Thailand: Amnesty urges the authorities to promptly bring to justice the perpetrators who attacked Ja New-Ford-Ekachai

3 July 2019

Amnesty International

Photo : Yostorn Triyos

3 July 2019 – a representative of Amnesty International Thailand submitted an open letter to Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan, and handed over the same letter to Commissioner-General of the Royal Thai Police, to urge the authorities to investigate violent attacks on three activists and to protect the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. Deputy Commissioner of the Special Branch Police Pol Maj Tanai Apichartsenee and Deputy Commander of Administrative and Civil Cases, Legal and Litigation Department, Pol Col Komsan Sukmak acted as representatives to receive the letter for the Royal Thai Police.


Regional Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific Nicholas Bequelin, who signed the letter, reveals that the scale of the attacks on political activists and human rights defenders in Thailand is alarming. The assaults appear to fit a pattern of systematic violence timed to coincide with their efforts to draw attention to perceived election irregularities and problems relating to the formation of a new government. They and other activists have also reported receiving threats of physical harm and harassment linked to their activism.  


Amnesty International urges the Thai government to exercise due diligence to prevent the attacks, and to investigate and punish the perpetrators. Given the apparent failures to date to identify suspected perpetrators in the attacks on Sirawith Seritiwat, Anurak Jeantawanich and Ekachai Hongkangwan.”


Nicholas adds that the government must make public information on the progress and findings of any investigations, and to share information with the victims on the methods and procedures to investigate attacks in a prompt and consistent manner.



We therefore urge the Royal Thai government to carry out prompt, effective, impartial and independent investigations into all incidents detailed in the letter, and to prosecute those suspected of responsibility for these attacks in trials that meet international standards of fairness.”


Piyanut Kotsan, Amnesty International Thailand’s Director, who submitted the letter to the police representatives, welcomes the police’s agreement to receive the letter. She further reiterates the importance of safety and security of activists, and urges the Thai authorities to take effective measures to protect the activists from any harm and to uphold their rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.  


 “The government must ensure people can exercise their rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly without fear of harassment, retaliation or reprisal, and stop using criminal charges to obstruct the exercise of these rights.”



Amnesty International Thailand’s Director also notes that the three activists face multiple criminal proceedings for having exercised their rights to free expression and peaceful assembly, including under charges of sedition, violating the Public Assembly Act, and violating the ban on “political” gatherings of five or more persons, all of which constitute unjustifiable interferences with their rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. 


 “The Thai authorities must take appropriate measures in compliance with Thailand’s international human rights obligations to protect human rights defenders. Preparation must be made to respond to an urgent request for protection from human rights defenders. When any attack and intimidation takes place, the police must promptly bring to justice the perpetrators,” said Piyanut.


After receiving Amnesty’s letter, Pol Maj Tanai Apichartsenee, Deputy Commissioner of the Special Branch Police, states that he believes that all personnel – including the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister – are concerned about the attacks and wish to launch a full investigation. The Commissioner-General has personally taken a look at the case, seeing that it garners interest from Amnesty International and the public. [The police] will not let this pass like previous incidents. We are aware that previous attacks are currently under investigation. Seeing that the casefiles have been compiled, he believes that the public will further be made aware of any developments. We are receiving the letter from Amnesty International, and relaying the message to the Commissioner-General to order responsible personnel to continue the investigation. We thank Amnesty International for taking up and expressing concerns about the case.



For more information, please contact;

Naowarat Suesa-ard
Media and Communication Coordinator, Amnesty International Thailand

Phone: 089-922-9585
Line ID: nong539081



Open Letter (Thai)

Open Letter (English)