On 5 February 2018, eleven villagers and students from Payao, northern Thailand, were summoned and subjected to eleven hours of interrogation without legal counsel. They were accused of violating the Head of the NCPO Order no. 3/2558, charges that relate to their support to the “We walk Solidarity Walk” on 5 February. Other three villagers were summoned but did not show up at the Police Station.
Among the 14 alleged offenders are 11 villagers (mostly senior citizens, including a young mother) and three students from a university in Chiang Rai. The eleven have now been released on bail.
Protection International urges the international community in Thailand and the UNOHCHR to:
- Call on Thai authorities to drop charges against 22 HRDs of WeWalk (which targeted 8 activists and recently 14 villagers and students).
- Follow-up the case of 14 HRDs in Payao police, as well as to observe and show solidarity to the 8 HRDs have been summoned at Klong Luang police on 26 February.
- Communicate to the Military Prime Minsiter and the Royal Thai government to respect human rights, justice and democratic principles, and not hinder or suppress the legitimate actions of the participants of the “We Walk…Solidarity” action. The government must instead fully protect the participants in the exercise of their rights, until the end of this action.
- Support the National Human Rights Commissioner, Mrs Angkhana Neelapaijit, and support Ilaw, Enlaw, TLHR, HRLA, TVS, PI and their teams who are monitoring the situation on the ground.
- Guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders in Thailand are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions, including judicial harassment.
About the “We Walk…Solidarity” movement:
We Walk…Solidarity is a movement created by different actors in Thailand in order to enable the sharing of experiences freely. The We Walk…Solidarity action consists of a 28-days-long route that started at Thammasat University (Rangsti) on 20 January 2018 and will finish on 17 February 2018.