Thailand: Constitutional Court denies access to documents on a landmark ruling on 3 pro-democracy defender (Update)Event
- Initial Date
- Dec 15, 2021
- Event Description
The Constitutional Court has denied a request to copy several documents used as evidence in the ruling that protesters’ calls for monarchy reform is treasonous, claiming national security, says Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR). After
the 10 November 2021 ruling that the calls for monarchy reform and monarchy-related activities organized by Anon Nampa, Panussaya Sitthijirawattanakul and Panupong Jadnok are treasonous, the activists’ lawyer requested to see the case file and copy every document related to the case. However, the Court refused to allow copies to be made of several documents used in the case.
TLHR said that the lawyer went to receive the copies of the documents on 15 December. They then found that most of the documents the Court allowed them to copy were documents that they already have, such as the complaint filed against the activists by lawyer Natthaporn Toprayoon, the activists’ defence and court declarations, the recordings of each hearing, the Court’s final ruling, and each judge’s opinions, most of which have already been made public.
However, they were not allowed to make copies of documents the Court requested from various government agencies, such as the Royal Thai Police, the National Intelligence Agency, the National Security Council, Thammasat University, and Khlong Luang Police Station. The Court claimed that these documents were confidential and related to national security, and the lawyer is not allowed to check or even record the titles of the documents.
TLHR noted that these documents were the main evidence the Court used to back its ruling that the three activists’ actions can be considered as an attempt to ‘overthrow’ the democratic form of government with the King as Head of State. However, the defendants have never been allowed to see or copy these documents in order to prepare their defence.
On the day of the hearing, despite the lawyer’s request, the Court did not allow Anon, Panusaya and Panupong to be summoned to testify along with several other witnesses, claiming that it has enough evidence to rule on the case and that it has already sent all related documents to the defendants.
The activists also requested that several academics be summoned as witnesses, including historians Nithi Eoseewong and Charnvit Kasetsiri, legal scholar Khemthong Tonsakulrungruang, and writer Sulak Sivarak. However, none of these witnesses were given a chance to testify.
Realizing that they were not being given a fair chance to defend themselves and bring their own witnesses to the stand, the three activists and their legal team walked out of the courtroom as an act of protest. The ruling was then made without them being present.
- Impact of Event
- Gender of HRD
- Denial Fair Trial
- Judicial Harassment
- Rights Concerned
- Freedom of assembly
- Freedom of expression
- Right to fair trial
- Right to Protest
- Pro-democracy defender
- Monitoring Status
- Summary for Publications
On 15 December 2021, the lawyers of Anon Nampa, Panussaya Sitthijirawattanakul, and Panupong Jadnok, pro-democracy defenders, were denied access to most of the documents pertaining a ruling by the Constitutional Court that defined the HRDs' activities are considered anti-constitutional and aimed to overthrow the monarchy in Bangkok, Thailand.