21 Oct 2020 – Around 10.30, at the Civil Court, Ratchada Road, six students from Chulalongkorn and Thammasat Universities, on behalf of the public whose freedom of expression and rights to a political gathering have been violated, came to submit the case against three defendants: Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha, the Prime Minister, as the person who exercises power under the Emergency Decree on Public Administration in Emergency Situation, B.E. 2005, Gen. Prawit Wongsuwan, Deputy Prime Minister, as the director overseeing the chief of operation boards responsible for solving severe state of emergency, and Police General Suwat Jangyodsuk, Commissioner of the Royal Thai Police, as the chief of operation boards responsible for solving severe state of emergency. Such complaint was made in an attempt to revoke the state’s Announcement of the Severe State of Emergency as well as all related announcements and orders.
Summary of the Complaint to Revoke the Announcement of the Severe State of Emergency and All Related Announcements and Orders and Request of a Temporary Injunction and Emergency Review
21 October 2020, 10:30 am, Civil Court, Ratchada
Plaintiffs: Miss Sukreeya Wannayuwat, plaintiff no.1, and 6 co-plaintiffs (students at Chulalongkorn University and Thammasat University)
Defendants: General Prayuth Chan-Ocha, defendant no. 1; General Prawit Wongsuwan, defendant no. 2; and Police General Suwat Chaengyodsuk, plaintiff no. 3.
The exercise of rights and freedom of expression of opinion, public assembly, travel, communication, and access to media and news, as well as the organizing of peaceful, unarmed demonstrations in which the six plaintiffs and the people participated with good faith, are protected by both the Thai constitution and universal principles of civil and political rights, which are inseparable from democratic rule.
No facts exist to indicate that the demonstration of the People’s Party group, of whom the majority of the participants were children, youth, secondary school students, and university students, was a demonstration that was either armed or otherwise not peaceful. No facts exist to support the claim that there was a riot or any danger to life or public property.
Even though the executive had the authority to announce the Severe State of Emergency, and issue the related Announcements, Regulations, and Orders, the executive must exercise discretion based on facts and accuracy, not exercise power and discretion arbitrarily. The exercise of power by the three defendants, namely the dispersal of demonstrations, the announcement of closure of stations and buildings of the mass transit system and other buildings, and the arrest and detention of the people (including media, medical officers, secondary school students, and university school students) is random and without any legal basis. The three defendants named above have closed travel routes used by the people and ambulances; prohibited the use of radios, telecommunications equipment, telephones, and electronic devices in the dissemination of news, pictures, and various facts; and ordered the cessation of broadcast and dissemination of news by media outlets. These actions are the intentional use of law as an instrument to halt the six plaintiffs and the people from exercising their freedom to engage in peaceful, unarmed protests — including the right to express their opinion, travel, and communicate and access media and news — which are the constitutionally-guaranteed rights and freedoms of the people. The actions of the three defendants are the violation of the aforementioned rights and freedoms of the plaintiffs and the people. The severity of the restrictions of the rights and freedom of the people has increased continuously.
The plaintiffs therefore submitted a complaint for the Civil Court to issue the following ruling:
1) Immediately revoke the Announcement of the Severe State of Emergency, issued on 15 October 2020, and Announcement No. 2, issued on 16 October 2020, which were issued by defendant no. 1 under the Emergency Decree on Public Administration in Emergency Situation, B.E. 2548 (2005).
2) For the defendants to immediately revoke the Announcements of the Head of the Resolution of the Severe State of Emergency Nos. 1/2563, 2/2563, 4/2563, 6/2563; Orders of the Head of the Resolution of the Severe State of Emergency Nos. 2/2563, 3/2563, 6/2563; and the Announcements and Orders issued after defendant no. 3 performed duties according to the Announcement of the Severe State of Emergency in Bangkok and the Regulation of 15 October 2020. The measures, orders and any actions ordered by the three defendants ordered according to the Severe State of Emergency in Bangkok and the Regulation of 15 October 2020 must not be used further against the plaintiffs and the people.
Today, the plaintiffs submitted also a petition for a temporary injunction and emergency review, for the court to issue an order prohibiting the enforcement of the Announcement of the Severe State of Emergency, including all related Announcements and Orders, including forbidding the issuance of additional Announcements and Orders under the Severe State of Emergency while the case is being examined by the court.
Case Filed by the Following Eight Human Rights Organizations:
Thai Lawyers for Human Rights
Human Rights Lawyers Association
Muslim Attorney Center Foundation
Legal Rights and Environmental Protection Association
Internet Law Reform Dialogue (iLaw)
Union for Civil Liberty
Cover Photo Courtesy to: https://thestandard.co/