The Observatory has been informed about the sentencing and subsequent arbitrary detention of Mr Anon Nampa, prominent pro-democracy activist and human rights lawyer.
On September 26, 2023, the Bangkok Criminal Court sentenced Anon Nampa to four years in prison, on one count of “lèse-majesté” (Article 112 of Thailand Criminal Code), and a fine of 20,000 baht (approximately 525 Euros) for violation of the Emergency Decree. The case stemmed from a speech Mr Anon delivered on October 14, 2020, at a peaceful demonstration at Bangkok’s Democracy Monument, where protesters had gathered to call on the government to comply with the three demands put forward by the pro-democracy movement that began in February 2020, including a reform of the Thai monarchy.1 Mr Anon was charged with “lèse-majesté” over his statements referring to King Rama X as the person with the sole authority to order the dispersal of protests, instead of the riot police.
After the trial, Mr Anon was detained at the Bangkok Remand Prison, pending a decision by the Court of Appeals on his bail request, expected in the next few days. Mr Anon’s lawyers are planning to appeal his conviction and prison sentence.
The Observatory recalls that this case is the first of the 14 “lèse-majesté” cases against Anon Nampa. In this case, Mr Anon was indicted on October 7, 2021, while he was detained at the Bangkok Remand Prison, where he had been held since August 9, 2021 in relation to another “lèse-majesté” case. His temporary release requests were denied seven times before eventually getting approved on February 22, 2022. However, he remained detained under two other cases until eventually being released on bail February 28, 2022.
The Observatory further recalls that Anon Nampa was previously detained for 113 days, from February 9, to June 1, 2021, on charges of “lèse-majesté” and “sedition” (Article 116 of Thailand Criminal Code) in connection with a speech concerning the Thai monarchy he made at a peaceful pro-democracy protest at Bangkok’s Sanam Luang on September 19, 2020.
The Observatory notes with concern that between November 24, 2020, and September 22, 2023, 257 people, including many human rights defenders and 17 minors, were charged under Article 112 of the Criminal Code. Eight of them are currently detained pending trial, and three more after being found guilty of “lèse-majesté”.
The Observatory strongly condemns the conviction, sentencing, and subsequent arbitrary detention of Anon Nampa, and the ongoing judicial harassment against him, which seem to be only aimed at punishing him for his legitimate human rights activities and the exercise of his rights to freedom of expression and of peaceful assembly.
The Observatory calls on the Thai authorities to immediately and unconditionally release him and all other arbitrarily detained human rights defenders in the country and to put an end to the judicial harassment against them.
1 The three demands were: 1) the resignation of Prime Minster Prayuth Chan-ocha; 2) the reform of the monarchy; and 3) the drafting of a new constitution.
How You Can Help
Please write to the authorities of Thailand, asking them to:
- Guarantee in all circumstances the physical integrity and psychological well-being of Anon Nampa and all other human rights defenders and pro-democracy activists in Thailand;
- Immediately and unconditionally release Anon Nampa and all other human rights defenders and pro-democracy activists, since their detention is arbitrary as it seems to be merely aimed at punishing them for their legitimate human rights activities;
- Put an end to all acts of harassment, including at the judicial level, against Anon Nampa and all other human rights defenders and pro-democracy activists in the country, and ensure in all circumstances that they are able to carry out their legitimate activities without any hindrance and fear of reprisals;
- Guarantee in all circumstances the rights to freedom of expression and of peaceful assembly, as enshrined in international human right law, and particularly in Articles 19 and 21 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights;
- Refrain from using Article 112 of the Criminal Code to target human rights defenders and pro-democracy activists.
- Mr. Srettha Thavisin, Prime Minister of Thailand, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Mr. Parnpree Bahiddha-Nukara, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand, Email: email@example.com
- Mr. Tawee Sodsong, Minister of Justice of Thailand, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- General Songwit Noonpackdee, Commander in Chief of the Army, Email: email@example.com
- Pol Gen Damrongsak Kittiprapas, Commissioner-General of the Police, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Ms. Pornprapai Ganjanarinte, National Human Rights Commissioner of Thailand, Email: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
- H.E. Mrs. Suphatra Srimaitreephithak, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of Thailand to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Email: thaimission.GVA@mfa.mail.go.th
- H.E. Mr. Sek Wannamethee, Ambassador, Ambassador of Thailand to Belgium and Luxembourg and Head of Mission of Thailand to the European Union, Belgium, Email: email@example.com
Please also write to the diplomatic missions or embassies of Thailand in your respective country.