On 29 September 2016, Ms. Sirikan Charoensiri, human rights lawyer and legal and documentation officer at Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR), reported to the Dusit District Prosecutor’s Office in Bangkok for a hearing on prosecution order of her offence on concealing evidence and refusing to comply with an order of competent officers, under Sections 142 and 368 of the Criminal Code. The prosecutor has decided to reschedule the meeting due to ongoing investigation of witnesses and evidence, marking the third postponement of the prosecution hearing. Ms. Sirikan shall report to the public prosecutors at the Department of Summary Litigation 3 (Dusit) at 9.30 am on 3 November 2016.

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The prosecutor stated that the case file has been sent to the police for further investigation after Ms. Sirikan had submitted a petition dated 12 May 2016, requesting for further witness investigation. The prosecutor has ordered the police to call two additional witnesses for investigation, out of five witnesses on a list provided by Sirikan. The witnesses include two members of the New Democracy Movement (NDM), Sirikan’s clients, Ms. Yaowalak Anuphan, the Head of TLHR, an inquiry officer who received her complaint of malfeasance, and Sirikan herself. The case file and witnesses’ statements were set to return to the Prosecutor’s Office on 31 August 2016; however, the police asked for a postponement of case file’s submission to the public prosecutor to 30 September 2016. Ms. Sirikan is then to report herself at 9.30 am on 3 November 2016 at the Dusit District Prosecutor’s Office in Bangkok.

It should be noted that this is the third postponement of the hearing of prosecution order. The first hearing was set on 12 May 2016. Then it was rescheduled on 27 July 2016. Later, the meeting was postponed to 29 September 2016.

Further, Ms. Sirikan is now facing accusations of violation of the sedition offence under Section 116 of the Thai Criminal Code, as well as violation of the Head of the NCPO Order no. 3/2015, banning political gatherings of five persons or more. She was previously summoned to report to the Samranrat Police Station on 27 September 2016. Since she only became aware of the summons upon her return to Thailand from attending the UN Human Rights Council Session in Geneva on 26 September, the police will issue a summons with a rescheduled reporting date. If indicted, she will be tried in a military court since the alleged action was committed in 2015, before the enactment of the Head of the NCPO Order no. 55/2016 which ceases civilians being tried in military courts for actions committed from 12 September 2016 onward. In addition, she received a summons related to submitting a false report to the police for having filed a complaint of malfeasance against Pol. Lt. Gen. Chayapol Chatchayadetch and others for illegally impounding her car on 27 June 2015.

Background

Ms. Sirikan ‘June’ Charoensiri is a legal and documentation specialist from the Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) and one of the legal representatives for the 14 activists from the New Democracy Movement (NDM). On the night of 26-27 June 2015, following the after-hour opening of the Bangkok Military Court to investigate the NDM suspects, which resulted in students being brought to the prisons, the police requested to search Sirikan’s car to confiscate the students’ mobile phones. Sirikan refused to let her car be searched since the officials did not present a search warrant, and there was no justifiable evidence to conduct the search at the time (around midnight). The officials then impounded her car overnight, letting Sirikan guard her car in front of the Court. The court warrant was later presented to conduct the search later that afternoon.

Later, Sirikan filed a complaint of malfeasance, under Section 157 of the Criminal Code, against Pol. Lt. Chayapol Chatchayadetch and other for legally impounding her car. Consequently, on 2 February, accusing her of refusing to comply with an order without reasonable cause or excuse after being informed of an order by officials holding power invested by the law, and offence of concealing or making away of property or document ordered by the official to be sent as evidence or for execution of the law, under Sections 368 and 142 of the Criminal Code, respectively. She also received a summons for the offence of giving false information concerning a criminal offence to an inquiry official, under Sections 172 and 174 of the Criminal Code.

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