The Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) has been following reports about the detention of individuals found to have worn ‘Thai Federation’ T-shirts or to have them in possession. It has led to several persons being held in military custody during 7-12 December 2018 crackdowns in the provinces of Bangkok, Chonburi, Kamphaeng Phet, Ubonratchathani and Udonthani. At least 16 individuals were detained in military barracks. On 11 December, 12 of them have been released while four others remained in custody. At least another individual is being held in custody. The arrests in all cases have been made without a warrant. (for more information please see)
Today (12 December 18), TLHR also receives reports that another individual in Ubonratchathani and another two individuals in Kamphaeng Phet are being held in custody. The three of them had reportedly been detained and then released on 11 December 2018. All of them are probably being held in custody in military barracks in Bangkok.
An organization which offers legal assistance to people affected by the exercise of state power after the 2014 coup and people who have exercised their right to freedom of expression and is handling more than 165 civil rights cases as a result, TLHR has the following concerns regarding the above situation;
- The deprivation of liberty of an individual has to be conducted lawfully. The person deprived of liberty has to be informed of the reasons for the arrest and must have the right to promptly inform their relatives and lawyers as well as to seek judicial review. The rights are prescribed for in Article 9 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) to which Thailand is a state party and is obliged to act in its compliance. Nevertheless, THLR has found that most of the arrests and detentions invoking the Head of the NCPO Order no. 3/2558 or the Head of the NCPO Order no. 13/2559, in the aftermath of the coup, have been carried out in breach of the international obligation including the detentions in these particular cases since no attempt has been made to inform the persons in custody of the reasons of arrest, their being denied access to lawyer, and a lack of judicial review, particularly in light of the detention of the last three individuals which had taken place just after they had been released the night before. It constitutes an arbitrary exercise of power.
- In its Concluding Observations on the second periodic report of Thailand in March 2017, the UN Human Rights Committee states that “The State party (Thailand) should immediately release all victims of arbitrary detention and provide them with full reparation. It should also bring its legislation and practices into compliance with article 9 of the Covenant…” Nevertheless, the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) continues to hold individuals in custody up to seven days invoking the two Head of the NCPO Orders, the power of which has not been repealed despite the forthcoming national elections.
TLHR opines that if the authorities find any persons suspected of committing a criminal offence, they can normally invoke the Criminal Procedure Code to carry out the arrest and to hold the persons in custody while all of the alleged offenders or suspects have to be treated according to the law, i.e. having the right to fair trial, TLHR therefore demands that these individuals be released immediately.
With respect in people’s rights and freedoms
Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR)