Thailand: Studentische Aktivisten wegen Beleidigung der Monarchie in einem Theaterstück verurteilt

RAN 05/15 – 24. Februar 2015

Quelle: PEN International

Quelle: PEN International

Am 23. Februar 2015 wurden die studentischen Aktivisten Pornthip Munkhong (26) und Patiwat Saraiyaem (23) zu jeweils zweieinhalb Jahren Gefängnis verurteilt, weil sie gegen das thailändische Majestätsbeleidigungsgesetz verstoßen haben sollen. Solche Anklagen  werden üblicherweise dazu verwendet, friedliche Stimmen des Widerspruchs mundtot zu machen. Berichten zufolge gab es seit dem Militärputsch vom 22. Mai 2014 einen bemerkenswerten Anstieg von Festnahmen, Gerichtsverfahren und Bestrafungen, die im Zusammenhang mit dem Majestätsbleidigungsgesetz stehen.

Der Prozess gegen Patiwat Saraiyaem und Pornthip Munkong gründet sich darauf, dass die beiden in einem Theaterstück über einen fiktiven Monarchen mit dem Titel „Wolf Bride“ (‘Jao Sao Ma Pa’) mitgespielt haben, das an der Thammasat Universität im Oktober 2013 aufgeführt wurde. Das Paar sitzt seit seiner Festnahme im August 2014 in Haft, nachdem wiederholt der Antrag auf Kaution abgelehnt wurde und sie sich im Dezember 2014 sogar schuldig bekannt haben, um so eine Strafmilderung zu erreichen.

Der internationale PEN International hält die Inhaftierung von Patiwat Saraiyaem und Pornthip Munkong für eine Verletzung der Artikel 9 und 19 des UN-Zivilpakts, den Thailand ratifiziert hat, und ruft zu ihrer sofortigen und bedingungslosen Freilassung auf.

Unternehmen Sie etwas! Bitte senden Sie Protestbriefe: 

  • Fordern Sie die sofortige und bedingungslose Freilassung der beiden Studierenden Patiwat Saraiyaem und Pornthip Munkong, da sie lediglich wegen der friedlichen Ausübung ihres Rechts auf freie Meinungsäußerung festgehalten werden, was eine Verletzung der Artikel 9 und 19 des UN-Zivilpaktes darstellt, den Thailand ratifiziert hat.
  • Drücken Sie Ihre ernsthafte Sorge um die Sicherheit von Schriftstellern, Akademikern und Aktivisten in Thailand aus, die lediglich wegen der friedlichen Äußerung ihrer Meinung in ständiger Gefahr vor Angriffen und Inhaftierungen leben.
  • Drängen Sie die Behörden dazu, das Strafgesetz abzuändern, insbesondere in Bezug auf das Majestätsbeleidigungsgesetz, um so sicherzustellen, dass es mit Thailands internationalen Verpflichtungen zum Schutze von freier Meinungsäußerung vereinbar ist.

Schreiben Sie an:

I.E. die Botschafterin von Thailand
Frau Nongnuth Phetcharatana
Königlich Thailändische Botschaft
Lepsiusstrasse 64-66
12163 Berlin

Solidarität zeigen!

Bitte senden Sie Nachrichten zur Unterstützung an Pornthip Munkhong und Patiwat Saraiyaem ins Gefängnis:

Pornthip Munkhong
Central Women’s Prison
33/3 Ngamwongwan Road
Lad Yao, Chatuchak
Bangkok 10900
Thailand

Patiwat Saraiyaem
Bangkok Remand Prison
33 Ngamwongwan Road
Lad Yao, Chatuchak
Bangkok 10900
Thailand

Hintergrund (bereitgestellt vom internationalen PEN)

The following case information is provided by The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC):

Patiwat Saraiyaem, age 23, a fifth year student and an activist in the Faculty of Fine and Applied Arts at Khon Kaen University, was arrested on 14 August 2014 in Khon Kaen province and is being held in the Bangkok Remand Prison. Pornthip Munkhong, age 25, a graduate of the Faculty of Political Science at Ramkhamhaeng University and an activist, was arrested on 15 August 2014 at the Hat Yai Airport, and is being held in the Central Women’s Prison. They have been held without bail, despite numerous requests, since their arrests and since being formally charged on 25 October with one count of violation of Article 112.

Article 112 of the Criminal Code stipulates that, “Whoever, defames, insults or threatens the King, the Queen, the Heir-apparent or the Regent, shall be punished with imprisonment of three to fifteen years.” The use of Article 112 is highly politicized and has frequently been used as a method of silencing dissenting voices, particularly in moments of regime crisis. Although this measure has been part of the Criminal Code since its last revision in 1957, there has been an exponential increase in the number of complaints filed since the 19 September 2006 coup; this increase has been further multiplied following the 22 May 2014 coup.

The case against Patiwat Saraiyaem and Pornthip Munkhong complaint is in relation to their participation in the performance of a play, ‘The Wolf Bride’ (Jao Sao Ma Pa) at Thammasat University in October 2013 on the fortieth anniversary of the 14 October 1973 people’s uprising. At the time of their arrests, the AHRC noted that their arrests for exercising their freedom of expression in a theatre performance was an indication of the ongoing criminalization of thought and expression in Thailand following the 22 May 2014 coup by the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) (AHRC-STM-157-2014; AHRC-STM-159-2014). Their continued detention is a daily reminder of the deepening human rights crisis put in motion by the coup (AHRC-STM-177-2014).  In this case, as well as other freedom of expression cases since the coup, the manner in which the two activists were charged more than a year after the alleged crime suggests that the past has become an open catalogue of acts and speech which can be criminalized in retrospect.

Military Coup

After nearly seven months of escalating political violence in Thailand, a military coup d’état led by General Prayuth Chan-ocha was declared on 22 May 2014. The coup has imposed martial law and a curfew, dissolved the Senate – the only remaining national government body with elected members – and taken on wide-ranging executive and legislative powers. Political gatherings have been banned and the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) has imposed strict censorship of the internet and control of the media.

Several television and radio stations were shut down in the early days after the coup though most have since resumed broadcasting.  Facebook was briefly blocked by the Information Communications Technology (ICT) Ministry at the request of the military on 28 May, although the military denied this. However, on 9 June, Telenor, the Norwegian telecoms company which runs Thai operator DTAC acknowledged that it had implemented an official request to block the site on 28 May. An interview with an anonymous journalist describing how journalists are self-censoring may be read here. On 25 May 2014 the NCPO issued order no 37 assigning jurisdiction to military courts for offences against the royal family (articles 107-112 of the Penal Code) and most offences against internal security (articles 113-118) as well as offences stipulated by orders of the NCPO. According to iLaw (Internet Dialogue on Legal Reform), which monitors freedom of expression in Thailand, 669 people have been summoned and 376 have been arrested under Article 112 since the coup.

Since the coup, scores of protesters and critics of the coup, including prominent politicians and academics, have been summoned to report to the army and at least a hundred have been arrested. They include journalists Thanapol Eawsakul, editor of the hard-hitting political magazine Fa Diew Kan (Same Sky) and Pravit Rojanaphruk, senior reporter of The Nation, who were both detained on 23 and 24 May after being summoned by the military. Rojanaphruk was released after a week, and an interview with him after his release may be read here.

Thirty-five prominent academics were summoned on 25 May, including the following scholars who advocate democracy and amendments to the lèse majesté law: Thammasat lecturers Somsak Jeamteerasakul, Worachet Pakeerut and Sawatri Suksri (the latter two of the Nitirat or Enlightened Jurists group); Suda Rangupan, a former Chulalongkorn University lecturer, and Pavin Chachavalpongpun, a professor of Southeast Asian studies at Kyoto University. Mr Pavin, a frequent contributor to the Bangkok Post and other media, said by telephone from Japan that he would not turn himself in. It is thought the others have also chosen not to report to the authorities. Refusal to respond to a summons is a crime carrying a maximum prison term of two years and/or a 40,000 baht (USD1,300) fine.

UN human rights mechanisms have repeatedly clarified that criminal defamation and insult laws, including lèse-majesté laws are incompatible with international standards on free expression.  In 2011, the then UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression Frank La Rue called on Thailand to reform its lèse-majesté laws. He said, “The threat of a long prison sentence and vagueness of what kinds of expression constitute defamation, insult, or threat to the monarchy, encourage self-censorship and stifle important debates on matters of public interest, thus putting in jeopardy the right to freedom of opinion and expression.”