or both government officials listed. You can also email, fax, call or Tweet them.
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CONTACT INFORMATION

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-Cha
Office of the Prime Minister
Pitsanulok Road
Bangkok 10300, Thailand
Fax: 66 2 282 5131
Twitter: @prayutofficial
Ambassador Manasvi Srisodapol
Royal Thai Embassy
1024 Wisconsin Ave. NW, Washington DC 20007
Phone: 202 944 3600 I Fax: 202 944 3611
Contact form: https://thaiembdc.org/contact/
Twitter: @ThaiEmbDC
Facebook: @Thaiembdc
Salutation: Dear Ambassador

SAMPLE LETTER

Dear Prime Minister,

I write to express my grave concern that your government is escalating a crackdown on students and other activists in Thailand, with over 400 people, including at least 23 children targeted with charges and criminal proceedings solely for peacefully exercising their human rights, including expressing their opinions on political and constitutional reforms in peaceful protests and social media posts.

It is a travesty that your government is punishing people who have peacefully exercised their human rights and is denying bail to 22 leading members of Ratsadon (the group called ‘The People’), who face charges of violating vaguely worded provisions of laws on sedition and lèse majesté. The refusal of their requests for bail violates the right to presumption of innocence and is against Thailand’s obligations under article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Detaining students including Jatupat ‘Pai’ Boonpattararaksa and student union leaders Panusaya ‘Rung’ Sithijirawattanakul; and Parit ‘Penguin’ Chiwarak, prevents them from preparing for forthcoming university examinations. Members of the group have further reported concerns for their security in detention.

As you will be aware, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention have previously found that your government was arbitrarily holding lèse majesté suspects in lengthy pre-trial detention with bail repeatedly denied. The UN Human Rights Committee and other experts have also recommended Thailand amend or repeal laws that the authorities are using to charge people for the expression of critical and dissenting opinions and participation in peaceful protests, and to end related prosecutions.

I therefore urge you and your government to allow people to fully exercise their human rights including by allowing criticisms of authorities, in line with Thailand’s Constitution and obligations under international human rights law.

Specifically, I call on you to:

• Release immediately and unconditionally all those detained solely for peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly and pending their release, take adequate measures to guarantee their physical security,
• Immediately drop all charges and criminal proceedings against protesters and others charged solely for peacefully exercising their human rights,
• Amend or repeal legislation to ensure it conforms with Thailand’s international human rights obligations including on the rights to freedom of expression, association, and peaceful assembly.

Sincerely,

[YOUR NAME]

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES