The charge of violating the Emergency Decree announced in 2005 has been currently in use to prosecute political activists preventing protests, rallies, and demonstrations from taking place in crowded areas in which turmoil can occur. Since 2020, it is a charge used as a tool to restrict the right to freedom of expression and the right to protest against the current government, especially after the ‘Free Youth Movement’.
Many charges were brought against protestors on the ground that they have violated the Emergency Decree. A small number of these cases were acquitted and dismissed by the prosecutors and the court.
The following table presents the statistics of Emergency Decree violation cases that have been convicted, acquitted and dismissed by the prosecutors and the court from the database of Thai Lawyers for Human Rights.
*Information updated: 5 October 2022
Cases that the court acquitted the charges: At least 31 cases
|Order||Case||Date of Charge Dismissal||Reason Given by Court|
|1||#UdonthaniWillnotTolerate protest at Thung Si Muang on 24 July 2020||15 August 2021 (Udon Thani Court)||The prosecutor’s witness cannot verify that the defendant organized the protest. Thus, the defendant has no obligation to provide precautions for communicable disease prevention. The protest took place in an open-air space, thus, the protesters can freely move around and the defendant kept an appropriate social-distancing stance.|
The grouping of protestors was beyond the control of the defendant. There was no evidence of COVID-19 spread in Udon Thani. The court ruled that the protest did not incite chaos and the protest speech only criticized the government.*the prosecutor did not appeal the case
|2||#21OctoberProtestatVictoryMonument protest on 21 October 2020 – “Mild” Passaralee Thanakitviboon was charged with violation of the Emergency Decree.||13 December 2021 (Dusit District Court)||The protest was peaceful and no weapons were detected and used. The right to protest is protected by the constitution and the protest did not fall into the category of “gathering”. There is no evidence indicating that the defendant participated in violent acts or tried to cross the barriers.|
*the prosecutor did not appeal the case
|3||#6DecemberMob protest at Wongwian Yai on 6 December 2020||31 January 2022 (Dusit District Court)||The witness could not verify in their testimony that the defendant was the protest organizer. The defendant did not participate in the protest until the end, which is uncommon for a protest organizer. The defendant did not post on their social media inviting the people to join the protest. However, the court charged the defendant with “traffic obstruction” and “usage of megaphone”. The defendant was fined for 1,650 baht on these charges.|
|4||#21OctoberProtestatVictoryMonument protest on 21 October 2020 – Anon Lumchan was charged with the violation of the Emergency Decree.||2 March 2022 (Dusit District Court)||The majority of the protest was peaceful and no weapons were found and used. Protesting is a right protected by the constitution. During that time, there was no spread of communicable diseases, therefore the protest that the defendant participated in did not fall under the “gathering with more than five people” category.And did not incite chaos within the country. |
*the prosecutor did not appeal the case
|5||#คนพะเยาบ่าเอาแป้ง protest in front of Phayao University on 27 July 2020||10 March 2022 (Phayao Province Court)||The announcement of the Chief responsible for the Emergency situation in regards to national security – dated 3 April 2020 – was unlawfully issued, rendering it invalid.The protest did not occur in a crowded area.The content of the protest speeches criticized and attacked the government which did not incite chaos.|
*the prosecutor did not appeal the case
|6||#21OctoberProtestatVictoryMonument protest on 21 October 2020 – Paisarn Chunparn was charged with the violation of the Emergency Decree.||16 March 2022 (Dusit District court)||The defendant did not carry any weapons or had a tendency to incite chaos in the protest. The protest was peaceful, which is a right protected under the constitution. The protest did not fall under the “gathering with more than five people” category.*the prosecutor did not appeal the case|
|7||#21OctoberProtestatVictoryMonument protest on 21 October 2020 – Wasan Galumtaworn was charged with violating the Emergency Decree.||23 March 2022 (Dusit District Court)||The defendant did not carry any weapons or had a tendency to incite chaos in the protest. The protest was peaceful, which is a right protected under the constitution. The defendant was neither aware of, nor participated in any violent acts that occurred during the protest. *the prosecutor did not appeal the case|
|8||Car mob case at Lopburi province on 1 August 2021||25 April 2022 (Lopburi District Court)||The prosecutor’s witness cannot testify that the two defendants were the organizers of the mob. The act of inviting other people to join the mob does not equal being its organizer. The protest did not take place in a crowded area. Protestors and the police force can still conveniently move around. The protest speech only criticized the government. Protesting is a right protected under the constitution.The announcement dated 3 August 2021 of the Chief responsible for the Emergency situation is not relevant to national security. There’s an indication that there are additional elements from the provisions of authority, thus cannot be lawfully used. The prosecutor’s witness cannot verify that the two defendants used megaphones.|
|9||Car mob case at Lopburi province on 1 August 2021||11 May 2022 (Lopburi District Court)||Both defendants participated in the protest where it is not crowded. Both did not stay for long and the protestors did not occupy the whole area. Thus, it posed no risks for disease transmission from close contact.The protestors only criticized the government. No weapons were used and there was no violence, meaning that the protest was protected under the constitution under section 24 and 44, which stated that the protest did not incite chaos. The announcement dated 3 August 2021 of the Chief responsible for the Emergency situation is not relevant to national security. There’s an indication that there are additional elements from the provisions of authority, thus cannot be lawfully enforced.. *the court charged two defendants of using megaphones and both had to pay 200 baht fine|
|10||Monk Dao Din’s involvement in ‘Talu Fah’ group’s activities on 24 March 2021||31 May 2022 (Dusit District Court)||The defendant was not the organizer of the protest and did not show any relevant behaviors of protest organizer, meaning that the defendant did not violate the charge of organizing protests. The defendant wore masks, stayed away from other protestors, and did not use a microphone and/or megaphone. The protest was in an open area which was not crowded. |
The court acquitted the violation of the Emergency Decree charge, the Sanitation Act, and the use of a megaphone. However, the defendant was fined 500 baht for Traffic Act violation.
|11||#21OctoberProtestatVictoryMonument protest on 21 October 2020 – Weerawit Rungruangsiripol was charged with the violation of the Emergency Decree.||1 June 2022 (Dusit District Court)||The protest was peaceful, there were no weapons detected, and there was no violence. It is the right to protest protected under the constitution. The prosecutor cannot prove how the defendant’s action violated the law.|
|12||Car mob at Nakhon Ratchasima on 1 Aug 2021||1 June 2022 (Nakhon Ratchasima District Court)||The actions of both defendants did not fall under the crime of organizing a protest as the prosecutor’s witness could not testify that the defendant was the owner of a post that incited the protest. |
The scale of mass gathering in the protest was not to the extent of the violation of the Emergency Decree.
|13||Car mob at Nakhon Ratchasima on 7 Aug 2021||21 June 2022 (Nakhon Ratchasima District Court)||There was no witness that could testify who posted the appointment for the protest, live-streamed the protest, and prepared the equipment for the protest. Thus, it could not be proven that the two defendants were the organizers of the protest.The plaintiff did not explain that the protest was in a crowded area, which violated the Emergency Decree. Thus, the court could not sentence the defendant. There were only 24 protestors and the activities lasted for 24 minutes in an open area and there were no reports of COVID-19 transmission from this protest. It is doubtful whether this protest posed a risk of transmission.|
|14||Kamphaeng Phet Carmob Case on August 1, 2021||22 June 2022 (Kamphaeng Phet Province Court)||In order to violate the Emergency Decree, the protest has to have an impact on state security. The defendant’s participation and the act of inviting others to join the protest posed no risk to state security. Additionally, the Public Assembly Act, section 3 (6), stipulates that it shall not be enforced while the Emergency Decree is being used.|
|15||#LumphunWillAlsoNotTolerate protest at the Monument of Chao Mae Chamadevi Shrine on 24 July 2020||1 July 2022 (Lumphun Province Court)||The act of participating in the protests by the two defendants is protected under the right to protest in the constitution. The protest had no impact on national security and the safety of the citizens. The protest cannot be considered a gathering that caused unrest. It was not a protest that risked disease transmission.|
|16||Nakhon Ratchaseema Carmob Case on 15 August 2021||4 July 2022 (Nakhon Ratchaseema Court)||The court dismissed the case against one of the defendants as the prosecutor’s witness could not provide evidence that the defendant was the protest organizer. Thus, had no obligation to request the state permission to protest. Protestors wore masks at all times. The prosecutor had no evidence to prove that after the protest, there were people infected with diseases from that protest. Thus, the protest and actions of the defendant do not pose risk for the transmission of diseases on a large scale.|
|17||Nakhon Ratchaseema Carmob Case on 23 July 2021||19 July 2022 (Nakhon Ratchaseema Court)||The prosecutor had no witness that could prove that the three defendants were organizers of the protest as they were only attending it. Thus, the defendants were not obliged to request permission from the state. As for the protest space, since the area of the protest was an open area and most protestors wore masks, there was no evidence that showed how the protest caused the spread of disease.|
|18||#EsanWillNotTolerate protest at Mahasarakham University on 22 July 2020||21 July 2022 (Mahasarakham Province Court)||The plaintiff did not have any witness that could pinpoint that the defendant organized the protest. The protest occurred in an open area where there were temperature checks, alcohol sanitizers, and masks. It could not be proven that there were diseases spread after the protest. The protest was peaceful and no weapons were detected and/or used.|
|19||#SaraburiWillNotTolerateDictatorship car mob on 1 August 2021||9 August 2022|
(Saraburi District court)
|The prosecutor’s witness cannot prove that the defendant was the protest organizer. The protest only criticized the government and was organized in an open area. Both defendants were wearing masks during the protest and state health care authorities saw that only 20 people attended the rally, as opposed to the 150 people claimed by the police. The defendants were charged with 150 baht fine each for using a megaphone.|
|20||Car mob case at Surat Thani on August 1 2021||10 August 2022 (Surat Thani District Court)||.|
|21||The case against the rally in front of the Royal Thai Police, Region 1, on August 2, 2021 (4 Thammasat students)||10 August 2022 (Thanyaburi Provincial Court)||The witness of the prosecutor testified that all four defendants attended the protest peacefully and no weapons were in their possessions. The right to protest is protected under the constitution. In front of the Royal Thai Police, Region 1, the area is an open area and there were only 20-30 protestors, which was not crowded and posed no risk of COVID-19 transmission. There was no COVID-19 infection from the rally.|
|22||The case from the event for 10 years ‘Se. Daeng shot to death’ commemoration at Lumpini park on 13 May 2020 (8 activists and civilians)||29 August 2022|
(Pathumwan District Court)
|The event organizer has informed the authority prior to the event.|
There were police officers monitoring social distancing and mask wearing measure.
Health Department officers were facilitating alcohol gel and temperature check.
Any person could interpret the event as being allowed to take place.
There was an appropriate measure for disease control.
|23||The case from ‘Chiang Hai people don’t want cheaters‘ protest at Chiang Rai Clock tower on 24 July 2020||29 August 2022|
(Chiang Rai Provincial Court)
|Even though the defendant was seen as the protest organizer, the protest did not take place in a congested area.|
There was no incitement for chaos. Most of the participants wore masks. The report from the health department did not show any contamination from the protest for over 133 days. The protest was not at risk of the spread of disease.
|24||The case from Yala Carmob on 7 August 2021||31 August 2022 |
(Yala Provincial Court)
|From the plaintiff’s witness examination, there is no evidence suggesting that |
all five defendants were the organizer of the protest. The protest occurred in an open-aired area and posed no risk of spreading disease.
Most protestors wore masks and no covid-related case was reported after the protest. But the defendant was fined 600 baht each for noise pollution.
|25||The case from “Carmob on the road to send letter to the outer world” on 20 August 2021||5 September 2022 |
(Dusit District Court)
|The Plaintiff holds no sufficient evidence that both of the defendants were neither the protestors nor the co-conspirator to destroy the property of the police booth at Kiak Kai intersection.|
|26||The case of participants in ’17 October 2020′ Mob at Wong Wian Yai (Severe violation of the Emergency Decree)||12 September 2022 |
(Thonburi District Court)
|There was no evidence that neither of the defendants had weapons in possession nor committed a felony to public property.|
There’s no evidence of violence during the protest that incites chaos. The protest was overall peaceful without weapons and within the fundamental rights of freedom.
|27||The case of Khun Pat selling clothes and books at ‘2 May 2021 Mob’ in front of Criminal cour||13 September 2022 (Bangkok North Municipal Court)||The statement of the plaintiff’s witness was not coherent. There was no evidence linking the defendant to the violence against public officers.|
The fact that the defendant was avoiding the arrest does not indicate that the defendant committed a crime that he or she was accused of.
|28||The case of a minor “Mimi” giving a speech at Ratchaprasong Intersection Mob on 25 October 2020||22 September 2022|
(Juvenile and Family court)
|The speech was not against the law and the minor exercised her fundamental right to freedom of expression.|
None of plaintiff’s witness could provide evidence that the defendant was the organizer of the protest.
When the incident occurred, the defendant was only 16 years old and had no such capacity to organize a large-scale protest.
The defendant was not responsible for any incidents occurred during the protest.
|29||The case from Car Mob in front of Future Park Rangsit on 1 August 2021||30 September 2022 |
(Thanyaburi Provincial Court)
|The evidence was not sufficient to prove that both defendants were organizers of the protest. |
There was no weapon used during the protest and the defendants only exercised their fundamental rights under constitutional law. There was no evidence suggesting that the defendants pose risk to the spread of disease.
|30||The case of “we want repayment, we are not begging” group stayed overnight in front of the government house demanding the amendment of Social Security Act.|
They were arrested on 5 January 2021.
|3 October 2022 |
(Dusit District Court)
|The public prosecutor was not clear about the offenses of each defendant in the indictment. There was no description of acts within a crowded space.|
The health department officers did not issue a warning to the accused. Thus, the defendants cannot be sentenced according to the Communicable Disease Act.
|31||The case of the demonstration #standWithMyanmar against the coup in Myanmar on 1 February 2021|
(Witchapas Srikasipan from We Volunteer team)
|5 October 2022|
(Bangkok South District Court)
|The court dismissed the violation of the Emergency Decree charge as the protest did not take place in a crowded area.|
The plaintiff did not have evidence that the defendant incited other protestors to establish chaos.
However, the court ordered a fine of 10,000 to the defendant for the violation of the Communicable Disease Act as the health department officers had issued a warning but the defendant did not act accordingly.
Cases that prosecutors dismissed the charge: At least 23 cases
|Order||Case||Date of Charge Dismissal||Reason Given by Court|
|1||#LampangRallyTogether protest at Lampang on 26 July 2020||3 March 2021||The protest area was not crowded and most protestors wore masks and no infection was discovered in Lampang following the protest. The content of the protest was about political opinions, which was a right protected in the constitution. There is no evidence that the protest incited chaos or threatened national security.|
|2||The case where a letter was filed demanding fairness in carrying out the investigation of Wanchalerm infront of the Cambodia Embassy on 8 June 2020 (4 suspects in the morning)||17 February 2021||The protest was not violent and did not incite chaos. The protest was an exercise of the right to freedom of expression. The protest occurred in an open area and all protestors wore masks. |
|3||The case where a letter was filed demanding fairness in carrying out the investigation of Wanchalerm infront of the Cambodia Embassy on 8 June 2020 (6 suspects in the afternoon)||19 February 2021||The protest was not violent and did not incite chaos. The protest was an exercise of the right to freedom of expression. The protest occurred in an open area and all protestors wore masks. |
|4||#DekNonAgainstDictatorship protest at Nonthaburi Pier on 29 July 2020||16 July 2021||There was no witness to testify that the action of the defendants incited chaos. The protest occurred in an open area and no infections were detected at the scene. On that day, the state health care authorities helped organize exit and entry ways where there temperature check points were present. Most protestors wore masks.|
|5||#SamutPrakarnWillNotTolerate protest at the courtyard in front of the Samut Prakan City Observatory on July 25, 2020||20 November 2021||No details provided by the prosecutor|
|6||Car mob case at the Tak Province on 15 August 2021||20 December 2021||All protestors wore masks and kept an appropriate social distance. There was no close contact within the protestors and there were no actions that indicated a potential spread of virus. The protest occurred in an open area.|
|7||Carmob case at the Mukdahan province on 29 August 2021||7 January 2022||There was no witness to prove that the three defendants were organizers of the event. Thus, they were not obliged to request permission from the authority.|
|8||Car mob case on 1 August 2021 from Don Mueang Airport along Vibhavadi-Rangsit Road||8 March 2022||The protest was a legitimate exercise. The right to protest is protected in the constitution. The driving pattern of the car mob and motorcycles did not obstruct the road and posed no risks to the spread of diseases. All protestors wore masks and traffic was not obstructed.|
|9||Car mob, “Vocational Students Gathering to Oust Dictatorship”, on 15 August 2021 by Vocational Group to Protect People for Democracy||11 April 2022||The defendants have already communicated with the mall where the event occurred in front, which counts as a coordination between authorities. The mob occurred in an open area with little traffic. All protestors wore masks and and kept appropriate social-distancing between vehicles and followed safety protocols.|
|10||Participaters and observers of #TaluGasMob at DinDaeng on 23 August 2021 (Chanchai-Ekachai)||1 June 2022||There were no witnesses that could testify that the two defendants (Chanchai-Ekachai) were organizers of the protest. The protest occurred in an open area which posed little to no risk of disease infection. Most protestors all wore masks.|
|11||Participaters and observers of #TaluGasMob at DinDaeng on 2 September 2021 (Chanchai-Theerameth)||20 June 2022||The only proven fact in this case is that both defendants showed up in the protest and there was no evidence pointed that they were organizers. The goal of that protest was to simply announce the dissatisfaction of the people against the government and there were no risks of infection transmission.|
|12||The case of those arrested under the Din Daeng flat In the morning of 7 October 2021 (11 people)||31 May 2022||The case had no witness that could testify that the 11 suspects organized the protest and that the protest risked the transmission of diseases. After the arrest, no weapons were found in the possession of the 11 suspects. The pictures taken were from far away, which did not show the nature of the protest.|
|13||Participaters and observers of #TaluGasMob at DinDaeng on 20 September 2021 (Katanyu-Theerameth)||19 July 2022||Both suspects showed up at the protest and were only persons of interest that the police observed. From the police observation, it showed that both suspects were not organizers of the protest. Most of the protestors wore masks and were not grouped together. Thus, the protest posed no risk to disease infection.|
|140-16||Car mob case at Sakon Nakhon Province, (3 cases, date 1, 7 and 15 August 2021)||21 July 2022||Prosecutor did not prosecute charges of Emergency Decree and the Traffic act. The suspect was charged with using a megaphone without permission from state authorities.|
|17||Car mob at Lumphun Province on 1 August 2021||27 July 2022||Prosecutor did not press charges of the Emergency Decree. The suspect was charged with using a megaphone without permission from state authorities.|
|18||Participaters and observers of #TaluGasMob at DinDaeng on 11 September 2021 (11 citizens)||7 July 2022||Both suspects showed up at the protest and were only persons of interest that the police observed. From the observation, it showed that both suspects were not organizers of the protest. Most of the protestors wore masks and were not grouped together. Thus, the protest posed no risk to disease infection.|
|19||Participaters and observers of #TaluGasMob at DinDaeng on 18 September 2021 (Charnchai-Theerameth)||4 August 2022||Witnesses of the prosecutor could only testify that the two suspects showed up at the protest. There was no evidence indicating that both of them were organizers and there was no risk of infection. Charnchai was setting up an infirmary tent, which are activities related to medical treatment and public health. Thus, he was dismissed from the Emergency Decree violation charge according to Section 9.|
|20||#18AugustProtestAgainstTyranny at Democracy Monument on 18 August 2021||18 August 2022||Prosecutor did not press charges against violation of the Emergency Decree. The defendant was fined public roadblock and traffic obstruction.|
|21||The case of 37 “Chana” people protecting their land from the protest in front of the government house to demand the cease of the construction of the industrial district and the port for deep sea.||September 2022|
|22||The case of Chiang Rai Carmob|
“Chiang Rai people will not tolerate” on 1 August 2021
|8 September 2022||The public prosecutor did not indict on the basis of violating the Emergency Decree, violating to order of communicable disease from Chiang Mai province. For noise pollution, the case has expired.|
|23||The case of observers at Thalu Gaz protest at Din Daeng Intersection on 3 September 2021|
Emergency Decree violation cases that ruled guilty by the court verdict: At least 8 cases
|Order||Case||Date of Verdict||Reason Given by Court|
|1||#2November2020Protest at MRT Tha Phra (prosecuted for both the Emergency Decree and Public Emergency Act)||29 April 2022(Taling Chan Criminal Court)||The judge fined the defendant 5,000 baht as the court ruled that the defendant brought the megaphone to the protest and took care of the protestors. Many protests were mistaken that the defendant was one of the organizers . The protest was organized and peaceful but there was no notification sent to state authorities.|
|2||#15AprilProtest #WaterPouringOnPrayut Protests by Thalu Fah group in front of the government Parliament||27 May 2022 (Dusit District Court)||The court fined each defendant 2,000 baht as each defendant was not in compliance with COVID-19 safety measures due to the lack of social distancing and posed risks of disease transmission.|
|3||#SaveWanchalerm Protest at Skywalk Patumwan on 5 June 2020||12 July 2022 (Pathumwan District Court)||The court sentenced the defendants to 2 months imprisonment and 10,000 baht fine each with a suspended sentence of 2 years.The court ruled that the protest violated the Emergency Decree despite the lack of evidence.|
|4||#11AugustProtestAgainstDictatorship Protest at the Victory Monument on 11 August 2021 (7 citizens)||2 August 2022 (Criminal Court)||The court sentenced the defendants to one year imprisonment (suspended sentence of 3 years) and a 20,000 baht fine each. The court ruled that even though the event occured in an open aired location where there is no risk of COVID-19 transmission and the defendant did not organize the events, the defendants are found guilty because they have participated in an event with more than 5 people – which violated the decree that ensured the peace of the nation.|
|5||10th anniversary remembrance event against Red Shirt rallies in front of the Bangkok Art Gallery on May 19, 2020 (Mrs. Tossaphon Sereerak and Anurak Janetavanich are the defendants in this case. Lawyers from the Office of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission provided legal assistance)||9 August 2022 (Pathumwan Distruct Court)||The court ruled that even though the defendants argue that the Decree progulmated goes against the constitution, the defendants did not go to the constitutional court to raise their concerns and thus, the claims are invalid. Therefore, both defendants are found guilty. However, the merits of the event were in favor of public interest for helping people affected by COVID-19, therefore the sentence was reduced to 2 years imprisonment with suspension.|
|6||The case of protest at Udomsuk intersection to Bangna Intersection on 1 November 2020||31 August 2022 ( Phra Khanong Criminal Court)||The court ordered a 5,000 baht fine for each defendant on the basis of violating the Emergency Decree, 200 baht fine for using a sound amplifier without a permit. |
The sentence is reduced to 2,600 for the defendants’ useful testimony.The court ruled that the protest did not follow the mandate from the government. Even though the plaintiff’s witness
held no evidence that the three defendants were the protest organizer but three of them have taken turns giving a speech.
The court read that the speakers also have the responsibility to keep the protest in order following covid-19 prevention measures.
Even though there was no contamination of covid-19 following the protest, there was still the circumstance of risk.
|7||The case of protest in front of Nation building on Bangna-Trad Road on 29 October 2020||31 August 2022 ( Phra Khanong Criminal Court)||The identical ruling of the case above, Udomsuk-Bangna Intersection protest.|
|8||The case of protest ‘3 September 2021 Mob’ at Ratchaprasong Intersection.||5 September 2022 |
(Ratchada Criminal Court)
|The court ruled that two of the defendants were found guilty even though there was no evidence that they were the protest organizaer.|
Participating in the protest violates the Emergency Decree, with or without the disease prevention measures or
whether there is any infected individual following the protest. The court ordered a fine of 20,000 each but reduced to 13,333.33 baht for their useful testimony.
Interesting cases where the prosecutor dismiss the charges
|Order||Case||Charge||Date of Verdict||Reason Given by Court|
|1||Suchart Junkaew carried a sign, asking for Prayut’s resignation at Pak Kret Pier on September 30, 2021||Not following orders and going against authorities, causing troubles and annoyance||27 December 2021||The suspect has no tendency to incite chaos and annoyance. The suspect has not taken the sign out of his bag, which showed that the action was not yet committed. The police arrested the suspect without any legal authority. Thus, the suspect is free from the charges.|
|2||The case of “Nai Phon’ of (Democracy Restoration Group -DRG) was charged with inviting people to participate in the protest in July-August 2021 which violates the law of the nation.||Section 116 (Sedition)||September 2022||The evidence is not sufficient to identify the defendant as neither the Administrator of DRG Facebook page nor the publisher of the accused statement.|
Even though there is a picture of the defendant in the protest and invited people during life streaming but there was no statement that incites people to sedition.