AI Demands the release of online news editor

Chiranuch Premchaiporn, an online news editor in Thailand, was arrested on 24 September under the country’s 2007 Computer-related Crimes Act. She is being held in Khon Kaen police station in north-eastern Thailand. Chiranuch Premchaiporn is a prisoner of conscience, detained solely for the peaceful exercise of her right to freedom of expression, and should be immediately and unconditionally released.

Chiranuch Premchaiporn is the Executive Director of Prachatai (Thai People), a Thai online media portal that contains news, opinion, and a forum for discussion about current affairs in the country. Thailand's Immigration Police (Investigation and Suppression Division) arrested Chiranuch Premchaiporn on 24 September at around 2.30pm (Thailand time) at passport control in Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport. She had just arrived back in Thailand from a brief trip abroad. She was shown an arrest warrant, dated 8 September, relating to material posted on the Prachatai website in April 2008 and that, according to the warrant, endangers Thailand's national security. 

This material was written and posted by an unknown Prachatai reader, not Chiranuch Premchaiporn herself. She cannot stop people from posting to the site, but can remove material once it is posted.  Chiranuch Premchaiporn can be held for up to 48 days without trial under the Thai Criminal Code.

Chiranuch Premchaiporn was previously charged on 6 March 2009 with violating Sections 14 and 15 of the 2007 Computer-related Crimes Act, which relates to offences that endanger national security. She was released on bail, and is awaiting trial for those charges, which in total could lead to a 50-year prison sentence.

Chiranuch Premchaiporn's latest arrest warrant contains charges under the same sections of the Act. However, it is not clear if there are additional charges under other sections of the Act or indeed other laws.

Additional Information

Thailand has seen a backward slide in its respect of freedom of expression in the past 18 months. The Thai government’s increasing misuse of the 2007 Computer-related Crimes Act has led to a sharp increase in monitoring of the internet for lese majeste (insult to the monarchy) content and in blocks of over ten thousand websites. This broad-ranging censorship of websites in itself constitutes a violation of Thailand’s obligations under international human rights law. The Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva acknowledged in December 2009 that there were problems with the Act’s enforcement.

The Thai government has frequently used the 2007 Computer-related Crimes Act to uphold the country’s lese majeste law in a growing trend of censorship to silence peaceful political dissent. The lese majeste law goes beyond reasonable restrictions on freedom of expression provided for under international human rights law.

Amnesty International is concerned with the Thai government’s characterization of the lese majeste law as a matter of national security (and the subsequent decision in June 2009 to hold a trial of alleged lese majeste behind closed doors on that basis). The same argument about protection of national security is now being used to arbitrarily detain Chiranuch Premchaiporn.

Question : Why does everyone

Question :
Why does everyone refer to Thailand as a police state?

Chiranuch Premchaiporn can be held for up to 48 days without trial under the Thai Criminal Code.

Answer :
Because it is a police state.

The Thai government has frequently used the 2007 Computer-related Crimes Act to uphold the country’s lese majeste law in a growing trend of censorship to silence peaceful political dissent. The lese majeste law goes beyond reasonable restrictions on freedom of expression provided for under international human rights law.

Better late than never.

..."better late than

..."better late than never"....its always a lot less dangerous shouting at the back of a crowd with your head down....

Sorry, no disrespect to

Sorry, no disrespect to anyone, but what's the difference between Chiranuch's case and that of other Computer Crime victims? They were all were charged under the same law, so therefore, they all committed the same "crime". Why does AI squack so loudly about one case and not others? For example Tantawut or Da Torpedo?

If this so-called human rights organisation doesn't see how inconsistent their decisions are, maybe they should visit these poor people in prison and learn from their terrible mistake.

AI please get your act together. All of Thailand's cyber law victims need your help.

If consistentcy is to be

If consistentcy is to be adhered to,we should now expect a statement from AI regarding the other cases.Thats what the familys of other political prisoners rightfully deserve,isnt it ? AI we know you read this prachatai.com page so DO THE RIGHT THING,please.

The reason AI have not

The reason AI have not defended other LM imprisonments is because they took a position where they said that they could see why the monarchy needed such protection.

The facts are they have not visited Da Torpedo, have had no contact with her family and have completely abandoned her to her fate. It is, in short, completely disgraceful.

This has been done despite AI being regularly petitioned by dozens of people, from human rights activists to academics and journalists, to act on both LM and those imprisoned under this law.

The reason?

It is now beyond doubt that AI Thailand has been infiltrated entirely by PAD supporters and that the likes of Ben Zawacki (AI's international researcher) has continually kowtowed to their demands.

AI's International Secretariat in London have also been made aware of the facts of LM on numerous occasions and Zawacki's abject failure to deal in any meaningful way with Thailand's increasingly poor HR record. In my opinion Zawacki should be sacked and replaced with someone who is willing to uphold AI's values rather than worry about losing his visa and cushy lifestyle in Thailand.

"Thailand has seen a backward

"Thailand has seen a backward slide in its respect of freedom of expression in the past 18 months."

And Amnesty has been completely silent throughout and only acted on this cos this story was getting out to international media.

NGOs, like all human

NGOs, like all human organizations, enslave those who work in them. It doesn't take long before an individual working in... the Thai Democrat Party, the PPT, AI... comes to identify the organization's perceived well-being as his or her own and to act accordingly.

AI, specifically its agents, enjoy preferential treatment in Thailand because they have performed as a part of network monarchy here. Thailand is a very pleasant country to live in, when you are part of the team, part of the amat that lords it over ordinary Thais.

AI, in Thailand at least, is a corrupt regime. The perception of their corruption is now so widespread that AI honchos outside of Thailand are now willing to defend Prachatai and Khun Jiranut, hardly a controversial position.

They will let Khun Darunee, "tried" by a kangaroo court in camera and imprisoned for nearly two decades for nothing more than exercising her right of free speech, die in prison. So it goes for the slaves of The Organization.

With friends like AI, you don't need enemies.

Freedom from Fear Within a

Freedom from Fear

Within a system which denies the existence of basic human rights, fear tends to be the order of the day. Fear of imprisonment, fear of torture, fear of death, fear of losing friends, family, property or means of livelihood, fear of poverty, fear of isolation, fear of failure. A most insidious form of fear is that which masquerades as common sense or even wisdom, condemning as foolish, reckless, insignificant or futile the small, daily acts of courage which help to preserve man's self-respect and inherent human dignity. It is not easy for a people conditioned by fear under the iron rule of the principle that might is right to free themselves from the enervating miasma of fear. Yet even under the most crushing state machinery courage rises up again and again, for fear is not the natural state of civilized man.

The wellspring of courage and endurance in the face of unbridled power is generally a firm belief in the sanctity of ethical principles combined with an historical sense that despite all setbacks the condition of man is set on an ultimate course for both spiritual and material advancement. It is his capacity for self-improvement and self-redemption which most distinguishes man from the mere brute. At the root of human responsibility is the concept of perfection, the urge to achieve it, the intelligence to find a path towards it, and the will to follow that path if not to the end at least the distance needed to rise above individual limitations and environmental impediments. It is man's vision of a world fit for rational, civilized humanity which leads him to dare and to suffer to build societies free from want and fear. Concepts such as truth, justice and compassion cannot be dismissed as trite when these are often the only bulwarks which stand against ruthless power.

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi