Thailand: prominent pro-democracy WHRD arrested again, bail deniedEvent
- Initial Date
- Oct 7, 2021
- Event Description
The Observatory has been informed about the arbitrary detention and ongoing judicial harassment of Ms. Benja Apan, a student and pro-democracy activist with the United Front of Thammasat and Demonstration (UFTD) , on lèse-majesté charges in relation with the August 10, 2021 pro-democracy protest.
On October 7, 2021, Benja Apan was arrested at the Lumpini Police Station, Bangkok, where she had gone to hear a charge of violating the Emergency Decree for participating in a pro-democracy protest on September 3, 2021, at Bangkok’s Ratchaprasong intersection. The police arrested Ms. Benja on the basis of another outstanding arrest warrant issued against her under Article 112 of the Thai Criminal Code (“lèse-majesté”) , the Emergency Decree , and the Communicable Diseases Act. These charges stem from Ms. Benja’s participation in a pro-democracy protest on August 10, 2021, in front of the Sino-Thai Tower building on Asoke Road in Bangkok, during which she gave a speech that criticized the government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and called for the reform of the Thai monarchy. Later on October 7, police took Ms. Benja to Bangkok’s Thong Lo Police station where she was detained overnight after being denied bail.
On October 8, 2021, Benja Apan appeared before the Bangkok South Criminal Court, which denied her bail arguing that the offenses of which she is accused carry a heavy penalty and that she previously committed the same offenses. Benja Apan was then taken to the Central Women’s Correctional Institution in Bangkok, where she was still being detained at the time of publication of this Urgent Appeal. Ms. Benja is currently facing a total of six charges under Article 112 of the Criminal Code and she could face up to 90 years in prison, if tried and found guilty on all counts.
The Observatory notes with concern that between November 24, 2020, and October 8, 2021, 150 people, including many human rights defenders, were charged under Article 112 of the Thai Criminal Code. Some of them - Anon Nampa, Parit Chiwarak, Panupong Chadnok, and Jatuphat Boonpattararaksa - remain detained pending trial.
The Observatory condemns the arbitrary detention and judicial harassment of Benja Apan, Anon Nampa, Parit Chiwarak, Panupong Chadnok and Jatuphat Boonpattararaksa,which seem to be only aimed at punishing them for their legitimate human rights activities and the exercise of their rights to freedom of expression and of peaceful assembly.
The Observatory calls on the Thai authorities to immediately and unconditionally release the five human rights defenders and to put an end to the judicial harassment against them and all other human rights defenders in the country.
- Impact of Event
- Gender of HRD
- (Arbitrary) Arrest and Detention
- Denial Fair Trial
- Judicial Harassment
- Rights Concerned
- Freedom of assembly
- Right to fair trial
- Right to liberty and security
- Right to Protest
- Pro-democracy defender
- Monitoring Status
- Event Location
- Event Location
- Summary for Publications
On 7 October 2021, Benja Apan, prominent pro-democracy WHRD, was arrested by the police on royal defamation charges for her role in a pro-democracy protest held in August, where she also criticised the COVID-19 outbreak handling, and had the bail denied later that day in Bangkok, Thailand.