urgent action - Amnesty International

urgent action - Amnesty International

UA: 136/15 Index: ASA 39/1902/2015 Thailand Date: 19 June 2015 URGENT ACTION STUDENTS AT RISK OF ARREST FOR PEACEFUL PROTEST Thai authorities have a...

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UA: 136/15 Index: ASA 39/1902/2015 Thailand

Date: 19 June 2015

URGENT ACTION STUDENTS AT RISK OF ARREST FOR PEACEFUL PROTEST Thai authorities have announced they will arrest 16 students unless they report to police on 19 June. The students have all been charged for peacefully protesting on the first anniversary of Thailand’s 2014 military coup. They may face one year in prison and fines. Chatupat Boonyapatraksa, Anuwat Suntararak, Payu Boonsopon, Panupong Srithananuwat, Suvicha Tipangkorn, Supachai Pukrongploy and Wasant Satesit, all students from Khon Kaen University, were charged after carrying out a peaceful seven person protest at the Democracy Monument, in the city of Khon Kaen, Northeast Thailand, at around 1pm on 22 May. They were protesting about the 2014 military coup and the forcible evictions of rural communities affected by extractive and developmental projects. On 4 June, nine Bangkok students, Rattapol Supasupon, Rangsiman Rome, Songtham Kaewpanpruk, Chonthicha Jaengraew and five others, were also charged on account of their involvement in peaceful protests against the military coup which took place in the center of Bangkok on 22 May. The 16 students face charges of violating an official ban on political activity and holding a public gathering. Political gatherings of more than five persons are currently illegal in Thailand. If found guilty they will face one year in prison and fines. Thai authorities have announced they will arrest the 16 students unless they report to the police on 19 June. Media reports quote a government spokesman as saying that the student’s parents may face legal action if the students do not report to the authorities. Please write immediately in Thai or your own language:  Calling on the authorities to drop all charges and stop arresting individuals for peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression and assembly;  Urging them to stop harassing, intimidating and penalizing anyone for their support of those exercising their human rights peacefully;  Calling on them to repeal or else amend all laws and edicts which arbitrarily restrict the right to peaceful assembly in order to comply with Thailand’s obligations under international human rights law. PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 29 JULY 2015 TO: Royal Thai Police CommissionerGeneral Somyot Pumpanmuang, Royal Thai Police, 1 Building, Floor 7 Rama 1 Road, Pathumwan, Bangkok 10330 Thailand Fax: 011 66 2 618 2538 Email: [email protected] Salutation: Dear General

Prime Minister Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha Government House Pitsanulok Road, Dusit Bangkok 10300 Thailand Fax: 011 66 2 282-5131 Salutation: Dear Prime Minister

And copies to: Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Thanasak Patimapragorn Ministry of Foreign Affairs Sri Ayudhya Road Bangkok 10400 Thailand Fax: 011 66 2643 5320 / 011 66 2643 5314 Email: [email protected]

Also send copies to: Ambassador Pisan Manawapat, Royal Embassy of Thailand 1024 Wisconsin Ave. N.W., Washington, D.C. 20007 Phone: 202 944 3600 I Email: [email protected] Please let us know if you took action so that we can track our impact! EITHER send a short email to [email protected] with “UA 136/15” in the subject line, and include in the body of the email the number of letters and/or emails you sent, OR fill out this short online form to let us know how you took action. Thank you for taking action! Please check with the AIUSA Urgent Action Office if taking action after the appeals date.

URGENT ACTION STUDENTS AT RISK OF ARREST FOR PEACEFUL PROTEST ADDITIONAL INFORMATION The seven Khon Kaen University students are part of the Dao Din group, a student discussion and human rights society at Khon Kaen University. Their work on social and environmental campaigns was recognized in an award from Thailand’s National Human Rights Commission in December 2014. Authorities have warned environmental grass roots groups, including the Neo E-saan Movement and the Khon Rak BanKoed group, who expressed public support for the seven students since their arrest in May 2015 that such activities are prohibited. In November 2014 members of the Dao Din group were arrested for making the three-finger “Hunger Games” salute during a speech by General Prayuth Chan-Ocha in Khon Kaen. During the protests in Bangkok, on 22 May police detained more than 30 students and activists at the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre, one of the first sites of spontaneous anti-coup protests in 2014. Eye-witnesses reported seeing plainclothes army officers and police carrying out unprovoked physical attacks on students. Video clips posted on YouTube appear to confirm these reports. Student Songtham Kaewpranpuk received emergency medical treatment after being found unconscious. Two other students, Rattapol Supsapon and Rangsuman Rome were also reportedly injured. Since the military took power on 22 May 2014, political gatherings of five or more persons are prohibited, and those who carry them out face prosecution in a military court. Students – including the Dao Din group and other Thai student groups – have engaged in peaceful, symbolic actions, including protests in groups of less than five persons, which have nevertheless also been suppressed. Thai authorities continue to arbitrarily detain and imprison individuals, prevent or censor meetings and public events and otherwise suppress peaceful dissent. Uniformed and plain-clothes officers have visited the houses and searched premises of at least 17 student activists since March 2015 and warned them and their families not to engage in political activities. Since the 2014 coup university staff have received orders from the army and Education Ministry to monitor student activities that criticized military authorities and to forbid or severely restrict student engagement in political activities. Nationwide, university lecturers and rectors have been “visited” by armed troops and instructed to ensure that no political activities take place in their universities. Name: Chatupat Boonyapatraksa (m), Anuwat Suntararak (m), Payu Boonsopon (m), Panupong Srithananuwat (m), Suvicha Tipangkorn (m), Supachai Pukrongploy (m), Wasant Satesit (m), Rattapol Supasupon (m), Rangsiman Rome (m), Songtham Kaewpanpruk (m), Chonthicha Jaengraew (f). Issues: Freedom of expression, Legal concern, Mass arrest UA: 136/15 Issue Date: 19 June 2015 Country: Thailand