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Urgent Action Update: Activists Could Be Charged For Exposing Torture (Thailand: UA 145/16)

Urgent Action
February 16, 2017

A decision by the Public Prosecutor on whether to prosecute three human rights defenders on criminal defamation and computer crimes in connection with their online documentation of torture in Thailand is expected imminently. The charges carry a maximum penalty of seven years’ imprisonment plus fines of up to 300,000 baht (US $8,330). The group are to report to Pattani Police Station on 21 February 2017.  

 

The Prosecutor is expected to imminently decide whether to press charges against activists Somchai Homla-or, Pornpen Khongkachonkiet (*pictured*), and Anchana Heemmina, who are accused of criminal defamation and computer crimes for their documentation, and online publication, of allegations of torture by the Royal Thai Police and Royal Thai Army in Thailand’s southern provinces. Officials from Pattani Police Station have summoned the activists to the station on 21 February, and rejected the group’s request to examine additional witnesses from a list provided by the accused. The police have reportedly concluded their investigation. They are expected to bring the group to the Office of the State Prosecutor and recommend prosecution. 
 
Somchai Homla-or, Pornpen Khongkachonkiet and Anchana Heemmina are members of the Cross Cultural Foundation and Duay Jai (Hearty Support) group. In January 2016 they published a report describing 54 cases of alleged torture by the Royal Thai Police and Royal Thai Army which they then presented to the Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC) Region 4, the army unit responsible for national security operations in Thailand’s southern provinces. The report was published online in February 2016. On 17 May 2016, an officer from ISOC Region 4 filed a complaint against the three activists for criminal defamation and violating the Computer Crimes Act of 2007. To justify the complaint, ISOC claimed that the reputation of the army was damaged by the allegations and that the activists had not cooperated with authorities to provide more information on the cases raised in the report. 
 
Cross Cultural Foundation and Duay Jai group are non-governmental organizations that operate in Thailand’s southern provinces where soldiers have systematically tortured individuals in connection to counter-insurgency operations. Torture has often been reported by those detained without charge or trial under emergency legislation.

 

1) TAKE ACTION
Write a letter, send an email, call, fax or tweet:
  • Not prosecute Somchai Homla-or, Pornpen Khongkachonkiet and Anchana Heemmina;  
  • Withdraw its complaints of criminal defamation and computer crimes against Somchai Homla-or, Pornpen Khongkachonkiet and Anchana Heemmina; 
  • Amend the Penal Code to remove criminal penalties for defamation.

 

Contact these two officials by 30 March, 2017:
Deputy Commissioner General   
Sakron Thongmunee
Provincial Police Region 9,
Lang Praram Rd, 
Bo Yang, Mueang Songkhla, 
Songkhla, 90000, Thailand
Fax: +66 7431 2005, +66 7431 2819
Salutation: Dear Deputy Commissioner General
 
Ambassador Pisan Manawapat
Royal Embassy of Thailand
1024 Wisconsin Ave. N.W., Washington, DC 20007
Phone: 202 944 3600
Fax: 1 202 944 3611
Salutation: Dear Ambassador
 

2) LET US KNOW YOU TOOK ACTION

Here's why it is so important to report your actions: we record the number and types of actions taken—letters, emails, calls and tweets—on each case anduse that information in our advocacy.Either email [email protected] with “UA 145/16” in the subject line or click this link.

 

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
 
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