21 May 2024

Amnesty International has called on the Government of Thailand to drop all charges against anti-government protesters and to release those held on remand immediately.

“The steadily growing protests across Thailand are clear proof of how much people value their rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly,” said Rajat Khosla, Senior Director for Research. Advocacy and Policy of Amnesty International, today.

He said that charges brought against the alleged protest leaders are merely a tactic to scare the whole movement and they are arbitrary, unwarranted and politically motivated.

Mr. Khosla, however, welcomed the decision by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, to lift the state of emergency in Bangkok, as recognition by the Thai government of the right to protest and called it a de-escalation in the authorities’ approach.

“But the authorities must now move beyond rhetoric and drop the charges against peaceful protesters.  This should include quashing convictions of all others penalized since the 2019 elections, for peacefully calling for reform or expressing political views,” he said.

According to Amnesty International, 84 people have been charged with crimes since October 13th, a majority of them for breaches of the vaguely worded “severe” state of emergency, which was lifted on October 22nd.

“Thai authorities must build on their latest commitments to deescalate the situation. They must end the legacy of misuse of emergency laws, mass arrests and legal harassment, said Mr.Khosla.