Skip to main content

Charges filed against Cross-Cultural Foundation (CrCF) Director Pornpen Khongkachonkiet for participating in a panel discussion about enforced disappearance in July 2021 have been dropped.

Pornpen was charged with obstructing traffic and violation of the Public Cleanliness and Sound Amplifier acts for speaking at a panel discussion and memorial event for victims of enforced disappearance, held on 4 July 2021 on the street next to Government House. During the discussion, Pornpen spoke about the anti-torture and enforced disappearance bill, which was waiting to go before parliament at the time.

Pornpen was later charged with refusing to follow an officer’s order because she refused to be fingerprinted when she reported to the police to hear her charges.

Four other people, including Phattaranit Yaodam, Senior Policy and Advocacy Officer at Amnesty International Thailand, were also charged. However, they decided to pay a fine of 700 baht each when they first reported to the police in August 2021 instead of fighting the charges in court.

The Dusit District Court ruled on Monday (7 August) to dismiss all charges against Pornpen on the grounds that, as a guest speaker, she was not responsible for how the event was organized, including setting up the stage, preparing sound equipment, or cleaning up after the event, since these are the responsibility of the organisers, who have already paid their fines.

The Court said that, based on witness testimony, Pornpen was invited to speak at the event as a legal expert, and was not involved in setting up the event. There is also no evidence that she knew that the organizers set up the stage without permission from the authorities, so the Court gave her the benefit of the doubt and dismissed the charges of obstructing traffic and violation of the Public Cleanliness and the Sound Amplifier acts.

The Court also dismissed the charge of refusing to follow an officer’s order on the grounds that the police can only force an individual to be fingerprinted if there is no other way of identifying them. It is also not true that the public prosecutor will not accept a case without all 10 fingerprints from the accused. Since Pornpen told the inquiry officer that she had previously been fingerprinted in another case, provided him with her citizen ID number, and reported to the police when she was summoned, while the inquiry officer had no reason to believe someone else was impersonating her at the police station, there was no need for her to be fingerprinted for identification purposes.

Prachatai English's Logo

Prachatai English is an independent, non-profit news outlet committed to covering underreported issues in Thailand, especially about democratization and human rights, despite pressure from the authorities. Your support will ensure that we stay a professional media source and be able to meet the challenges and deliver in-depth reporting.

• Simple steps to support Prachatai English

1. Bank transfer to account “โครงการหนังสือพิมพ์อินเทอร์เน็ต ประชาไท” or “Prachatai Online Newspaper” 091-0-21689-4, Krungthai Bank

2. Or, Transfer money via Paypal, to e-mail address: [email protected], please leave a comment on the transaction as “For Prachatai English”