112 Scholars call for action on Article 112 and 2007 Computer Crimes Act

September 4, 2011

[CJ Hinke of FACT comments: Even just a year ago, most of us in Thailand would have been afraid to sign such a letter. In some Royalist circles, such an effort might still be seen as disloyalty. I am proud to be a signer against lèse majesté censorship and political prisoners. And I now have even Noam Chomsky for company.]

 

H.E. Yingluck Shinawatra

Prime Minister

Government House

Pitsanulok Road, Dusit

Bangkok 10300 Thailand

August 31, 2011

 

Dear Prime Minister

 

112 Scholars call for action on Article 112 and 2007 Computer Crimes Act

 

Following the 19 September 2006 coup, we the undersigned 112 international scholars have been concerned by the diminution of the space for the free exchange of ideas in Thailand. We note with concern several pressing human rights issues, including political prisoners and unresolved questions of accountability for violence.

 

Since April-May 2010, we watched essential freedoms constricted, with a number of new arrests and charges brought under Article 112 of the Criminal Code and the 2007 Computer Crimes Act.

 

We welcome your acknowledgment of the seriousness of abuses connected to Article 112. However, we note with concern that while cases of prominent figures may be covered by the media, there are many cases where government and media have been silent. Many individuals appear to be in pre-charge detention and others have been charged and refused bail while awaiting trial. In addition, we are concerned to note that charges under these laws have continued to be filed in the past few weeks.

 

Statistics from the Office of the Attorney General last year show the number of new lese majeste cases received by prosecutors have doubled since 2005; statistics from the Office of the Judiciary

show a much more dramatic increase.

 

We are very concerned that explicitly political cases are continuing to be processed. For example, Mr. Somyos Preuksakasemsuk was detained for 84 days before formal charges were recently filed. In this case, much like in the case against Prachatai webmaster Ms. Chiranuch Premchaiporn, Mr. Somyos is being prosecuted not for anything he said or did himself, but on the basis of someone else’s writing in a publication he edited. In the case of U.S. citizen Joe

Gordon, he too was held for 84 days before the recent filing of formal charges. The Criminal Court has repeatedly denied bail requests for Mr. Somyos and Mr. Gordon.

 

Recent statements and petitions by academics and writers in Thailand and the U.S. Embassy statement on Mr. Gordon’s case reflect mounting domestic and international concern regarding

these kinds of cases.

 

Detention and intimidation of other citizens, is symptomatic of a broader set of practices which threaten human rights and the future of democracy in Thailand. We take this opportunity to respectfully request that you:

 

1) undertake a thorough review of all arrests and prosecutions of Article 112 and the 2007 Computer Crimes Act, and related provisions;

 

2) initiate procedures that would grant bail to those currently incarcerated under Article 112 and the 2007 Computer Crimes Act so that they are able to adequately prepare legal defenses; and

 

3) review Article 112 and the 2007 Computer Crimes Act, and related provisions, and establish mechanisms that eliminate the political abuse of these laws.

 

Respectfully yours,

 

Adadol Ingawanij, Senior Research Fellow, University of Westminster, United Kingdom

Dennis Altman, Professor, LaTrobe University, Australia

Dennis Arnold, Postdoctoral Fellow, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, U.S.A.

Aileen S.P. Baviera, Professor, University of the Philippines Diliman, Philippines

Peter F. Bell, Emeritus Professor, State University of New York, U.S.A.

Katherine Bowie, Professor, University of Wisconsin-Madison, U.S.A.

Shaun Breslin, Professor, University of Warwick, United Kingdom

Andrew Brown, Lecturer, University of New England, Australia

Joseph A. Camilleri, Professor, La Trobe University, Australia

Toby Carroll, Senior Research Fellow, National University of Singapore, Singapore

William Case, Professor, City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Dae-oup Chang, Senior Lecturer, School of Oriental and African Studies, United Kingdom

Noam Chomsky, Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, U.S.A.

John Clark, Professor, University of Sydney, Australia

Peter A. Coclanis, Professor, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, U.S.A.

Michael Connors, Associate Professor, LaTrobe University, Australia

Vicki Crinis, Research Fellow, University of Wollongong, Australia

Thomas Davis, Lecturer, University of Melbourne, Australia

Heather D’Cruz, Adjunct Research Associate, Curtin University, Australia

Richard F. Doner, Professor, Emory University, U.S.A.

Jamie Doucette, Lecturer, University of British Columbia, Canada

Bjoern Dressel, Research Fellow, Griffith University, Australia

Mark Driscoll, Associate Professor, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, U.S.A.

John S. Dryzek, Professor, Australian National University, Australia

Nancy Eberhardt, Professor, Knox College, U.S.A.

Grant Evans, Fellow, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Nicholas Farrelly, Research Fellow, Australian National University, Australia

Federico Ferrara, Assistant Professor, City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Robert Fisher, Senior Lecturer, University of Sydney, Australia

David Fullbrook, Graduate student, National University of Singapore, Singapore

Arnika Fuhrmann, Research Scholar, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Paul Gellert, Associate Professor, University of Tennessee at Knoxville, U.S.A.

Kristi Giselsson, Research Associate, University of Tasmania, Australia

Jim Glassman, Associate Professor, University of British Columbia, Canada

Mikael Gravers, Associate Professor, Aarhus University, Denmark

Geoffrey C. Gunn, Professor, Nagasaki University, Japan

Tyrell Haberkorn, Research Fellow, Australian National University, Australia

Vedi Hadiz, Professor, Murdoch University, Australia

Shahar Hameiri, Postdoctoral Fellow, Murdoch University, Australia

Annette Hamilton, Professor, University of New South Wales, Australia

Adam Hanieh, Lecturer, School of Oriental and African Studies, United Kingdom

Eva Hansson, Senior Lecturer, Stockholm University, Sweden

Rachel Harrison, Reader, School of Oriental and African Studies, United Kingdom

Paul Healy, Senior Lecturer, University of New England, Australia

Steve Heder, Lecturer, School of Oriental and African Studies, United Kingdom

Michael Herzfeld, Professor, Harvard University, U.S.A.

Kevin Hewison, Professor, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, U.S.A.

Allen Hicken, Associate Professor, University of Michigan, U.S.A.

C.J. Hinke, Independent scholar, Freedom Against Censorship Thailand, Thailand

Philip Hirsch, Professor, University of Sydney, Australia

Thomas Hoy, Lecturer, Thammasat University, Thailand

Caroline Hughes, Associate Professor, Murdoch University, Australia

Paul D. Hutchcroft, Professor, Australian National University, Australia

Feyzi Ismail, Doctoral candidate, School of Oriental and African Studies, United Kingdom

Søren Ivarsson, Associate Professor, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Kanishka Jayasuriya, Professor, University of Adelaide, Australia

Lee Jones, Lecturer, Queen Mary College, United Kingdom

Patrick Jory, Senior Lecturer, University of Queensland, Australia

Arne L. Kalleberg, Professor, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, U.S.A.

Charles Keyes, Professor Emeritus, University of Washington, U.S.A.

Damien Kingsbury, Professor, Deakin University, Australia

H. Ruediger Korff, Professor, University of Passau, Germany

John Langer, Honorary Fellow, Victoria University, Australia

Tomas Larsson, Lecturer, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom

Laurids Sandager Lauridsen, Professor, Roskilde University, Denmark

Peter Leyland, Professor, London Metropolitan University, United Kingdom

Samson Lim, Doctoral candidate, Cornell University, U.S.A.

Peter Limqueco, Co-editor, Journal of Contemporary Asia, Philippines

Robert Manne, Professor, La Trobe University, Australia

Thomas Marois, Lecturer, School of Oriental and African Studies, United Kingdom

Mary Beth Mills, Professor, Colby College, U.S.A.

Daniel Bertrand Monk, Professor, Colgate University, U.S.A.

Michael Montesano, Visiting Research Fellow, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore

Paolo Novak, Lecturer, School of Oriental and African Studies, United Kingdom

Chris Nyland, Professor, Monash University, Australia

Rene Ofreneo, Professor, University of the Philippines Diliman, Philippines

Pavin Chachavalpongpun, Fellow, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore

John Pickles, Professor, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, U.S.A.

Piya Pangsapa, Senior Lecturer, The University of the West Indies, Trinidad & Tobago

Pongphisoot Busbarat, Research Associate, Australian National University, Australia

Poowin Bunyavejchewin, Graduate student, University of Hull, United Kingdom

Prajak Kongkirati, Doctoral candidate, Australian National University, Australia

Preedee Hongsaton, Doctoral candidate, Australian National University, Australia

Rajah Rasiah, Professor, University of Malaya, Malaysia

Craig J. Reynolds, Professor, Australian National University, Australia

David Rezvani, Visiting Assistant Professor, Trinity College, U.S.A.

Garry Rodan, Professor, Murdoch University, Australia

Eric Sheppard, Professor, University of Minnesota, U.S.A.

elin o’Hara slavick, Professor, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, U.S.A.

Johannes Dragsbaek Schmidt, Associate Professor, Aalborg University, Denmark

Gavin Shatkin, Associate Professor, University of Michigan, U.S.A.

Mark Smith, Senior Lecturer, The Open University, United Kingdom

Claudio Sopranzetti, Doctoral candidate, Harvard University, U.S.A.

Andrew Spooner, Doctoral candidate, Nottingham Trent University, United Kingdom

Irene Stengs, Senior Researcher, Meertens Institute, The Netherlands

Geoffrey Stokes, Professor, Deakin University, Australia

David Streckfuss, Independent scholar, Thailand

Janet Sturgeon, Associate Professor, Simon Fraser University, Canada

Donald K. Swearer, Emeritus Professor, Swarthmore College, U.S.A.

Eduardo Climaco Tadem, Professor, University of the Philippines Diliman, Philippines

Teresa S. Encarnacion Tadem, Professor, University of the Philippines Diliman, Philippines

Michelle Tan, Independent Scholar, U.S.A.

Nicholas Tapp, Professor Emeritus, Australian National University, Australia

Thongchai Winichakul, Professor, University of Wisconsin-Madison, U.S.A.

Robert Tierney, Lecturer, Charles Sturt University, Australia

Serhat Uenaldi, Doctoral candidate, Humboldt-University of Berlin, Germany

Andrew Vandenberg, Senior Lecturer, Deakin University, Australia

Joel Wainwright, Assistant Professor, Ohio State University, U.S.A.

Andrew Walker, Senior Fellow, Australian National University, Australia

Meredith Weiss, Associate Professor, University at Albany, SUNY, U.S.A.

Marion Werner, Assistant Professor, University at Buffalo, U.S.A.

Ingrid Wijeyewardene, Lecturer, University of New England, Australia

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