Invitation for Briefing on the Trial of Ten Prominent human rights defenders
Mon 18 February, 13.00-14.00
Prachatai Meeting Room, Huay Kwang

Front Line Defenders and iLaw would like to invite you for a briefing session concerning the upcoming hearings of ten prominent human rights defenders. The briefing will take place at Prachatai Meeting Room in Huay Kwang on Monday 18 February 2013 at 13.00 – 14.00 (map in English and Thai is attached).

The ten human rights defenders are Mr Jon Ungphakorn, former Chairperson of the NGO-Coordinating Committee on Development (NGO-COD); Mr Sawit Keaw-wan, leader of the Confederation of State Enterprise Labour Union; Mr Sirichai Maingam, member of the Labour Union of Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand; Mr Pichit Chaimongkol, member of Campaign for Popular Democracy (CPD); Mr Anirut Khaosanit, member of Council of People’s Organisations Network of Thailand; Mr Nasser Yeemha, member of Friends of the People (FOP); Mr Amnat Palamee, leader of the Confederation of State Enterprise Labour Union; Mr Pairoj Polpetch, Secretary-General of Union for Civil Liberty (UCL); Ms Saree Ongsomwang, member of Consumer’s Rights Network, and Ms Supinya Klangnarong, former Secretary-General of the Campaign for Popular Media Reform (CPMR).

The ten defenders were officially charged on 30 December 2010 after they were summoned by police to acknowledge a number of charges against them for leading and participating in a peaceful demonstration. The demonstration, which was held on 12 December 2007, was directed to call for the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) to stop passing controversial laws affecting human rights, civil liberties, community rights, and social justice and legislation involving the privatisation of water and state enterprises. Following the military coup in September 2006, the military council established the NLA to act as an interim unicameral legislature.

The demonstration was held outside the parliament involving over one thousand demonstrators from a broad range of civil society groups. At around 11am, over 100 demonstrators climbed over the metal fences surrounding the parliament. Afterward, around 50-60 demonstrators were able to enter the lobby in front of the NLA meeting chamber where the assembly was in session. They then sat down peacefully in circles on the lobby floor. Negotiations with some of the NLA members and high-ranking police officials took place and at around 12pm the demonstrators were informed that the NLA session had been adjourned.

The charges that the ten human rights defenders are facing include Section 116 of the Criminal Code for “collaborating to incite the public to violate the law through speech, writing, or other means outside the boundaries of constitutional rights or legitimate freedom of expression”, Section 215 of the Criminal Code for “gathering in a group of 10 or more people, in the capacity of leaders or commanders, to threaten or carry out an act of violence or to act in a way which causes public disturbance”, Section 362, 364, and 365 for “trespass with the use of violence”. They could face the maximum of 20 years imprisonment if found guilty on all these charges.

The briefing, which will given by Jon Ungpakorn, aims to give update on the development on the trial as the ten human rights defenders are due to appear on trial for the witness hearings on 19, 20, 21, 22, and 26 February 2013.

We apologise for such a short notice. Please confirm your participation at pokpong@frontlinedefenders.org and theniw@gmail.com

For more information, please contact:

Pokpong Lawansiri, Protection Coordinator, Front Line Defenders, Tel. (084) 388 8110, pokpong@frontlinedefenders.org
Orapin Yingyongpattana, Programme Manager, iLaw, Tel. (082) 267 1670, theniw@gmail.com

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