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3 Dec 2019

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders

Thailand : Thammakaset files criminal defamation lawsuit against human rights defender; NGOs ask for judicial harassment to end

"The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint partnership of FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Thailand" 27 nov 2019

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the judicial harassment of Ms. Angkhana Neelapaijit, a former commissioner of the National Human Rights Commission of Thailand (NHRCT)...

According to the information received... Thai company Thammakaset Co. Ltd... filed a criminal defamation complaint against Ms. Angkhana Neelapaijit with the Bangkok South Criminal Court. Thammakaset alleged that Ms. Angkhana Neelapaijit violated Articles 326 (‘defamation’) and 328 (‘libel’) of Thailand’s Criminal Code by publishing two tweets in support of woman human rights defender...

The court scheduled a mediation hearing between Thammakaset and Ms. Angkhana Neelapaijit for February 12, 2020. If the mediation fails, a preliminary hearing in Ms. Angkhana Neelapaijit’s case is set for February 24, 2020. If found guilty, Ms. Angkhana Neelapaijit could face up to four years in prison and a fine of up to 400,000 Thai baht (approximately 12,000 Euros). 

The Observatory recalls that Thammakaset has already filed at least two dozen criminal and civil cases against a total of more than 20 defendants...

Please write to the authorities of Thailand asking them to:

i. Put an end to all acts of harassment...

ii. Ensure in all circumstances that human rights defenders in Thailand are able to carry out their legitimate activities without any hindrance or fear of reprisals.

iii. Guarantee in all circumstances the right to freedom of expression as required by Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

iv. Amend defamation provisions (Articles 326 and 328 of the Criminal Code) in order to bring them into line with international standards.

v. Comply with all the provisions of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 9, 1998, in particular Articles 1, and 12.

vi. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments to which Thailand is a State party.