Calls for Thailand to end trials of civilians in military courts

Four Thai activists to face military court in ‘landmark case’ – businessinsider.com, March 16, 2015
…The four are Arnon Numpa, 30, a rights lawyer, Sirawith Seritiwat, 24, a student, Punsak Srithep, 48, an activist whose son was killed in a 2010 army crackdown on anti-government protesters and Wannakiet Choosuwan, 36, a taxi driver.
They held a pro-election demonstration in February and set up mock voting tables.
Arnon also faces additional charges under a tough computer crime laws for Facebook messages he posted…

Malaysia, Thailand, and now Indonesia: Twisting rule of law mars the region – March 17, 2015
…There are some larger regional consequences in all of this. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) has tenaciously fought for its place as the geopolitical hinge between East and South Asia, and an important player in Asia-Pacific economic and security diplomacy. In doing so, it has had to repeatedly finesse issues like Cambodia’s authoritarian leadership, Myanmar’s struggle with democratic transition, Vietnam’s stubbornly anachronistic one-party state, and even impeccably incorruptible Singapore’s regular misuse of defamation laws to neutralise political opponents…

Thailand: Drop Charges Against Peaceful Critics – End Trials of Civilians in Military Courts – hrw.org, March 17, 2015
…As a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), Thailand is obligated to uphold and take measures to ensure basic fair trial rights. Governments are prohibited from using military courts to try civilians when civilian courts can still function. The Human Rights Committee, the international expert body that monitors state compliance with the ICCPR, has stated in its General Comment on the right to a fair trial that “the trial of civilians in military or special courts may raise serious problems as far as the equitable, impartial and independent administration of justice is concerned.” This is particularly problematic in Thailand where every element of military courts functions within the Defense Ministry’s chain of command, which has been controlled by the NCPO since the coup…

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