Police decided to file the case against the NDM’s attorney with the public prosecutor for preventing car search, the indictment decision by the prosecutor to be announced later pending the request from the attorney to have more witnesses examined

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Ms. Sirikan Charoensiri(middle) with representatives from the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) , representatives from the Swedish Embassy to Thailand and her legal team.

On 12 May 2016, the Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR)’s attorney, Ms. Sirikan Charoensiri, has met with the public prosecutor at the Department of Summary Litigation 3 (Dusit), Bangkok, in a case she is alleged to have concealed the evidence and have disobeyed the order of the competent official after being instructed to do so, the violation of the Penal Code’s Section 142 (imprisonment not exceeding three years) and Section 368 (imprisonment not exceeding one month). Previously, the inquiry official has concluded the investigation and decided to press ahead with charging her. The public prosecutor has decided to reschedule the meeting to 27 July 2016 at 9.30 to let her know if the case will be indicted or not, pending the examination of more witnesses.

Around 11.30, while reporting herself, Ms. Sirikan has submitted a letter of petition to the public prosecutor describing circumstantial evidence and legal opinion that the police officials attempted to search her car on after midnight on 27 June 2015 without a court warrant and that the acting police officials did not have power and authority in the location where the alleged crime happened. As a result, Ms. Sirikan had file a police complaint against the police officials for abusing their office in violation of Section 157 of the Penal Code (malfeasance in the office) after they tried to conduct a warrantless search and had impounded her car over night. If the accused found to be guilty per the malfeasance charge, it would prove that Ms. Sirikan had not committed the offence as alleged. In addition, the legal action against her has originated from her performing the duty to protect the rights of her clients. And such legal action will simply do disservice to the country’s image. In her letter of petition, she also asked for more witnesses to be examined including members of the New Democracy Movement (NDM), her clients, Ms. Sirikan herself, Ms. Yaowalak Anuphan, the Head of the Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) and the inquiry official who had received the case reported by her for accusing that the police had committed malfeasance.

In addition, representatives from the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) in Thailand including Mr. Sam Zarifi and, representatives from the Swedish Embassy to Thailand were also present to observe the procedure. According to them, the case has drawn much attention at the international level since it involves the performance of duties of attorney who acts to defend the right to judicial system.

Meanwhile, the public prosecutor of the Department of Summary Litigation 3 (Dusit), Mr. Panupong Charoenying, had explained to the observers that initially, the public prosecutor has to determine as to which jurisdiction of the Court this case belongs. Then they will look into the facts and legal issues per the investigation report and the letter of petition. The case shall be handled by a team led by him. Nevertheless, this case is an important case according to the regulation of the Office of the Attorney General. Therefore, the person who will have the final decision about the indictment of the case shall be the Director General of the Department of Summary Litigation and the announcement of the decision concerning the indictment shall be made on 27 July 2016 at the Department of Summary Litigation 3 (Dusit). Meanwhile, more witnesses shall be examined by the public prosecutor. And the indictment has to be made at the approval of the Attorney General.

Ms. Sirikan Charoensiri is a lawyer from the Thai Lawyers for Human Rights and one of the legal representatives for the 14 activists from the New Democracy Movement (NDM). On the night of 26-27 June 2015, after finishing her duty of providing legal assistance to the 14 activists at the Bangkok Military Court, Sirikan was requested by police officials to search her car to confiscate some mobile phones, which the students left with the lawyers before being brought to the prisons. Sirikan refused to let her car be searched, since the officials did not present a search warrant, and there was no justifiable evidence to conduct the search without a warrant at night. The officials then impounded her car overnight, and brought a court warrant to conduct the search on 27 June 2015. Sirikan later filed a complaint of malfeasance, under Section 157 of the Thai Criminal Code, against Pol.Lt. Gen. Chayapol Chatchayadetch and others for illegally impounding her car. Consequently, the police filed complaints against her, accusing her of refusing to comply with an official order without any reasonable cause or excuse after being informed of an order of an official given according to the power invested by law, and an offence of concealing or making away of property or document ordered by the official to be sent as evidence or for execution of the law, under Sections 368 and 142 of the Thai Criminal Code, and an offence of giving false information concerning a criminal offence to an inquiry official to subject an individual to a punishment under Sections 172 and 174 of the Criminal Code.At this time, Ms. Sirikan is not charged by police with two offences of filing a false police report. However, it is probable that the police will summon her to inform the charges again.

 

More information

 

Thai human rights lawyer gave additional statement, insisted on her right to refuse to consent to warrantless search of her car

On 5 March 2016, Ms. Sirikan Charoensiri (June), one of legal representatives for the 14 New Democracy Movement activists, reported to the inquiry official to submit an additional statement and more evidence for the case which she was accused of refusing to comply with a competent official and concealing evidence, relating to the incident at night of 26 June 2015 when she did not allow police to search her car and seize her clients’ phones without warrant. Mr. Kritsadang Nutcharus, the leader of the legal representatives, also gave a testimony as a witness. อ่านเพิ่มเติม

Update on Sirikan Charoensiri’s case: Inquiry official will file the charge to await the prosecution order

 

3 March 2016, Ms. Sirikan Charoensiri received a summon warrant to report herself to the inquiry official at the Chana Songkram Police Station in order to be handed over to the special prosecutor in litigious division at the 3rd Sub District Court (Dusit) on 4 March 2016. The lawyer team will submit a request to postpone the date to 9 March, the date which was formerly fixed, and Sirikan will give an additional statement to the inquiry official on 5 March and 7 March at the Police Station.

Ms. Sirikan Charoensiri, a lawyer from Thai Lawyers for Human Rights, was accused by police officer for refusing to comply with a competent official (Article 368 of the Criminal Code) and concealing evidence (Article 142 of the Criminal Code). This was related to the incident which Sirikan did not allow the officers to search her car without warrant in the night of 26 – 27 June 2015. She had been informed of the charge on 9 February 2016.

On 1 March 2016, Sirikan’s lawyer team had negotiated with the inquiry official of the Chana Songkram Police Station that Sirikan will give an additional statement as an alleged offender. In her defense, Mr. Kritsadang Nutcharus, one of the lawyers, will give a statement as a witness on 5 March 2016 at 9.00. Also, Mr. Anon Nampa and Ms. Ida Arunwong will give a statement as witnesses on 7 March 2016. The witness statement will be submitted alongside with the file to the prosecutor on 9 March 2016

However, today (3 March 2016) Sirikan received a summon warrant calling her to report to the inquiry official in order to be handed over to the special prosecutor in litigious division at the 3rd Sub district Court (Dusit) on 4 March 2016 at 10.00 , together with the inquiry official’s file requesting the prosecution order. Her lawyer team will file a request to have the dates fixed on 5, 7, and 9 March 2016 as originally agreed, and will file a motion to drop her charges to the prosecutor.

It should be noted that so far there is no update on the offence of giving false information concerning a criminal offence, which may likely cause damages to the other person or the public (Articles 172 and 174 of the Criminal Code) in relation to Sirikan having filed a complaint for malfeasance against police officers for illegally impounding her car.

 

The Observatory calls on the Thai authorities to drop all charges against Ms.Sirikan, from the organization Thai Lawyers for Human Rights

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), has received new information and requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Thailand.

New information:

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the ongoing judicial harassment against Ms. Sirikan Charoensiri, a human rights lawyer with the organization Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR), in connection with her work representing 14 activists of the Neo Democracy Movement (NDM).

According to the information received on February 2, 2016, Ms. Sirikan received a police summons dated January 29. The summons directed her to report to Bangkok’s Chanasongkram police station at 10:00 am on February 9, 2016, to hear criminal charges filed against her under Sections 172 (filing a false police report) and 368 (failure to comply with official orders) of the Criminal Code.

The charges are the result of a lawsuit filed by Ms. Sirikan against Thai police for “malfeasance” in June 2015. The lawsuit alleges that the police unduly obstructed her work as a lawyer. At the time Ms. Sirikan filed the lawsuit, a senior police officer had threatened her to file a counter suit against her.

The Observatory strongly condemns the judicial harassment against Ms. Sirikan, which is a blatant and calculated attempt to thwart her legitimate work as a human rights lawyer.

The Observatory calls on the Thai authorities to drop all charges against Ms. Sirikan, as well as against the 14 student activists, and to repeal decrees issued by the the Head of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) that fail to comply with international human rights standards.

Link:
Thailand: Ongoing judicial harassment against Ms. Sirikan Charoensiri, from the organization Thai Lawyers for Human Rights

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