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16 Sep 2021

Protection International

Thailand: Criminal Court convicts former employee of oil palm company for the attempted murder of land rights defender

'Thai Provincial Court Finds Somphon Chimrueng Guilty for the Attempted Assassination of Land Rights Defender Dam On-muang', 27 August 2021

On 26 August 2021, at 9:00 am, the Wiang Sra Provincial Court of Surat Thani delivered the verdict on Black Case no. O18/2564 concerning the attempted assassination of Mr. Dam On-muang. Mr. Dam is a lands right defender and a member of Santi Pattana Community, which is a part of the Southern Peasants’ Federation of Thailand (SPFT). The court found [Mr Somphon] Chimrueng to be guilty of attempted assassination and sentenced him to 13 years and 16 months of imprisonment. Chimrueng is also ordered to pay an additional 30,000 baht to Mr. Dam for compensation... Chimrueng was formerly employed by a private oil palm company that was disputing with the community. The police arrested him at his home and seized his firearm. He was later indicted for attempted murder according to the Penal Code and for being in possession of a firearm and ammunition without a permit... Protection International’s Representative in Thailand said that “In Thailand the worst environmental and human rights abuses are caused by those involved in wrongful exploitation of land and natural resources. Corruption in the country’s political and economic structure both at the local and national level only facilitates such rights violation. Land and environmental rights defenders and their movements, such as Mr. Dam and The Southern Peasant Federation of Thailand as in this case, are the people who have been taking a strong stand in the hope of correcting this ‘ruined’ system.” [...]