February 22, 2015
A Press Release from Thai Lawyers for Human Rights forwarded by the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)
On Monday, 23 February 2015, at 13:30 hours, the Criminal Court is going to deliver a verdict on the Black Case no. 3528/2557 filed by the public prosecutor against Mr. Patiwat (last name withheld) and Mrs. Pornthip (last name withheld), the two accused in a lèse majesté case, as a result of their involvement with the performance of “A Wolf’s Bride”, a theatrical play, during the 40th Commemoration of the 14 October Uprising at the Main Hall of Thammasat University, Tha Phra Chan Campus.
After the performance, a group of people pressed charges against them for “defaming, insulting, or threatening the King”, i.e. violating Article 112, and it led to the arrest of Mr. Patiwat and Mrs. Pornthip on 14-15 August 2014. They were indicted in the Criminal Court on 13 October 2014. Both accused have applied for bail on several occasions. However, the bail application has been rejected by the Court on the grounds that “given the serious circumstances of the case the accused might flee”.
Later, on 29 December 2014, the Court conducted a hearing and both accused pleaded guilty to the charge. The Court then ordered further investigation regarding the background of the two accused to find ground for leniency before making a decision on sentencing. The verdict is due to be delivered on Monday 23 February 2015 at 13:30 hours. Probation officials have investigated the background and behavior of the two accused three times already.
Mr. Patiwat is a fourth year student from the Faculty of Fine and Applied Arts, Khon Kaen University. He is a professional traditional singer and performs to provide for his family. He has been recognized as a national outstanding youth and has been a social activist. Mrs. Pornthip graduated from Faculty of Political Science, Ramkhamhaeng University. A social activist, she worked on theatrical performance to raise awareness and empower youth.
In addition, on 22 January 2015, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has issued an opinion that the deprivation of liberty of Mr. Patiwat during the trial is a violation of Articles 9 and 19 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights (UDHR) and Article 9, paragraph 3, and Article 19, paragraph 2, of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Thailand is a state party and is obliged to follow. Therefore, the detention is unlawful, since the actions have stemmed from a peaceful exercise of the right to freedom of expression and Mr. Patiwat must be immediately released and given compensation as per Article 9, paragraph 5, of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.