Public Statement: Stop harassing and preventing human rights attorneys from performing their duties

For immediate release on 27 June 2015

Public Statement: Stop harassing and preventing human rights attorneys from performing their duties

​On 27 June 2015, around 00.30am, after the Bangkok Military Court has approved the remand and issued a remand order against fourteen students who are members of the Neo Democracy Movement for violating the Order of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO)’s Head no. 3/2015 and Article 116 coupled with 83 of the Penal Code, some inquiry officials asked to search the vehicle belonging to Ms. Sirikan Charoensiri, one of the attorneys of the alleged offenders claiming to look for evidence relating to the commission of the offence by the alleged offenders. A police official from the Bangkok Metropolitan Police even prepared a tow truck to tow the attorney’s vehicle to the Chana Songkhram Police Station to conduct the search. It was prevented by the attorney and her colleagues from the Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) since a search for evidence had to be conducted lawfully. Later, the police decided to seal the door handles with pieces of paper and made a fence around it using traffic barriers to prevent the removal of the car.

​Given the behavior of the authorities, the Human Rights Lawyers Association (HRLA) and undersigned organizations have the following position to share;

​1. The search approach adopted by the police was not in compliance with Article 92(44) of the Criminal Procedure Code which states that “A search may not be conducted in a private place without a warrant or an order thereof directed by a court, save where it is performed by an administrative or police official in any of the following events…where there is justifiable evidence supporting that an article whose possession constitutes an offence, or which has been obtained through the commission of an offence, or which has been or is to be used for the commission of an offence, or which may bear witness for proving the guilt of any person, is being concealed or would be discovered in such private place, and there is a reasonable belief that, by cause of the delay in obtaining a warrant of search, such article is likely to be removed or destructed” During the attempt to conduct the search, the police failed to give reasonable reasons and failed to respond to queries about which article they deemed to be illegal or relating to the commission of the offence.

​2. Amidst rampant suppression of rights and liberties and the incessant arrests against civilians at present, the Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) has been given legal services to affected people enabling them to have access to their rights to the justice process. The attorneys have performed their duties faithfully to protect the interest of their clients. And according to the Code of Conduct of Attorney B.E. 2529 (1986) of the Lawyers Council of Thailand, particularly in its Articles 11 and 12, it is prohibited for an attorney to reveal confidential information of their client save for permission has been obtained from the client or by the order of the Court. It is also prohibited for an attorney to behave in such way that compromises the interest of their client. The Code is aimed to ensure and enable an attorney to perform their duties independently without being intimidated by any external powers. It is a fundamental safeguard in the justice process to protect the rights and liberties of people based on human rights principle and the rule of law.

​Therefore, that the police officials have prevented the attorneys from removing their vehicle without any proper reason and without lawful power to conduct the search or to forfeit the vehicle is therefore an act of harassment and intimidation against the performance of duties by the attorneys.

​The Human Rights Lawyers Association (HRLA) and the undersigned organizations demand an inquiry into the performance of duties by the police officials and a disciplinary action against them. The vehicle that belongs to Ms. Sirikan Charoensiri, an attorney of the New Democracy Movement, must be returned to her immediately.

With respect in rights and liberties of the people and human dignity

Human Rights Lawyers Association (HRLA)

EnLAW Foundation

Center for Protection and Recovery of Local Community Rights (CPRLCR)

Union for Civil Liberties (UCL)

__________

Additional , the translation of search warrant

Search Warrant​Search Warrant no. 226/2558
In the name of His Majesty the King
The Criminal Court
27 June 2015
Criminal Suit

Pol Col Suriya Chamnongchoke, Superintendent of the Samranrat Police Station​Petitioner
The Court deems it reasonable for a search to be conducted in the vehicle with license plate no. Kor Khor 9966 Yasothorn, found at
Moo……….Trok.Soi…………………….Road…Lak Muang
Tambon/Kwaeng Prabarom Mararatchawang​District-Khet Phra Nakhon Province Bangkok
With a rough map attached
●To discover and forfeit evidence having been obtained through the commission of an offence, or having been or is to be used for the commission of an offence
● Evidence which may bear witness for proving the guilt of any person during the investigation, pretrial hearing or during the trial
● Having been obtained through the commission of an offence, or having been or is to be used for the commission of an offence
● As per the Court’s verdict or order
● To discover…………………………………………………………………………………………
● A person being held in custody or detailed unlawdully
● A person wanted according to arrest warrant no…………………………..dated………………………

This search warrant is issued for Pol Col Suriya Chamnongchoke and his team
Position…………Senior Inquiry Official of the Samranrat Police Station………to have the power to search the location/house aforementioned on 27 June 2015
From 10.00am to 5.00pm continually until the search is completed.
After the search has been conducted as per the warrant, the evidence found shall be submitted for further investigation regarding the intention to commit an offence along with a search report and a list of items (as the case may be) to the Samranrat Police Station for further processing according to the law.

Mrs.Kanwanat XXXXXX
Judge

Note: Names or appearances of the persons or objects to be looked for must be identified.

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