August 9th, 2014. Loei, Thailand – After months of rising tension and serious security threats, some 33 villagers from communities of Thailand’s Loei province are now facing potential judicial action in 7 lawsuits filed by gold mining operator Thung Kham Limited Company (TKL).
On July 29th, a Loei court accepted the lawsuits and decided to proceed with initial hearings of the 7 civil lawsuits filed by TKL against the villagers. The trial cases mainly accuse villagers of property intrusion and damage to the company’s property at Phuthapfa mine, and demand for compensation.
Amidst these hearings, the Loei community continues to ask for a follow up on the criminal lawsuit it filed with police following the 15th May attack by unidentified gunmen on villagers. However there have been no signs of any progress with the investigation.
Proceedings for the first two trials (Por 974/2556 and Por 859/2556) will be held the week of 18-22 August. These cases concern 20 villagers from whom TKL seeks up to 700 million THB (2.2 million USD).
In order to protect the Loei community members from additional pressure and security threats, Protection International calls on the Human Rights community and general public to observe and monitor these first trials for procedural oversights and evaluate the verdict’s implications.
*For a full briefing on the situation affecting community-based human rights defenders in Loei, Thailand, download the attached briefing note.
*Learn more about PI’s Protection Desk in Thailand by visiting its webpage.