Lawyer of NDM student activists to be charged for defending her clients

Lawyer of NDM student activists to be charged with criminal charges for filing a false police report and failure to comply with officer’s order for refusing to let officers search vehicle without warrant and for filing charges of misconduct against police

Today (2 February 2016), Miss Sirikan Charoensiri, lawyer from the Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) and one of legal representatives of the 14 student activists of the New Democracy Movement (NDM), received summons from the Chanasongkram Police Station to report to police on 9 February 2016 at 10:00 am, for being informed of criminal charges; offences related to making false police report and refusing to comply with an order of competent official. The accuser is Pol. Col. Suriya Chamnongchok, an inquiry officer in the case of the 14 NDM student activists.

The case has originated from the prosecution of the 14 NDM student activists who staged demonstrations agains the junta on 25 June 2015 at the Democracy Monument and subsequent arrest of them on 26 June 2015. Miss Sirikan Charoensiri was present as one of the student activists’ lawyers during all 14 students were arrested and had followed them to the Phra Ratchawang Police Station, then to the Bangkok Military Court for the hearing to remand the students. The hearing in the military court was conducted during 22.00 to 00.30 and was not open to public but only involved parties which included a team of lawyers. Hence, the 14 accused students needed to leave their belongings with their lawyers before being sent to prisons after the military court approved an order to remand them for 12 days. The lawyers had to keep all the students’ belongings in the car Miss Sirikan Charoensiri which was allowed to park in front of the military court building.

After representing the 14 students and the lawyers were leaving the court, police officers led by Pol. Lt. Gen. Chayapol Chatchaiyadetch requested to search Miss Sirikan’s car in order to search her car, claiming to look for mobile phones of the 14 student activists. Miss Sirikan refused to consent to a warrantless search. In addition, the police failed to provide reasonable answers as to what police wanted from the mobile phones and why they did not request to examine the phones since the time of the arrest where the students had been under police control since 17.00 until 00.30. Hereafter, the police impounded her car over the night until in the afternoon of 27 June 2015 when police later came with a court warrant.

Earlier in the morning of 27 June when Miss Sirikan went to the Chanasongkram Police Station to file a complaint for malfeasance against Pol.Lt. Gen. Chayapol Chatchayadetch and others for illegally impounding her car, the police refused to accept the complaint and in the meantime another police team searched her car with a warrant. Five phones belonging to her clients were seized as evidence. When she tried to file a complaint again, a senior investigator told her that the police had power to search her car and suggested that if she filed a complaint, it would not finish there and that the police would consider countering with some form of legal action against her.

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Thai Criminal Code

Section 172 Whoever, giving any false information concerning a criminal offence, which may likely cause injury to the other person or the public, to the Public Prosecutor, official conducting cases, inquiry official or any official who has the power to investigate the criminal cases, shall be punished with imprisonment not exceeding two years or fined not exceeding four thousand Baht, or both.

Section 368 Whoever, being informed of an order of an official given according to the power invested bylaw, refuses to comply with the same without any reasonable cause or excuse, shall be punished with imprisonment not exceeding ten days or fined not exceeding five hundredBaht, or both.If such order is an order authorized by law requiring a person to assist in carrying on the activities in the function of an official, the offender shall be punished with imprisonment not exceeding one month or fined not exceeding one thousand Baht, or both.

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For more background, please see related links;

Thailand: immediately end harassment and intimidation of human rights lawyer Sirikan Charoensiri

Thailand: Judicial harassment of human rights defenders and democracy activists; harassment of human rights lawyers and advocates | Statement

Thailand : Arbitrary detention and judicial harassment against 14 student activists with the Neo Democracy Movement and threats and harassment against TLHR lawyer, Ms. Sirikan Charoensiri

Thailand Lawyer Sirikan Charoensiri harassed

 

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