On 26 July 2016 at 1pm (ICT) three prominent human rights defenders in Thailand reported to the police to hear defamation and computer crimes accusations that have been brought against them by the Royal Thai Army. Ms Pornpen Khongkachonkiet, Ms Anchana Heemmina and Mr Somchai Homlaor were accused of these charges after co-editing a report that documents cases of alleged torture in detention in Thailand. The report, Torture and ill treatment in The Deep South Documented in 2014-2015, was published on 10 February 2016 and recorded 54 cases of inhumane treatment while in Thai detention.
We call on the Thai authorities to withdraw this unacceptable legal action against these anti-torture human rights defenders. Sign the petition at Change.org to support the withdrawal of criminal charges of Ms Pornpen Khongkachonkiet, Ms Anchana Heemmina and Mr Somchai Homlaor.
A statement released by over 70 Thai, regional and international civil society organisations and individuals in June 2016 expressed grave concerns regarding the legal action taken by the Royal Thai Army for criminal defamation and Computer Crimes Act violations against three human rights defenders.
The signatories call on the Royal Thai Army to:
• Immediately and unconditionally withdraw the legal action against Ms. Pornpen, Ms. Anchana, and Mr. Somchai. Such legal action against the legitimate work of HRDs is against the public interest;
• Ensure that no further retaliation is carried out or allowed to happen in the future against HRDs, ill-treatment and torture victims, their colleagues and families.
The signatories call on the Thai military government to:
• Respect the universally recognized rights, duties and obligations of everyone and organizations to highlight information about Human Rights violations and injustices to the public, as stated in the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders;
• Ensure that all persons affected by torture and other human rights violations receive justice, including first and foremost the right to complain which must be respected at all times;
• Ensure the implementations of recommendations it accepted during the recent UPR with regard to HRDs.