Shame on Amnesty’s double standards-PPT

November 23, 2009

Questioning Amnesty International’s double standards

Political Prisoners in Thailand: November 21, 2009

Also available as สงสัยในสองมาตรฐานขององค์กรนิรโทษกรรมสากล

Yesterday PPT posted on the Asian Human Rights Commission statement on the use of the Computer Crimes Act as a substitute for the lese majeste law and Reporters Without Borders released a report the day before criticizing the use of this other laws that limit expression.

PPT assumes that because these “crimes” are political and related to the monarchy in Thailand, that Amnesty International will say nothing. That has been its “policy.”

But what are they doing elsewhere? On 16 November 2009, there was this:

Urgent Action 308/09 – Prisoners of conscience – Bloggers Jailed in Azerbaijan: URGENT ACTION APPEAL – From Amnesty International USA

Two “activists and bloggers” are said by AI to “have been sentenced to two and a half years and two years respectively in an unfair trial. Amnesty International believes the charges against them were fabricated and they have been imprisoned solely for exercising their right to freedom of expression.” One of the men posted “a satirical video … criticizing the Azerbaijani government … on the video-sharing website YouTube.”

Interestingly, in this case, the men are jailed on charges that don’t relate to their postings. However, AI considers them prisoners of conscience because the government has targeted them for their political views.

So can anyone at Amnesty International explain why Thailand is different for the organization? How is the jailing of people in Thailand different? PPT sees that the details are different. In fact, the use of the law is harsher in Thailand (jailing for 20 years, reduced to 10 – Suwicha Thakor) and being held for long periods without bail (Suwicha and Nat Sattayapornpisut), but political “crimes” are very similar. Indeed, in Thailand a special law has been created to facilitate intimidation and to allow for people to be “imprisoned solely for exercising their right to freedom of expression.” That law was put in place by an illegitimate, military-backed government. The trials of these Thais could never be considered fair.

We wonder how it is that Amnesty International feels comfortable operating with such double standards.

Readers may want to ask AI, but be aware that emailing AI produces, in PPT’s experience, no response at all: Amnesty International USA, 600 Pennsylvania Ave SE 5th fl, Washington DC 20003, Email:,, Phone: 202.544.0200, Fax: 202.675.8566

One Response to “Shame on Amnesty’s double standards-PPT”

  1. I think you are right to criticise AI for not doing enough to combat the spate of politically motivated arrests in Thailand.

    But if you’ll permit me, it’s a bit hard for AI to act, when all they hear is that Thais revere a certain US born gentleman over there in Bangkok.

    How about a bit more honesty from Thai people. They can’t chuck all of you in prison at once, you know.

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