Amnesty calls for end of all criminal proceedings against "MBK 39" protesters

19 February 2018


Peaceful protesters in Thailand are at risk of arrest and up to eight years’ imprisonment as authorities seek to silence calls for authorities not to delay promised elections.


Authorities have cracked down on individuals, including student activists and supporters of the political opposition, who were at a peaceful pro-democracy protest on 27 January 2018 where around 100 individuals gathered on a walkway outside the MBK Centre, a central Bangkok shopping centre. Criminal proceedings against 39 individuals who were present at the protest, including alleged observers have been initiated by authorities.


All 39 individuals face criminal proceedings under charges allowing for up to one year’s imprisonment for violating two laws that excessively restrict the right to peaceful assembly – a ban by executive order of gatherings of five or more persons for “political” purposes, and a prohibition of public gatherings within 150 metres of a royal palace under the Public Assembly Act (2015).


Nine individuals, including student anti-coup activist Rangsiman Rome, lawyer Anon Nampa, political and opposition activists Ekkachai Hongkangvan, Sirawith Seritiwat and Sombath Boonngamanong, also face charges of sedition, allowing for up to seven years’ imprisonment for their alleged part in the organization of the peaceful assembly. Members of the group already face multiple charges for exercising their right to freedom of expression after military authorities took power in a coup in May 2014.


Please write immediately in Thai or your own language urging the authorities to:

  • Immediately end all criminal proceedings against 39 individuals who have been charged in connection to a peaceful assembly and not penalise others who may have participated on 27 January outside the MBK Centre in Bangkok; 
  • Uphold and protect the rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association and lift restrictions they have imposed on the peaceful exercise of these rights;
  • Sop targeting individuals with criminal proceedings for the peaceful exercise of their rights, and to amend legislation to conform to international law and standards or repeal legislation used to penalise them, including the Head of National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) Order 3/2015; Public Assembly Act (2015) and Article 116 of the Penal Code on sedition.


Prime Minister
Gen. Prayut Chan-O-Cha
Head of ISOC
Government House
Pitsanulok Road, Dusit
Bangkok 10300, Thailand
Fax: +66 2282 5131
Salutation: Dear Prime Minister


Commissioner General of Royal Thai Police
Pol. Gen Chakthip Chaijinda
Royal Thai Police Headquarters,
Rama 1 Road, Pathum Wan,
Bangkok 10330, Thailand
Fax: +66 2251 4739 
Salutation: Dear Commissioner General


And copies to:
Minister of Justice
Suwaphan Tanyuvardhana 
Ministry of Justice Government Centre Building A Chaengwattana Road Bangkok 10210, Thailand 
Fax: +66 2953 0503