Description of the situation:
The Observatory has been informed of the arbitrary detention and judicial harassment of Ms. Tantawan Tuatulanona student pro-democracy activist associated with pro-democracy groups Draconis Revolution and Thalu Wang (Shattering the Palace).  Tantawan has advocated for the abolition of Article 112 of the Thai Penal Code (“lèse-majesté”) and the reform of the Thai monarchy. Tantawan has been charged with various criminal offenses (see below), including violating Section 112 of the Thai Penal Code in connection with two cases: 1) a public opinion survey on royal motorcades, which it led to Siam Paragon, in central Bangkok, on February 8. 2022; and 2) a Facebook live stream along the planned route of a royal motorcade in Bangkok on March 5, 2022.
On April 20, 2022, the Bangkok Criminal Court revoked Tantawan’s bail in his Facebook Live case, in line with a request from police at Bangkok’s Nang Loeng Police Station, who argued that the Tantawan’s persistent participation in events near the royal motorcade and posting 10 posts regarding the royal motorcades on Facebook amounted to breaches of his bail conditions.
The Bangkok Criminal Court justified its decision by ruling that the following three actions constituted violations of the conditions of his bail. First, on April 6, 2022, Tantawan waited for the royal motorcade near the statue of King Taksin the Great in Bangkok’s Khlong San district. However, Tantawan was held up at the COVID-19 screening checkpoint and was unable to approach the motorcade’s planned route. Second, on April 15, 2022, she participated in a protest against agents of the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security, immediately after the agents arrested three underage activists at a restaurant near the Democracy Monument in Bangkok, in the aim of preventing them from creating a commotion as the royal motorcade was due to pass through the area later the same day. Third, Tantawan posted 10 Facebook posts regarding issues with the royal motorcade.
Tantawan was then taken to the Central Women’s Correctional Institution in Bangkok, where she was still being held at the time of publication of this urgent appeal, pending the conclusion of the investigation. On April 20, 2022, Tantawan went on a hunger strike to protest his detention and the revocation of his bail.
Tantawan was initially charged by police under Section 112 on March 5, 2022, over a Facebook live she broadcast from Ratchadamnoen Road in Bangkok, which the royal motorcade was due to pass through on the same day. degrading terms” to describe the motorcade, and claimed she had insulted the officers providing security for the motorcade. Tantawan was later taken into custody at Phayathai Police Station in Bangkok, which had no jurisdiction over the incident.
On March 6, 2022, Tantawan was charged with five offences, under the following provisions: Article 112 of the Penal Code; Article 138 of the Penal Code (“resistance and threats to a police officer by force”); article 368 of the Penal Code (“resistance to the orders of a police officer”); Article 14(2) of the Computer Crimes Act (“electronic dissemination of false information that could threaten national security”); and Section 14(3) of the Computer Crimes Act (“publishing information electronically that could threaten national security”). Tantawan was later taken into custody at the Narcotics Control Board’s Narcotics Control Division Office in Bangkok.
On March 7, 2022, police asked the Bangkok Criminal Court to extend Tantawan’s detention and opposed her release on bail, arguing that her charges involved serious offenses and that she would pose a flight risk. However, Tantawan was conditionally released on a bail of 100,000 baht (about 2,690 euros). She was also ordered to wear an electronically monitored (EM) ankle bracelet.
The Observatory expresses its deepest concern over the arbitrary detention and judicial harassment of Tantawan Tuatulanon, which appears to be aimed solely at punishing her for her peaceful human rights activities and the exercise of her rights to freedom of expression. and freedom of peaceful assembly. The Observatory calls on the Thai authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Tantawan Tuatulanon and to put an end to the judicial harassment against her and all other human rights defenders in the country.
The Observatory notes that between November 24, 2020 and April 22, 2022, 188 people, including many human rights defenders and 15 minors, were charged under article 112 of the criminal code.
Please write to the Thai authorities asking them to:
I. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical integrity and psychological well-being of Tantawan Tuatulanon and all other human rights defenders and pro-democracy activists in Thailand, and ensure in all circumstances that they are able to carry out their legitimate activities without any hindrance or fear of retaliation;
ii. Immediately and unconditionally release Tantawan Tuatulanon, as her detention is arbitrary as it appears to be aimed simply at punishing her for her human rights activities, as well as all other human rights defenders and pro-democracy activists;
iii. End all acts of harassment, including at the judicial level, against Tantawan Tuatulanon, and all other human rights defenders and pro-democracy activists in the country;
iv. Guarantee in all circumstances the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, as enshrined in international human rights law, and in particular in Articles 19 and 21 of the International Covenant on Civil Rights and policies;
v. Refrain from using Article 112 of the Penal Code to target human rights defenders and pro-democracy activists.
● Mr. Prayuth Chan-ocha, Prime Minister of Thailand, Email: [email protected]
● Mr. Don Pramudwinai, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand, Email: [email protected]
● Mr. Somsak Thepsutin, Minister of Justice of Thailand, Email: [email protected]
● General Narongpan Jitkaewthae, Commander-in-Chief of the Army, Email: [email protected]
● Pol Gen Suwat Jangyodsuk, Commissioner General of Police, Email: [email protected]
● Ms. Pornprapai Ganjanarinte, National Human Rights Commissioner of Thailand, Email: [email protected], [email protected]
● HE Mr. Sek Wannamethee, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of Thailand to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Email: [email protected]
● Embassy of Thailand in Brussels, Belgium, Email: [email protected]
Please also write to the diplomatic representations of Thailand in your respective countries.
Paris-Geneva, April 22, 2022
Please let us know of any action taken by quoting the code for this appeal in your response.
The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997 by FIDH and the World Organization Against Torture (OMCT). The objective of this program is to prevent or remedy situations of repression against human rights defenders. FIDH and OMCT are both members of ProtectDefenders.eu, the European Union mechanism for human rights defenders set up by international civil society.
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