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By Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA), Bangkok |
<p>&nbsp;(SEAPA/IFEX) - On 5 March 2009, Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva turned down an international call for the reform of l&egrave;se-majest&eacute; law but hinted some amendment to the enforcement of the law could be considered to allow for expression of academic opinions.</p>
<p>AHRC - It was reported on Sunday, March 8 that according to the Prime Minister of Thailand, Abhisit Vejjajiva, the arrested director of the independent news agency Prachatai is entitled to make a complaint if she feels that the police action against her was unjustified. The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has already condemned in the strongest possible terms the raid on the Prachatai office and arrest of its director on March 6 on charges under the country&#39;s draconian computer new law (<a href="" target="_blank">AHRC-STM-051-2009</a>). According to the Bangkok Post, the prime minister said that the arrest was a matter of law enforcement, but that the accused director, Chiranuch Premchaiporn had a right to complain if she thinks otherwise. </p>
<p><span>Somchai Neelapaichit has been missing since 12 March 2004, when he was last seen in Bangkok being forced into a car with a group of men. At the time of his disappearance, he was Chairman of the Muslim Lawyers Association and Vice-Chairman of the Human Rights Committee of the Law Society of Thailand, and was representing five Muslims accused of terrorism-related activities in the Southern provinces. Five years on, the investigation into the circumstances of his enforced disappearance remains incomplete and the whereabouts of his body are still unknown.</span></p>
<p><span>At the Police Crime Suppression Division in Bangkok, Prachatai Director Chiranuch Premchaiporn was granted bail with Chantana Banpasirichote, political science lecturer from Chulalongkorn University, as guarantor.<span>&nbsp; </span>Chiranuch is being finger printed and filing her criminal record.</span></p>
By Pr |
<p>On March 6, at 3 pm, seven police officers visited Prachatai office in Bangkok, showing a search warrant and an arrest warrant for Chiranuch Premchaiporn, Prachatai Director.<span> </span>She is charged with the offense according to Article 15 of the Computer Crime Act.<span> </span>She has refused to answer any questions, and is waiting for her lawyer.</p>
By Prachatai |
<p><span>Chuwat Rerksirisuk, Prachatai editor, says he has yet to see details of the charge against Prachatai Director Chiranuch Premchaiporn, but only knows that comments posted by readers and left displayed on the web-board led to the arrest.<span>&nbsp; </span></span></p>
By The Nation |
<p>The Nation - Crime Suppression police raided news online office of Prachatai on Friday, arresting web director for allegedly violating computer law by allowing the lese majeste comments posted on the webboards.&nbsp; Director Jeeranuch Premchaiyaporn&#39;s computer was also confiscated during the raid.</p>
<p><span>Social activist and former Senator Jon Ungpakorn says that the Prachatai website was created when Thaksin was Prime Minister, because the Thaksin administration, though elected, consistently interfered in and kept control of the media.<span>&nbsp; </span>Prachatai reported on the insurgency in the southern border provinces to let the public know that the violence came not only from the insurgents, but also from the state under the Thaksin government.<span>&nbsp; </span>Although currently the media have relatively more freedom than after the coup in 2006, the arbitrary interpretation of the l&egrave;se majest&eacute; law has brought back an atmosphere of restricted freedom.<span>&nbsp; </span>The law has been broadly applied to the extent that just a call to abolish or revamp the law is itself deemed l&egrave;se majest&eacute;.</span></p>
By Reporters Without Borders |
<div><span><strong>Christoph M&uuml;ller</strong></span><span>, a leading Swiss TV reporter and producer, was handcuffed and arrested on arrival in Thailand on 27 February. He was freed on bail 24 hours later but the police confiscated his passport and he is forbidden to leave the country until further notice.</span></div>
By Prachatai |
<p>On Feb 24, Prawase Prapanukul, lawyer for political activist Daranee Charncherngsilpakul aka Da Torpedo, who has been detained on l&egrave;se majest&eacute; charges, said that on Feb 23 he had requested the Criminal Court to temporarily release Daranee, and was denied. This was the second attempt to seek bail for the accused pending trial, and previously a few attempts to seek bail while she was in police custody had also failed. However, he said he would request bail again soon.</p>
<p><span>We, legislators from the different member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), gathered in Cha-am, Thailand, on February 28, 2009, hereby announce the formation of an ASEAN Legislative Caucus on Rights and Free Expression, with the aim of protecting and promoting our core values of democracy, human rights and free expression in the ASEAN Community, and ensuring their substance and realization under the ASEAN Charter and the ASEAN Human Rights Body.</span></p>
<p>Asian Network for Free Elections (ANFREL-Foundation) has supported the promulgation of the ASEAN Charter for promoting democracy and constitutional government. Article 1.7 of the Charter clearly states that the regional body will be working &ldquo;&hellip;to strengthen democracy, enhance good governance and the rule of law, and to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms, with due regards to the rights and responsibilities of the Member States of ASEAN&hellip;&rdquo;. <br /></p>