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Judicial Harassment against Sirikan Charoensiri

Status: 
Charged
About the situation

On 2 August 2017, human rights lawyer Sirikan Charoensiri was informed of charges pressed against her for allegedly submitting a false report to the police under Sections 172 and 174 of the Thai Criminal Code. In total, Sirikan Charoensiri is currently facing three different legal proceedings, all linked to her work as a human rights lawyer, and which could carry up to 15 years' imprisonment.

About Sirikan Charoensiri

Sirikan Charoensiri Sirikan Charoensiri is a human rights lawyer who works with Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR). She is one of the legal representatives of the 14 student activists from the New Democracy Movement (NDM), who were arrested on 26 June 2015 after staging peaceful protests to mark the first anniversary of the military coup, which took place in May 2014.

9 August 2017
Sirikan Charoensiri charged with “false reporting” in latest instance of judicial harassment

On 2 August 2017, human rights lawyer Sirikan Charoensiri was informed of charges pressed against her for allegedly submitting a false report to the police under Sections 172 and 174 of the Thai Criminal Code. In total, Sirikan Charoensiri is currently facing three different legal proceedings, all linked to her work as a human rights lawyer, and which could carry up to 15 years' imprisonment.

Sirikan Charoensiri is a human rights lawyer who works with Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR), where she provides legal services in high-profile human rights cases on a pro bono basis. She is one of the legal representatives of the 14 student activists from the New Democracy Movement (NDM), who were arrested on 26 June 2015 after staging peaceful protests to mark the first anniversary of the military coup, which took place in May 2014. In April 2017, she was the first woman to receive the Lawyers for Lawyers Award from the eponymous Dutch civil society group.

On 2 August 2017, Sirikan Charoensiri reported to the Chanasongkram police station in Bangkok and was informed that she was charged with allegedly submitting a false report to the police in violation of Sections 172 and 174 of the Thai Criminal Code. These charges, which Sirikan Charoensiri denies, were filed against her after she submitted a complaint of malfeasance in office against the Commander of the Metropolitan Police Bureau 6, and other police officers for illegally impounding her car on 27 June 2015. On that day, police seized Sirikan Charoensiri’s vehicle without a warrant in order to confiscate the mobile phones of the members of the New Democracy Movement, which were in the car. The defender declared that she would submit a written statement before 30 September 2017. The charges carry a penalty of up to 5 years in jail.

Earlier that day, the public prosecutor of Dusit District Prosecutor Office rescheduled the reading of the indictment decision in a separate case against Sirikan Charoensiri. The hearing was postponed to 20 November 2017 at 09:30. A case file was registered against the human rights lawyer in May 2016 under Sections 142 and 368 of the Thai Criminal Code for concealing evidence and refusing to comply with official orders, respectively.

Sirikan Charoensiri is also facing sedition charges under Section 116 of the Thai Criminal Code as well as violating the NCPO Order no. 3/2015, banning political gatherings of five persons or more. These charges are the same as those faced by the 14 student activists of the New Democracy Movement whom she represents. If indicted in this case, she will be tried in a military court and will face up to seven years’ imprisonment.

Front Line Defenders condemns the systematic judicial harassment against human rights defender Sirikan Charoensiri, which it believes is solely motivated by her peaceful and legitimate work as a human rights lawyer in Thailand, and urges the Thai authorities to drop all charges against her.

27 October 2016
Continuous judicial harassment against Sirikan Charoensiri

On 22 October 2016, human rights defender Ms. Sirikan Charoensiri reported to the Samranrat Police Station in Bangkok to be informed of the status of the postponed cases of sedition and political assembly offences filed against her.

Sirikan Charoensiri is a human rights lawyer who works with Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR). She is one of the legal representatives of the 14 student activists from the New Democracy Movement (NDM), who were arrested on 26 June 2015 after staging peaceful protests to mark the first anniversary of the military coup, which took place in May 2014.

On 22 October 2016, Sirikan Charoensiri reported to the Samranrat Police Station in Bangkok to be informed of the status of the repeatedly postponed case brought against her for a sedition offence under Section 116 of the Thai Criminal Code, as well as a violation of the Head of the NCPO Order no. 3/2015, banning political gatherings of five persons or more. The inquiry officer informed Sirikan Charoensiri that she has been charged for being an accomplice in the coup commemoration protest organized by the New Democracy Movement (NDM) at the Democracy Monument on 25 June 2015 and for not allowing her car be searched, as well as for carrying the belongings of student activists. Sirikan Charoensiri has denied all charges against her, and stated that she was present at the coup commemoration to offer legal service to her clients, the NDM student activists.

Sirikan Charoensiri is currently facing two other legal proceedings. One is again related to refusing to comply with an order of competent officials, regarding her vehicle, after she refused to let the officials search it without a warrant for the second time on 27 June 2015, highlighting the extent of the arbitrary nature of the judicial harassment against the human rights defender. This occurred after the 14 student activists from NDM were arrested and taken to the Court, and the police sought to confiscate their mobile phones which were in Sirikan Charoensiri’s car, but she refused, claiming that the police did not have a warrant to search her vehicle. Sirikan Charoensiri will report to the public prosecutor of the Department of Summary Litigation 3, Dusit on 3 November 2016 following the third postponement of the prosecution hearing. The human rights lawyer has also received a summons for offences related to submitting a false report to the police in response to her filing a complaint of malfeasance in office under Article 157 of the Thai Criminal Code regarding the aforementioned case on 27 June 2015. However, the inquiry officer could not identify the false information as accused, and there has been no further progress on that case.

Front Line Defenders condemns the ongoing judicial harassment of human rights defender Sirikan Charoensiri and calls upon Thai authorities to drop all charges against her. Front Line Defenders strongly believes that the judicial harassment against her is directly linked to her peaceful and legitimate work as a human rights lawyer in Thailand.

 

4 October 2016
Judicial Harassment against Sirikan Charoensiri

On 29 September 2016, human rights defender Ms Sirikan Charoensiri reported to the Dusit District Prosecutor’s Office in Bangkok for a hearing on prosecution order under Articles 142 and 368 of the Thai Criminal Code for propagating false accusations against investigating officers and disobeying police orders. The prosecutor has decided to reschedule the meeting due to ongoing investigation of witnesses and evidence, marking the third postponement of the prosecution hearing. Sirikan Charoensiri will report to the public prosecutors at the Department of Summary Litigation 3, Dusit, at 9.30 am on 3 November 2016.

This is the third postponement of the hearing of prosecution order. The first hearing was set on 12 May 2016. Then it was rescheduled on 27 July 2016. Later, the meeting was postponed to 29 September 2016.

Sirikan Charoensiri is now facing accusations of violation of the sedition offence under Section 116 of the Thai Criminal Code, as well as violation of the Head of the NCPO Order no. 3/2015, banning political gatherings of five persons or more. She was previously summoned to report to the Samranrat Police Station on 27 September 2016. Since she only became aware of the summons upon her return to Thailand from attending the UN Human Rights Council Session in Geneva on 26 September, the police will issue a summons with a rescheduled reporting date.

Front Line Defenders condemns the ongoing judicial harassment of human rights defender Sirikan Charoensiri and calls upon Thai authorities to drop all charges against her. Front Line Defenders strongly believes that the judicial harassment against her is directly linked to her peaceful and legitimate work as a human rights lawyer in Thailand.

 

19 May 2016
Formal charges pressed against human rights lawyer Sirikan Charoensiri

On 12 May 2016, the prosecutor of Dusit District Court, Bangkok informed human rights defender Ms Sirikan Charoensiri, that police investigators have requested to press charges against her under Articles 142 and 368 of the Thai Criminal Code for propagating false accusations against investigating officers and disobeying police orders. The final decision on whether or not to indict her will be made on 27 July 2016.

On 2 February 2016, Sirikan Charoensiri received a summons ordering her to report to Chanasongkram Police Station in Bangkok on 9 February 2016. The human rights defender is accused of objecting to a search of her car by police officers on the night of 27 June 2015 in front of the Military Court of Bangkok, after the 14 student activists from NDM were arrested and taken to the Court. The police wanted to confiscate the mobile phones of some of the activists which were in Sirikan Charoensiri’s car, but she refused, claiming that the police did not have a warrant to search her vehicle.

In addition to Article 142 and 368, the police also investigated her under Articles 172 and 174 of the Criminal Code for allegedly hiding evidence and refusing to cooperate with police officers. However, police have not as of yet requested charges under these articles.

Front Line Defenders condemns the ongoing judicial harassment of human rights defender Sirikan Charoensiri and calls upon Thai authorities to drop all charges against her. Front Line Defenders strongly believes that the judicial harassment against her is directly linked to her peaceful and legitimate work as a human rights lawyer in Thailand.

9 February 2016
Judicial harassment of human rights defender Sirikan Charoensiri

On 2 February 2016, human rights defender Ms Sirikan Charoensiri received a summons ordering her to report to Chanasongkram Police Station in Bangkok on 9 February 2016. The human rights defender is accused of making a false police report and refusing to comply with an order of a competent official.

Authorities ordered her to appear at Chanasongkram Police Station for questioning, in relation to charges brought against her by Mr Suriya Chamnongchok, an investigating officer in the case of the 14 NDM student activists. The human rights defender had been accused of objecting to a search of her car by police officers on the night of 27 June 2015, and filing a false police report accusing the police of malfeasance in office under Article 157 of the Thai Criminal Code.

On 27 June 2015, police officers searched the car of Sirikan Charoensiri after presenting her with a court order. During the search, the police seized mobile phones belonging to the 14 NDM student activists, which had been placed in the human rights lawyer's car before the student activists were detained a day earlier.

The search came after the human rights defender had tried to lodge a complaint at Samranrat Police Station against Mr Chayapol Chatchaidej, commander of the Sixth Division of Metropolitan Police Bureau, and his subordinates, who had confiscated her car without an official arrest warrant on 26 June 2015. On that date, police officers led by Chayapol Chatchaidej locked one of the wheels of her car where it was parked in front of the Bangkok Military Court, sealed its doors and surrounded it with a metal fence. The incident took place after the human rights defender had refused to allow the police to search her car without an official search warrant. Officers at Samranrat Police Station refused to accept the human rights defender's complaint and threatened her with legal action in response.

Front Line Defenders condemns the judicial harassment of human rights defender Sirikan Charoensiri, which it believes to be directly linked to her peaceful and legitimate work as a human rights lawyer in Thailand.