# Monthly Report on public assembly and harassment related to public assembly and expression October 2022
# Overview Situation of Public Assembly
On 1 October 2022, the Emergency Decree was repealed and replaced by the Public Assembly Act to regulate public assembly. Nevertheless, there have been no new prosecutions related to public assembly. But several cases concerning public assemblies since 2020 have reached the trial and rulings have been made on a few of them. October saw at least 55 public assemblies and acts of expression across the country, 10 more than in September.
Most assemblies were related to the activities to demand the right to bail of political prisoners, at least 32 of them including 31 Stand Stop Imprisonment activities, 20 of which by the Resistant Citizen in front of the Bangkok Supreme Court and two by Independent Pro-Democracy Groups to demand the release of political prisoners at the Supreme Court and the Bangkok Remand Prison. Apart from the protests in Bangkok, the weekly protest by the Stand Stop Tyranny was conducted at Tha Phae Gate in Chiang Mai, five times altogether, the Stand Stop Imprisonment in Ayutthaya, four times. In addition, Thalufah organized the “Free Our Friends” activity to submit to the US and German Embassies a report of the state of the weaponization of law against the people and to demand the restoration of the right to bail for political prisoners. A birthday party was held to mark the 32nd anniversary of Pornchai “Sam” Yuanyee, a suspect of Section 112 who has still been remanded in custody.
October also saw at least 13 activities to mark political anniversaries, the most important of which was on 6 October 2022 to mark the 46th anniversary of 6 October 1976 massacre at Thammasat University. It has inspired people to organize at least ten commemorations countrywide to mark the event. Most of them were held in universities and by students. Five were held in Bangkok including the 46th anniversary of 6 October to search for (in)justice organized by student network at Thammasat University’s Tha Phra Chan Campus, the 6 October and the hope of the words blown in the wind at the lawn in front of the Bangkok Provincial Hall organized by the Free Arts and its network. There was some altercation between the organizers and some participants including political activists as the latter tried to hold up a banner which read “Cleanse Sinful Legacy of 6 October, Repeal Section 112” as the MC declared on the stage that they would stop playing music if the activists refused to put down the banner and vacate the area. The organizers have, however, issued an apology for the incidence later. A candle vigil and wreath laying was organized to commemorate senior students of Chulalongkorn University who were killed during the event. The Grieving Kaset to proliferate ideology of the 46th anniversary of 6 October was organized by the Kasetsat University Student Club in Bang Khen. The 46th year anniversary of 6 October 1976 was held with a candle vigil and reading of articles in commemoration of the heroes from 6 October at the Navamindradhiraj University.
At least five commemorations were held including the Weaving the Passion from Older to Younger Generations at the Mahidol Learning Center, Mahidol University, Nakhon Pathom, public discussion “Experience, Memories and Impunity” the commemoration of the 46th anniversary of years 6 Oct at Chiang Mai University, the October Commemoration #OctoberOverAgain at Naresuan University, 6Oct2519, Reviewing the steps in the past in Ubon University at the Ubonratchathani University and the 46th anniversary of 6 Oct at Prince of Songkla University, Hat Yai Campus.
Apart from the commemoration of the massacre at Thammasat University, on 31 October 2022, the Mok Luang Rim Nam organized an exhibition to commemorate persons disappeared for political reasons, the “Dead or Breathe” in front of the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre (BACC). Participants were clad in Halloween costume and performed some symbolic actions on the issue. On the same day, the Red Shirt (UDD) organized a candle vigil on the 16th anniversary of Nuamthong Praiwan, a taxi driver who drove his cab to collide with a military tank to show his opposition to the military coup. He later killed himself on 31 October 2006 by hanging at a flyover in front of the office of Thairath newspaper to rebuke the challenge made by the Deputy Spokesperson of the coup makers who had told the press that no one had strong enough conviction in one’s ideology until they sacrifice their life. This has prompted people to organize a ceremony in remembrance of him on the day every year since then. It featured speeches and music performance in the evening by the 24 June for Democracy as well.
25 October 2022 marked the 18th anniversary of the crack down on the protest in Narathiwat’s Tak Bai District on 25 October 2004. The students of Chulalongkorn University organized an activity “Commemoration of the 18th anniversary of Tak Bai, the memory the state forsakes” including public discussions and exhibition related to the crackdown of the protest in Tak Bai.
The second most popular issue is a call for the Prime Minister to resign. At least five assemblies were held including the one led by Thalufah and its alliance, “Enough is Enough, 8 years of Prayut” at the Victory Monument. It included speeches made on the issues of elections and the criticism of the government’s performance. Bor Kor Laijud organized at least two Flash Mobs to show their opposition to having Gen Prayut Chan-ocha as the PM and against the administration. In the first one, the participants planned to be clad in black on Sunday at the Scala Theatre and to clad in black while riding on the BTS. He revealed that he planned to have this activity every Sunday. The Red Shirt Mobilized Against Dictators #WeDoNotWantBanditGovernment was a political assembly organized following the ruling of the Constitutional Court to allow Prayut to continue his premiership and the TooContinuesWeOustHim was organized at the Democracy Monument. In addition, activists in Khon Kaen and Ubonratchathani held up banner #OustingPrayut #IllegalPM during the visit of Gen Prayut Chan-ocha to monitor the flood situation. Some participants got injured during the scuffle with the police.
At least two activities were held on labour issue. The Union of Workers organized the “World Day for Decent Work” in front of the United Nations headquarters with speeches made to reflect the problems from various labour sectors and to declare their five resolutions to demand the rights and good welfare of workers. The Hanil Forging (Thailand) Labour Union organized a small-scale demonstration to demand the enhancement of welfare of employees. But as the representatives of the Employee Committee who met with the employers could not reach an agreement, they had to reschedule their activity.
As to the issue of land, at least one public assembly was held by the Four Regions Slum Network (FRSN) and the People's Movement for Just Society (P-Move) to walk on the “World Habitat Day” to urge the government to ensure their access to land for housing of the people. They marched from the City Hall Plaza to the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security, the Ministry of Transportation, and the Government House.
On other issues his month, a letter of petition was submitted by Resistant Citizen to the President of Ombudsman to consider filing the case with the Administrative Court regarding the Notification of the Office of the Prime Minister on the ban of alcohol sale on certain days. And the activists subject to harassment have complained with the Office of National Human Rights Commission demanding the stoppage of such harassment.
In addition, the Centre of the People for the Protection of Monarchy, the Center of Legal Assistance for Victims of Cyberbullying (BULLY) and the Black Warriors have gone to demand to know the progress of an inquiry into the Student Council of Chulalongkorn University which was accused by them of offending the monarchy and they had previously filed a complaint against the student organization.
# Update on legal cases as of October 2022
There have not been many prosecutions in October, although many cases stemming from the protests in 2020 have constantly been indicted and rulings have been delivered on a few of them. Nevertheless, even though the Emergency Decree has been lifted, the public prosecutor continues to prosecute such cases and the Court has ruled on some of them, both dismissing them and convicting the defendants. As to the cases against the Penal Code’s Section 112, although only two new indictments were made, but the tendency of the verdict warrants a close monitoring including rulings on cases against juveniles.
Since the Free Youth led public assemblies on 18 July 2020 until 31 October 2022, at least 1,864 individuals have been charged for participating in public assemblies or expressing their political opinions in 1,145 cases. Of this, 283 are youth under 18 years of age in 210 cases. Compared with September 2022, four more individuals have been charged in six new cases (counting only those who have never been charged before.) Altogether, there have been at least 3,710 legal actions against the individuals although some of them are charged for multiple offences.
Detail of key offences can be described as follows;
1. “Lese majeste” offence pursuant to the Penal Code’s Section112, at least 217 suspects in 236 cases
At least, two more cases were initiated for this offence against three individuals who have been remanded in custody including Sombat Thongyoi, Pornchai Yuanyee and Micky Bang from Thalufah. The newly charged individuals were accused of setting fire on the arch in honor of the King and traffic box in front of the Ratwinit Secondary School while participating in the public assembly to mark the 15th anniversary of the military coup on 19 September 2021.
This month saw rulings made in at least four cases concerning Section 112, three of which were judgments of acquittal including the cases against Suriyasak Chatpithakkul, former core member of the UDD. The case against him was initiated since when the NCPO was in power. He was a suspect on terrorism charge following his participation in the protests in 2010 together with eight other individuals, although the public prosecutor decided to not prosecute the case. Suriyasak was the only suspect who was rearrested and charged on an offence against Section 112. Weree (pseudonym) was accused of reposting an image from twitter concerning how the police chose to protect the King, not the people, in his personal Facebook account. He also posted a cartoon mocking the police in comment and shared a Facebook post criticizing Prayut for censoring R.A.D song. Pipat (last name withheld) was accused of posting photos of King Rama X and Prince Dipangkorn Rasmijoti with a caption of two sentences in the Royalist Marketplace Facebook Group. Three cases were dismissed given the incredibility of the prosecution evidence and its inconsistency for the benefit of the doubt. As to the case of conviction, it was against Pakpinya (last name withheld) for allegedly sharing six posts offensive to the King. Narathiwat Provincial Court convicted her on three counts and sentenced her to three years for each count, altogether nine 9 years without suspension. The court cited how it could be established that the defendant was the owner of the Facebook account and internationally posted messages to defame and threaten King Rama X. The court later granted bail pending the appeal. At present, it appears the courts tend to sentence the defendant to three years per count, the minimum punishment under Section 112.
In addition, witness examination was conducted the case against a youth defendant, Pecth Thanakon, for making a speech at the "Nonthaburi Folk Against Dictatorship" public assembly at the Nonthaburi pier on 10 September 2020. As all witness examination has been completed, the court is scheduled to deliver verdict on 22 November 2022. The Section 112 case against Petch will be the first of such case against a minor to reach a verdict. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) to which Thailand is a state party protects individuals who exercise their right to freedom of expression under Article 19 and the right to freedom of peaceful assembly under Article 21. In addition, the UN Human Rights Committee has raised concern about lese majeste laws around the world by stating that all public figures, including those exercising the highest political authority such as heads of state and government, are legitimately subject to criticism and political opposition. Criticisms of public institutions should not be prohibited. Even though certain accusations on lese majeste may be perceived of involving an act of defamation, but the Committee holds that “imprisonment shall never be an appropriate sanction in all such cases.”
2. Sedition pursuant to the Penal Code’s Section116, at least 127 suspects in 39 cases
Katunyu Muenkhamrueng was indicted on the offence against the Penal Code’s Section 116 and the Computer Crime Act’s Section 14 (3) for posting information in the “Thalufah” Facebook Page on 10 and 12 August 2021 to invite people to participate in the #Mob11Aug “Toppling the Tyrants” and #Mob13Aug “Friday the 13th, Hunting the Tyrants” at the Victory Monument. He was allowed to post bail for 25,000 baht. The case was reported to the police by members of the Center of Legal Assistance for Victims of Cyberbullying (BULLY). A ruling was also made in the case against Tiwagorn Withiton for posting a Facebook message inviting people to sign the Change.org petition to demand a referendum whether to keep or abolish the monarchy. The caption in the banner of the campaign reads “We dreamed of a republic/federation without the King”. The Lampang Provincial Court convicted him on Section 116 and sentenced him to three years with suspension given his no prior sentencing.
3. An offence against the Emergency Decree, at least 1,469 suspects in 662 cases (since May 2020) One month after the Emergency Decree had been lifted since 30 September 2022, the Public Assembly Act has been reinstated to regulate public assemblies. There have been no reports of new legal cases concerning public assemblies, although the indictments on the Emergency Decree from public assemblies in 2021 continued in at least two cases including the case against four activists for organizing and participating in #CarMob15Aug Kabuan Ki 3 from Silom 2 to Lat Prao Intersection on 15 August 2021 and other four activists and individuals for gathering in front of the Bangkok Remand Prison on 13 October 2021. The court allowed them to post bail for 35,000 baht each with a condition that they shall refrain from repeating the offences.
At least nine cases concerning the Emergency Decree have seen the verdicts. At least six of them were dismissals of cases against members of the “Asking for, Not begging” for their overnight sit-in to wait to meet Gen Prayut Chan-ocha near the Government House in front of the Kromluang Chumporn Khet Udomsak Shrine on Rama V Rd. They demanded that the Prime Minister help to reform social security law. Witchaphat Srikasiphan, member of We volunteer who was indicted for an assembly against military coup led by Min Aung Hlaing in front of the Myanmar Embassy in Thailand on 1 February 2021, was acquitted in the offence against the Emergency Decree, but was convicted on the less severe Communicable Diseases Act. It was cited that Witchaphat failed to act in compliance with the orders of the disease control officials and was fined for 10,000 baht. Since he had been remanded for one night, the fine was reduced to 9,500 baht. Other cases which were dismissed included cases against Aphisit Sapnaphaphan for participating in the #21OctGoToVictoryMonument, Chiratat Moonsiri and Prawit Assawasirimankhong for the Car Mob Mae Sot on 1 August 2021, seven students and activists for public assembly in front of the Muang Khon Kaen Police Station to show solidary to the activists of “Ratsadon Khong-Loei-Chi-Mun” who answered the charges in three cases concerning their public assembly and political expression on 22 March 2021 and the case against Sand, highschool student for participating in the “Ratsadon” public assembly on 1 February 2021 to demand an apology from their teachers and the police for harassing students who signed their names to participate in the “Ratsadon On Tour” camp. She was charged when she was only 15 years old. Most of the cases against the Emergency Decree were dismissed citing that the public assemblies were held in an open and uncrowded space.
At least three convictions were made in the cases against the Emergency Decree. In one case, only a fine was imposed including the case against five activists in the Mob Moong Ming for their speeches made in front of the Army Headquarters on 20 July 2563 in which they were each fined for 20,000 baht and another fine of 200 baht each for unauthorized use of sound system. As evidence of the defendants was found useful, the fine was reduced by one fourth to 15,150 baht each. In two cases, both imprisonment and fine were imposed including the case against Witsarat for allegedly using megaphone which appeared to institute the participants to hurl rocks at the police during the #Mob7Aug64 at the Victory Monument. He was sentenced to one year of imprisonment and a fine of 15,000 baht and they were reduced by one third to eight months and a fine of 10,000 baht. Given his no prior punishment, the imprisonment was suspended pending his probation for two years. In the case against Anurak Kaekhai and Thongsaeng Chaikaew for participating in the Car Mob of Free Uttaradit to oust Gen Prayut Chan-ocha on 15 August 2021, the court found him guilty as charged and sentenced him to two months without suspension. Both were allowed to post bail pending their appeal for 30,000 baht each. It was the first case against the Emergency Decree in which the trial court sentenced the defendants to unsuspended jail term.
In addition, the public prosecutors decided to issue non-prosecution orders in at least two cases against Chirachot Phumsitphong for allegedly organizing the Car Mob “Chiang Rai Folk Bearing It No More” at Suan Tung in Chiang Rai on 1 August 2021 given the unlikeliness to spread Covid-19 and the expiry of statute of limitation on honking charges. Another decision was made to not prosecute 13 activists-individuals for allegedly participating in the “Friday 13th, Hunting Tyrants” or #Mob13Aug64 organized by Thalufah at the Victory Monument as the public prosecutor cited a lack of evidence to establish that the 13 individuals were the organizers and they just spoke on the stage without appearing to instigate violence and the activity was held in an open space.
Even though the Emergency Decree has been lifted, there are still ongoing cases related to the law under investigation. The public prosecutors and the courts can invoke Section 21 of the Public Prosecution Organ and Public Prosecutors Act 2010 which states that if a public prosecutor finds that a criminal prosecution will be of no use to the general public, will affect the national safety or security, or will impair significant interest of the State, the Attorney General may then render an order of non-prosecution. This shall apply mutatis mutandis when a public prosecutor finds that a petition, appeal or final appeal ought not to be filed or a complaint, petition, appeal or final appeal ought to be withdrawn.
Until now, the Emergency Decree has been invoked to criminalize those who exercise their right to freedom of assembly, particularly people who criticize the government’s performance even though such right is protected under Article 21 of the ICCPR and freedom of assembly and information under Article 19 of the ICCPR, freedom of movement under Article 12 of the ICCPR and the right to take part in the conduct of public affairs under Article 25 of the ICCPR. Nevertheless, such prosecutions are considered unnecessary and disproportionate.
The public prosecutors have decided to not prosecute several cases and the courts have dismissed several cases due to insufficient evidence to prove such political activity criminalized by the Emergency Decree has led the spread of Covid-19.
In addition, according to ICCPR’s Article 4, a state party may take measures derogating from their obligations under the ICCPR to the extent strictly required by the exigencies of the situation. Thailand has informed the Secretary-General of the United Nations of such derogation which became effective since 26 March 2020 until 30 June 2020. 2563, although no further effort was since made to inform the Secretary-General of the extension of the State of Emergency. Therefore, it can be construed that Thailand has not properly exercised its right of derogation in compliance with tis obligation under ICCPR from 30 June 2020 onward.
4. An offence against the Public Assembly Act, at least 107 suspects in 75 cases
5. An offence against the Computer Crimes Act, at least 154 suspects in 174 cases
This month saw at least two rulings made on cases concerning the Computer Crime Act including the case against 11 individuals for allegedly sharing posts from “KonthaiUk” Facebook Page to criticize the government and the Prime Minister without further caption. All of them were indicted for sharing different messages, three by each of them, and the court sentenced them to one year of imprisonment, which was reduced to eight months without suspension. They were allowed to post bail for 50,000 baht each pending the appeal. Eight others were acquitted as the court found they intended just to mock the government. Wiwat (last name withheld) was indicted for inputting data and disseminating three Facebook posts about Gen Prayut Chan-ocha and Gen Prawit Wongsuwan on 15 July, 20 August and 21 August 2020. The Supreme Court fined them 3,000 baht each count, altogether 9,000 baht. It was reduced to a half to 4,500 baht and the 18 months of imprisonment with two years of suspension. The main issues found culpable in the verdict were the dissemination or sharing of computer data which was false in a manner which is likely to cause damage to the protection of national security, or to cause panic to the general public under the Computer Crime Act’s Section 14(2).
The courts tend to invoke the provision to punish individuals indicted for the Computer Crime Act since it can be subject to open interpretation and it has often been used to criminalize those who exercise their right to freedom of expression online even though the offences are mostly concerned with content damage rather than systemic damage. This is a misuse of the law, and it could be said that the law has been weaponized by the state to restrict the right to freedom of expression of the people in breach of the right to freedom of expression and information under Article 19 of the ICCPR to which Thailand is a state party.
6. A contempt of court, at least 36 suspects in 20 cases, and insult of the court, at least 27 suspects in 7 cases
Ngernta Khamsaen and Jiratchaya Sakulthong were indicted for contempt of court for allegedly making a speech to criticize the performance of the court during the activities to demand the right to bail for Bung-Bai Por in front of the South Bangkok Civil Court on 15 July 2022. Both have been allowed to post bail.
Of 1,145 cases, 268 have reached their final verdicts, many of which were petty offences settled by paying fine to the police or the court. The public prosecutor also decided to not prosecute 35 cases while 877 cases are still under investigation.
Individuals remanded in custody
In October, none has been provisionally released. Yet, Micky Bang was the latest person remanded in custody. He was accused of setting fire on the arch in honor of the King on 19 September 2021 and an offence against Section 112. As of this month, 11 individuals are still remanded in custody
It should be noted that that the right to bail is a fundamental right based on the principle of presumption of innocence. It is enshrined in international law, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)’s Article 11 (1) which states that everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence, and the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)’s Article 14(2) which states that everyone charged with a criminal offence shall have the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law. Thailand has acceded to ICCPR since 29 October 1996, and it came into force for us since 30 January 1997.
The state of harassment against the public
October saw at least 38 harassments against the public, an increase from last month. Many of such cases involved the use of violence by the police causing physical injuries and affecting security of the activists. In addition, it has been revealed that several individuals continue to be the receiving ends of harassment due to various reasons. They can be divided according to the types of harassment as follows;
Harassment due to the visit of VIP persons
- Members of the royal family
King Rama X and the Queen Consort were scheduled to visit the Central Mosque of Pattani, Muang District, Pattani on 9 October 2022. As a result, at least ten local activists in the South were visited at home by the police and military to monitor their movement before and after the royal visit. This happened even though several activists had no idea about the forthcoming visits. The officials would visit them at home. Some activists had to face the visit of more than ten officials armed with weapon at a time. This caused them panic. Nut, an activist from Thalu Pedan said that on 23 October 2022, he was followed by plainclothes officials from the mouth of the lane where he lived to the Lan Khon Muang since on that day, there was going to be a royal motorcade of King Rama X and the Queen Consort on the day to commemorate the death of King Rama V.
- Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister
4 October was the day Gen Prayut Chan-ocha was supposed to visit to monitor the flood situation in Khon Kaen and Ubonratchathani. Prior to that, several Ubonratchathani activists were reportedly visited at home or were followed by the police who kept calling in to check if they were engaged in any activity or to check in where they were on that day. The Ubonratchathani police also reportedly set up various checkpoints. People who intended to take action to show their opposition to the PM were intercepted at the Ubonratchathani-Warin Intersection. They even threatened that anyone who showed any symbol or shouted anything would be instantly put under arrest. Meanwhile, the police tried to inquire and search more then ten individuals and have seized banners with writing critical of Gen Prayut and even blank paper from an activist’s bag. The activist, Off, revealed that he shouted to ask a question to Gen Prayut while riding on a passing vehicle that “Why did you come to cause people big trouble?”. Then, two police officials held up his arms to prevent him from flashing the three fingers and gave him a chokehold. They put their hands on his mouth and nose to prevent him from uttering further and pushed him to the floor. In addition, Tar (pseudonym) was pinned down by two police officials while he was trying to flash three fingers and shouted at Prayut. Nutthawut was threatened by the police while he was livestreaming. They threatened to hold him accountable for an offence against PDPA law as he took photo of the incidences. In addition, the police threatened to use force to hold him in custody if he did not stop livestreaming and delete the clips. As he felt insecure, he agreed to delete the clips. Nevertheless, even for other activists who were no active on that day, four of them received calls from police and were visited by the officials at home. They have gone to follow the activists at their dormitory. Members of the public were told to not wear red on that day, too.
On the same day, about 20 activists from various groups in Khon Kaen have hailed banners which read “Illegitimate PM”, “Prayut, Out!”, “Stop Khong-Loei-Chi-Mun Water Diversion Project” in a lane by Wat Sri Sa-ad while dozens of police officials and several mini-vans formed a cordon to guard the entrance to the temple. Even after Gen Prayut had left, the police still prevented the activists from leaving and even took close up photo of them using small cameras and refused to delete the photos. A scuffle ensured as uniform police trued to abduct Chanon “Atom” Artnarong while his activist friends tried to hold him back. Meanwhile, plainclothes officials have given a chokehold and punched in the face of Panupong “Night” Srithananuwat, before running away to behind the uniform police cordon. Both have reported the case on physical assault with the Ban Ped Police Station.
On 12 October 2022 when Gen Prawit Wongsuwan has gone to monitor flood situation in Si Sa Ket, the police forced a car mechanic and security guard of the dormitory of Sai (pseudonym) to tell him that “Not wanting you to greet my superior official who is coming”. Sai gathered that she was probably followed since the time Gen Prayut came to Ubon on 4 October 2022. On that day, she was therefore observed the situation and the police asked to take photo of her ID card and those of three friends on the same day. Chatchai Kaewkhampod, activist from Free Ubon reported that the police from Det Udom Police Station called him. Then two plainclothes officials were monitoring him at home since 08.00 and staying there the whole day until 16.00. In addition, on 17 October 2022, Gen Prawit was scheduled to visit Surat Thani. At least two members of the Surat Thani Bearing It No More were visited at home by the police who asked them about any possible move. They were told to refrain from any action during Gen Prawit’s visit. Meanwhile, at least another person received a call from the police who asked for information.
Harassment while conducting political activities
Bell, an activist from Korat Movement revealed that the police tried to seize the banner which read “Wherever You Go, You Cause a Problem” from her while she was doing a symbolic action at the Pak Thong Chai Intersection. He was then taken to the Po Klang Police Station, was charged, and fined for 100 baht for failing to carry with him his ID card.
Harassment for unknown reasons
Nutthakon “Beam” Chusanao, a 18-year-old activists was followed by officials from the Thong Lor Police Station since 15 October 2022 when a royal motorcade was passing by his residence. The police called him and his parents several times to ask if he was at home and if he planned to carry out any activity. They even came to monitor his dormitory. The police tried to explain to him that the reason they had to keep an eye on him was because of the “orders from above” since his name was included in the red watch list. They asked Beam to always answer to the phone when they called and asked him to report to them all the time where he was and his move.
Pim, a freelance activists revealed that an unknown person severed her motorcycle’s clutch wire causing her an accidence even though it as a new motorcycle since her previous motorcycle had its brake wire severed before. She was then engaged in political activities on enforced disappearance. It was not possible to identify the perpetrators in the case. In addition, Ear, a 13-year-old activist was followed by a group of six unknown men armed with pistols, They threatened to hurt him while he was driving a motorcycle around the Chitralada Royal Villa around 03:30 on 22 October. He sustained a wound on his lips from a punch and noticed that the guards at the palace dared not intervene to help him. Ear has reported the case to the police later. On 27 October 2022, Pim and Ear and another activist from #saveBangkloi have submitted a complaint with the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) demanding protection and the end of harassment against activists and youth by the officials and people who hold a different view from them. The NHRC promised to follow up with the police regarding the incidences.
The Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedom (“UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders”) recognizes the right, individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection and realization of human rights. HRDs can be of any gender, age and occupation. The UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders recognizes that an individual or a group of individuals shall have the right to carry out their activity on human rights without any fear of reprisal. HRDs shall be entitled to protection in terms of their civil and political rights under the ICCPR including their freedom of expression, opinion, peaceful assembly, and association. It affirms as a right and an obligation for the state to protect and combat any violation, threat, reprisal, or unwarranted discrimination. It is incumbent on the state to put in place measures to protect individuals from any violation because of their carrying out their activity in the context of pro-democracy movement at present.
Trend of harassment in November 2022
In October, one of the most dominant harassments took place during the visits of VIP persons. This has led to the use of violence to prevent and restrict the exercise of the right to freedom of expression of people from all walks of life who hold a different view from the government. The officials threatened people to prevent them from expressing their negative views. Forces were heavily deployed, and this has led to physical injuries inflicted on at least four individuals who had reported the case to the police hoping for an investigation into the incidences. Of this, there was a 13-year-old-activist. The execution of duties by the officials reflects a problem regarding rights and freedoms in Thailand. It attests to the shrinking space in which people are allowed to express themselves. BY merely holding a banner, it may prompt the officials to charge and arrest them and take them to the police station. The officials even managed to seize even blank paper from the people’s bag.
Therefore, it is projected that harassment in November will further escalate with the use of more violence. Any political activity, even by a small group of activists or even by a solo activist can be subject to the monitoring and botched by the officials including any expression of political views during the visits of VIP persons.