Campaign against A112 still in high gear-CCAA 112

March 19, 2012

Dear international supporters in solidarity with the Campaign Committee to Amend Article 112 (CCAA 112) in Thailand,

It has been a little over a month since the release of the letter that all of you signed in support of the struggle and work of our colleagues in Thailand to amend Article 112 of the Thai Criminal Code. While it may be impossible to gauge the precise impact of the letter, it primarily has served as a sign of solidarity and support to our colleagues. Prime Minister Yingluck did not reply, but several members of her government did reply with criticism. A series of links to English- and Thai-language coverage of the letter are listed below.

In the last month, our colleagues in the CCAA 112 continued to collect signatures and speak and exchange ideas publicly, but other action challenging repression under Article 112 has taken place and various royalists inside and outside the state have responded with harassment and violence.

Notably, beginning with the son of a lese majeste defendant currently undergoing trial [Somyos Pruksakasemsuk], tens of people carried out hunger fasts in front of the Criminal Court in Bangkok to call for bail to be granted to those facing charges or undergoing trial for alleged violations of Article 112. In nearly all cases, the Criminal Court has denied bail on the basis that the crime in question is a serious crime of national security and the defendants are flight risks.  Given the pace of the Thai judicial system, this means that a person might be detained for up to a year before his or her trial begins, and then another year while the trial is taking place, and then several more years while an appeal takes place. Those accused and convicted of violent crimes are routinely granted bail.  Despite the large number of people fasting, the judges have refused to budge on the issue of bail. In addition to the fast, events about the amendment of Article 112 have taken place around the country and are ongoing. Interest is growing, despite the dangers of dissenting.

One signal of the dangers of dissenting can be seen in the physical assault of Professor Worachet Pakeerut, one of the seven law lecturers in the Khana Nitirat who drafted the amendment to Article 112 that the CCAA 1112 is using as the basis of their campaign.  On 29 February, he was assaulted in front of the Faculty of Law at Thammasat University by two young men. The next day, the two young men confessed to the police.  Prachatai online newspaper reported that one of the young men claimed that he attacked Professor Worachet because he “disagreed with Nitirat which is running a campaign on Article 112.” The two men pled guilty and were quickly prosecuted for the assault, and given prison sentences of three months [reduced from six months as they confessed, per the Thai Criminal Procedure Code]. They were granted bail, however, while they appeal the decisions. A series of articles on the assault of Professor Worachet is included below also, as are several additional resources.

Thank you again for signing the solidarity letter in support of our colleagues in Thailand working to amend Article 112. I suspect that the work needed to make the amendment possible, and to end repression in the name of securing loyalty to the monarchy, will need to continue for a long time.

 

Very best wishes,

for justice,

tyrell haberkorn

Selected coverage of the letter in English:

Prachatai, 1 February 2012, “Over 200 international scholars, writers, and activists support the call to reform Article 112,” http://prachatai.com/english/node/3025

Nation, 1 February 2012, “Some 224 international scholars back Campaign 112,” http://www.nationmultimedia.com/politics/Some-224-international-scholars-back-Campaign-112-30174946.html

Freedom Against Censorship Thailand (FACT), 1 February 2012, “Over 200 international scholars, writers, and activists support the call to reform Article 112,” https://facthai.wordpress.com/2012/02/01/over-200-international-scholars-writers-and-activists-support-the-call-to-reform-article-112

Freedom Against Censorship Thailand (FACT), 1 February 2012, “International academics petition Thai PM to amend lèse majesté laws, free political prisoners,” https://facthai.wordpress.com/2012/02/01/intl-academics-petition-thai-pm-to-amend-lese-majeste-laws-free-political-prisoners/

Nation, 2 February 2012, “Foreign-based academics, experts back Nitirat group,” http://www.nationmultimedia.com/politics/Foreign-based-academics-experts-back-Nitirat-group-30175000.html

Bangkok Post, 2 February 2012, “Calls mount to overhaul 112,” http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/local/277887/calls-mount-to-overhaul-article-112

Bangkok Post, 2 February 2012, “ ‘No need’ to respond to academics,” http://www.bangkokpost.com/breakingnews/277992/section-112-proposal-downplayed

Reuters, 2 February 2012, “Chomsky, scholars urge Thai reform of lese majeste law,” http://in.reuters.com/article/2012/02/02/thailand-lesemajeste-idINDEE81105J20120202

TVNZ, 2 February 2012, “Noam Chomsky urges Thai PM to revise laws,” http://tvnz.co.nz/world-news/noam-chomsky-urges-thai-pm-revise-laws-4710195

Nation, 3 February 2012, “Govt distances itself from Nitirat,” http://www.nationmultimedia.com/politics/Govt-distances-itself-from-Nitirat-30175088.html

Suluck Lamubol, 4 February 2012, Prachatai, “In conversation: Tyrell Haberkorn and Kevin Hewison,” http://prachatai.com/english/node/3033

Pavin Chachavalpongpun, 7 February 2012, South China Morning Post, “Thai University Row Raises Fear of Violence,” http://web1.iseas.edu.sg/?p=6903

Amnesty International, 9 February 2012, “Protect academic freedom at university,” http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/ASA39/001/2012/en/87c9f233-dfd9-410d-8ade-d2a56456cde9/asa390012012en.html

Suluck Lamubol, 10 February 2012, University World News, “Government slams international academics’ support for lèse majesté reform,” http://www.universityworldnews.com/article.php?story=20120210184634868

Selected coverage of the letter in Thai:

กรุงเทพธุรกิจ, 1 ก.พ. 2555, “224รายชื่อ หนุนนิติราษฎร์แก้ม.112,” http://www.bangkokbiznews.com/home/detail/politics/politics/20120201 /433455/224รายชื่อ-หนุนนิติราษฎร์แก้ม.112.html

ประชาไท, 1 ก.พ. 2555, “นักวิชาการ นักเขียน และนักกิจกรรมทางสังคมนานาชาติกว่า 200 คน ลงชื่อหนุนแก้ม.112,” http://prachatai.com/journal/2012/02/39045

มติชน, 1 ก.พ. 2555, “224 นักวิชาการ-นักเขียน-นักกิจกรรมทางสังคมนานาชาติ หนุนนิติราษฎร์,” http://www.matichon.co.th/news_detail.php?newsid=1328080119

มติชน, 1 ก.พ. 2555, “224ปัญญาชนต่างชาติหนุนครก.112, “เกษียร” ตอบทำไมคนว่านิติราษฎร์ล้มเจ้า, ข้อคิดของ “เหยื่อ 6 ตุลา,” http://www.matichon.co.th/news_detail.php?newsid=1328087947&grpid=01&catid=01

คม ชัด ลึก, 1 ก.พ. 2555, “’224นักวิชาการ’หนุนนิติราษฎร์แก้ม.112,” http://www.komchadluek.net/detail/20120201/121848/224นักวิชาการหนุนนิติ ราษฎร์แก้ม.112.html

Voice TV, 1 ก.พ. 2555, “224 นักวิชาการทั่วโลก หนุนนิติราษฎร์,” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L2BXKJw-kX8

กรุงเทพธุรกิจ, 2 ก.พ. 2555, “’เฉลิม’ไล่นักวิชาการต่างชาติเสนอแก้ม.112,” http://www.bangkokbiznews.com/home/detail/politics/politics/20120202 /433758/เฉลิมไล่นักวิชาการต่างชาติเสนอแก้ม.112.html

Coverage in English of the assault on Professor Worachet Pakeerut:

Prachatai, 29 February 2012, “Lèse majesté leading campaigner physically assaulted,”

http://www.prachatai.com/english/node/3081

Nation, 1 March 2012, “Nitirat leader assaulted,” http://www.nationmultimedia.com/politics/Nitirat-leader-assaulted-30177018.html

Prachatai, 1 March 2012, “Rights Organizations Condemn Assault against Assoc. Prof. Worajet, core leader of Nitirat Group,” http://prachatai.com/english/node/3084

Prachatai, 1 March 2012, “Twins temporarily released after surrendering to police,” http://www.prachatai.com/english/node/3085

Prachatai, 1 March 2012, “ASTV-Manager readers’ comments about assault on Worachat,” http://www.prachatai.com/english/node/3083

Nation, 2 March 2012, “Chalerm: No conspiracy behind Worachet attack,” http://www.nationmultimedia.com/politics/Chalerm-No-conspiracy-behind-Worachet-attack-30177156.html

Asian Human Rights Commission, 5 March 2012, “THAILAND: Threats to political freedom intensify with assault on HRD and law professor,” http://www.humanrights.asia/news/ahrc-news/AHRC-STM-040-2012/

Pravit Rojanaphruk, 7 March 2012, The Nation, “Still no room for differing points of view,” http://www.nationmultimedia.com/politics/Still-no-room-for-differing-points-of-view-30177433.html

Prachatai, 9 March 2012, “Twins get jail terms,” http://www.prachatai.com/english/node/3093

Additional resources that may be of interest:

On 9 March 2012, a conference on ‘Democracy and Crisis in Thailand,’ organized jointly by McGill University, the Faculty of Political Science at Chulalongkorn University and Thailand Democracy Watch was held. The final panel of the conference was on the topic of ‘Monarchy and Democracy,’ with three excellent papers by David Streckfuss, Thongchai Winichakul, and Pavin Chachavalpongpun.They can be watched/listened to on Youtube at the below addresses:

** David Streckfuss, “Lese Majeste and Monarchies”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Rx7d181tiQ

** Thongchai Winichakul, “Hyper-royalism: It’s spells and its magic”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ptr0PVHYRx0

** Pavin Chachavalpongpun, “May Thainess Save the King: Lèse-majesté Law and Its Foreign Critics”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_DhDHyp5Dko

** Benedict Anderson’s keynote address, on “Modern Monarchies in Global Perspective,” may also be of interest: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IlOy4QpqfAA

Additional sites to follow for continued news on the general topic of lese majeste remain as follows:

Prachatai: http://www.prachatai.com/english

Political Prisoners in Thailand: http://thaipoliticalprisoners.wordpress.com

New Mandala: http://asiapacific.anu.edu.au/newmandala/

Freedom Against Censorship Thailand (FACT): https://facthai.wordpress.com

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