Judicial harassment against HR lawyer Sirikan: update on sedition case

Judicial harassment against HR lawyer Sirikan: update on sedition case

Ms. Sirikan Charoensiri (June), human rights lawyer and legal and documentation specialist at Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR), submitted a letter to postpone the reporting date to 10 am on 22 October 2016 at the Bangkok’s Samranrat Municipality Police Station. Previously, she was scheduled to report to the police on 27 September 2016. The summons indicated the ground that she was allegedly being an accomplice to the ‘sedition’ like offence under Section 116 of the Criminal Code, and had participated in a political gathering of five persons or more, breaching the Order of the Head of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) no. 3/2015 Section 12. The accuser, Lt.Col.Pongsarit Pawangkanan, and the alleged offenders, Mr. Rangsiman Rome and others, state the connections of this case to the prosecution against the fourteen student activists of the New Democracy Movement (NDM) for organizing their anti-coup gatherings in Bangkok during 24-25 June 2015.


The summons fails to provide any implicit details or circumstance of her actions which allegedly violated the law. Given that the summons were issued by the same police station, which handled fourteen NDM students case, and the same military officer, who filed against them, it is likely that Sirikan was accused for her presence to provide legal support for the students’ at their peaceful demonstration on 25 June 2015. This will come clearer once Sirikan is officially informed of her charges.

On 24-25 June 2015, Sirikan and other TLHR lawyers and documentation officers were present to observe and monitor the activity of the fourteen students in Bangkok. All officers had clearly addressed themselves as TLHR staffs, and stated their purpose of being present to monitor the event, since there were reasonable concerns that the student activists might have been arrested and accused of violating the law. The police, however, had later apprehended the students on 26 June 2015 as anticipated, and later accused Mr. Baramee Chaiyarat, a human rights defender from Thailand’s Assembly of the Poor and a member of Amnesty International Thailand Board, for sedition charge, same as Sirikan. In addition to Sirikan, an owner of the place where the fourteen student activists stayed during their activities from 25-26 June 2015, received a summons issued on 14 September 2016 for the same offences. As of September 2016, there are 17 people including fourteen student activists, two human rights and social activists, and a human rights lawyer who have been facing charges filed by military in this case.

If indicted, Ms. Sirikan will face trial in a military court since the alleged offences were committed in 2015 prior to the enforcement of the Order of the Head of the NCPO no. 55/2016 on 12 September 2016 which ends the practice of prosecuting civilians in military courts for crimes committed after that date. The Order does not apply to pending civilian cases or those committed before 12 September 2016. If found guilty, she shall be faced punishment of imprisonment not exceeding seven years.

Further, Ms. Sirikan is now facing prosecution of offences related to refusing to comply with an order of competent officials, after she refused to let the officials search her car without a warrant on 27 June 2015. The hearing of prosecution order is rescheduled at 9.30 am on 3 November 2016 at the Office of Prosecutor of Dusit District in Bangkok, after the third postponement on 29 September 2016 due to the police’s scheduled submission of the case file to the prosecutor on 30 September 2016. She also received a summons for offences related to making false report to the police because of her filing a complaint of malfeasance in office against the police who impounded her car following her refusal to consent to the warrantless search of her car for her clients’ belongings.