Wednesday, January 31, 2018

I will continue to speak out - HR Defender Sarajun Hoda, and so will WE?

DESPITE his arrest last night, social activist Sarajun Hoda Abdul Hassan will continue to speak up on critical issues, but with a better choice of words.

Keeping Malaysians 'under control' - by depriving people the right to speak up their opinions and viewpoints is one of the bad characteristic of our present UMNO-BN government. That is certainly not how a democracy works - in fact, in a democracy, the people must be encouraged and empowered to speak up and express themselves - so that the peoples' representative and the Prime Minister chosen by the MPs know what Malaysians want - and will follow the will of the people and govern it in such a way...

Now, with in this day and age of the Internet and social media, people have the ability to share their views and opinions...with many other people. Why should we just listen to the politicians and political leaders only (who get a lot of media coverage)? People should also be able to give their own opinion and viewpoints ...YES, some of it you may disagree with...and some you may agree with. When someone speaks up, other respond with their own views...and there is 'dialogue'...and new opinions, viewpoints and positions are created...

There has been just too many actions against people speaking up and expressing themselves...This UMNO-BN has made it difficult for people to gather and exchange views (We have that law that prevents 5 or more to gather, and if we want to, then looks like we have to apply for 'Permission' from the government - WHY?). They are acting against people dropping balloons with the word 'Justice', people who share on WhatsApp, FB Groups ...Well, it has had its effect, for now many people in FB groups simply choose to read comments made ...not even pressing 'Like' or making a comment in agreement or disagreement...In fact, the number of people expressing their views seems to have declined... Many people now just tend to share JOKES, For sale items/services, Greetings like 'Good Morning'...Malaysians are MORE - they have their own views and thoughts ...and more should share it...

Since 1998(REFORMASI) ...BERSIH...HINDRAF...HIMPUNAN RUU 355 - an indicator that Malaysians have become Brave again and is willing to RISK arrest and detention, and express their opinions and views collectively. Such Peaceful Assemblies are important to show the government that MANY people share a common viewpoint, opinion or position..

The UMNO-BN government(and maybe even the Opposition government) seem to be scared of people sharing and discussing...They would rather prefer people to stay home and watch TV or EPL(English Premier League football)...They prefer people to come and LISTEN to them...They are afraid of people coming together and talking and acting ...

Sarajon Hoda - well, he was apparently being investigated for some view that he published and shared online ... Well, if the police wanted to investigate the possibility of a crime ...the police could simply send him a letter(summons to appear at the police station for the purpose of investigation....)

BUT, why did they go to his home at night and arrest and take him to the police station, and keep him there for hours and he was finally released passed midnight... Well, in my opinion, it is wrong and MAYBE also just to put more FEAR into people like him and all of us....(I recall, that in 2016, I and 3 other lawyers were informed by letter to appear at the police station, and we certainly turned up - Likewise, I am sure Sarajun Hoda would have done the same...).

The message this UMNO-BN government  may have wanted to sent to the people by ...maybe you and I should stop speaking up...or expressing ourselves... SHUT UP - the government knows best? [Or maybe the police were just acting on their own?]

What is your response - Stop speaking ...'I do not want to risk being arrested, detained...charged...' - Well, then the strategy employed by the government succeeded - Government Win People Lose!

Well, Sarajun Hoda is going to continue to SPEAK OUT... The incident seems to have not deterred his will and commitment to uphold the cause of justice without fear or favour...

I will continue to speak out, says activist

Noel Achariam
I will continue to speak out, says activist
Sarajun Hoda Abdul Hassan's Facebook post was on the issue of tauliah, where a religious leader or a mufti must get the approval of the state religious department before giving any sermons at mosques. – The Malaysian Insight pic, January 30, 2018.
DESPITE his arrest last night, social activist Sarajun Hoda Abdul Hassan will continue to speak up on critical issues, but with a better choice of words.

The Aliran member and former Bersih deputy chairman was picked up from his house yesterday evening for a Facebook posting he put up in July last year.

He was released just after midnight today after he had his statement recorded at the Dang Wangi district police headquarters.

Speaking to The Malaysian Insight at a restaurant in Klang today, Sarajun said his “offensive” posting was on the issue of tauliah, where any speaker on Islam must get the approval of the state religious department before giving any sermon anywhere.

“Even international Muslim scholars were shunned from any (public) place because they didn’t get the tauliah.

“The tauliah issue is not Islamic. It’s political,” the 61-year-old said.

Sarajun added that he deleted the post three months later on the advice of lawyers and friends.

But by then, a police report was lodged against him in Putrajaya.

“The police came looking for me in November and December last year but I was overseas, on holiday. I came back on January 12 and police arrested me yesterday,” he said.

He is being investigated under Section 298 of the Penal Code which makes it illegal to utter words that could hurt the religious feelings of another person while Section 233 of the Multimedia Act states it is an offence to use network services to transmit any communication that is deemed offensive.

Sarajun said he only posted his opinion on what he felt was happening in the country and what was affecting Malaysians.

“The complaints against me are petty. Their understanding of Islam is shallow because they don’t read the Quran and reflect on its interpretation and meaning, he said.

He said Malaysia was in a dire situation in terms of social cohesion, race relations and religious bigots.

“As a Malaysian I should voice out against those who make statements that are not conducive to the country environment such as the elected representatives,” Sarajun said.

“I will continue to write, but I will have to rethink my choice of words.”

Sarajun was an activist for 40 years and a member of Aliran Kesedaran Negara (Aliran) which was set up in 1977.

Aliran is Malaysia first multi-ethnic reform movement dedicated to justice, freedom and solidarity.

Listed on the roster of the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations since 1987, Aliran’s main activity is publishing Aliran Monthly, a periodical to raise awareness on local human rights issues. – Malaysian Insight, January 30, 2018.


Thursday March 31, 2016
05:20 PM GMT+8
March 31, 2016
07:53 PM GMT+8

Charles Hector (centre), R. Shanmugam (left) and Francis Pereira arriving at Bukit Aman to give their statements regarding a sedition investigation in Kuala Lumpur, March 31, 2016. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa Charles Hector (centre), R. Shanmugam (left) and Francis Pereira arriving at Bukit Aman to give their statements regarding a sedition investigation in Kuala Lumpur, March 31, 2016. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa  

KUALA LUMPUR, March 31 — The three lawyers under investigation for sedition over their motion calling for the Attorney-General’s resignation said today the possibility of facing charges for their action would not stop them from carrying out their duties.

Lawyer Charles Hector Fernandez said that as lawyers, it is their obligation to uphold the rule of law, even in the face of alleged intimidation by the authorities.

“We are still committed to upholding the course of justice, no amount of harassment or intimidation will stop us because ultimately, our position is that as lawyer and a member of the Bar, we have a right and also a duty, and an obligation, to uphold the course of justice and bring about reforms to the course of justice.

“It’s not just the obligation of lawyers but of each Malaysian to improve things,” he said outside the Bukit Aman police headquarters after he and his two colleagues gave their statements for the sedition investigation.

Lawyer R. Shanmugam added that the trio did no wrong in calling for AG Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali’s resignation as anyone holding public office has a right to be scrutinised by the public.

“No public officer is so infallible that he cannot be questioned. We as lawyers have a right to scrutinise the conduct of any public officer,” he said.

Lawyer Francis Pereira pointed out they were merely carrying out their statutory rights as lawyers, adding that the Malaysian Bar annual general meeting (AGM) where the motion was proposed was held behind closed doors.

“To the extent of law, we want to emphasise that it was a closed-door meeting and the act of calling and asking what happened is bad and unnecessary.

“Irrespective of whatever the police report said in regards to the motion, this is quite uncalled for certainly the Bar isn’t intimidated and we’ll carry on,” he said.

Former Malaysian Bar president Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan, who was also present, claimed the “unprecedented” investigation suggested panic within Putrajaya, and that such action was unnecessary if the people in power did not do anything that merited criticism.

She added that the authorities were disrespecting the statutory rights of the Malaysian Bar by pursuing a sedition investigation over a motion made behind closed doors.

“They think they can barge into our territory and tell us what to do. It’s our home in a sense,” she said.
Malaysian Bar vice-president George Varughese was confident, however, that the police will find no cause to charge the three lawyers after their questioning today.

But Ambiga insisted that the authorities’ move to investigate members of the Bar over the motion was an act of intimidation with a knock-on effect on others.

“For me even the questioning is wrong because it is an attempt at intimidating other organisations like human rights organisations; they might think twice because action can be taken,” she said.

About 20 lawyers and activists gathered outside the federal police headquarters today in solidarity with the trio, with some holding up signs that read “#RespectMyAGM,” punning the #RespectmyPM hashtag from several weeks ago.

Others present included Bersih 2.0 chief Maria Chin Abdullah, PKR’s N. Surendran, DAP’s Gobind Singh Deo, civil liberties lawyer Syahredzan Johan and Lawyers for Liberties’ Eric Paulsen.

The contentious motion at the Malaysian Bar’s AGM called on Apandi to resign as AG over his decisions in cases involving state investment firm 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), former 1MDB unit SRC International, and the transfer of RM2.6 billion into the prime minister’s personal accounts.

Apandi told a press conference on January 26 that he found that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak did not commit any criminal offence in the cases of SRC International and the RM2.6 billion transfer, which he said was a donation from the Saudi royalty. - Malay Mail,31/3/2016

Earlier related post:-

HRD Sarajun Hoda of ALIRAN arrested - Reason still unknown?


Tuesday, January 30, 2018

52 Groups - Thailand Must...End Harassment and Suppression of Rights of "We Walk...Solidarity/Friendship" participants - Revoke Summons Against 8

Joint Media Statement – 30/1/2018


Revoke summons against HR Defender Lertsak Kumkongsak  and 7 others member  of People Go Network , and cease investigation and actions against others

We, the 52 undersigned civil society groups and organisations, and 2 others, are disturbed by the actions of the Thai  Military government, including the Royal Police of Thailand, that are trying to inhibit the freedom of expression, opinion and assembly by the “We Walk…Solidarity/Friendship ’ action of the people(20/1/2018 – 17/2/2018), being a walk of 4 person teams from Bangkok to Khon Kaen We are appalled by the recent summons issued against 8, including one of walkers, on the alleged crime of ‘Political gatherings of five or more persons…’, when clearly it is inapplicable to actions of less than 5, as in this case. They are summoned to appear before the relevant authority on 31/1/2018(Wednesday)

People’s right to participate in governance of their own country

It must be stated that it is a fundamental right of people in a country to be able to participate in the governance of the nation. This certainly includes the freedom the of expression and the freedom of opinion, which naturally must include the ability to lobby other people in that nation state, to support a particular view point and/or to make particular demands that will impact how the country is governed and administrated by the existing government.

Any good government, governs in accordance with the will of its people, and if the majority aspires for particular changes in polices, laws or governing practices, then the government in power must rightly bow to the wishes of its people – and, not simply ignore the people’s will and continue to govern the nation in accordance to what the existing leader or a minority in control of government wants.

As such, any government must never try to supress any personal views and the ability to lobby such opinions and ideas amongst the peoples of the country. This should be the principle applicable in all nations, including democracies, countries temporarily under military rule or even feudal regimes.

The government of Thailand, even though still not yet returned to a democratically elected government at this time following the military coup on  22/5/2014, have generally respected this freedom of expression, freedom of opinion and the freedom of peaceful assembly in this case when they allowed the ‘We Walk…Solidarity/Friendship ’ teams of 4 to walk since 20/1/2018 until 29/1/2018 (or now, if they are still walking).

However, the Royal Police of Thailand and the government had done some wrongs, in violation of these fundamental values, principles and human rights. These actions need to be condemned, and the assurance of the Thai government need to be obtained to ensure there be no further infringements of these fundamental rights and freedoms, and that the rights of people involved in this “We Walk…Solidarity” are protected hereafter.

‘We Walk…Solidarity’

On 20/1/2018, 3 teams of 4 persons, mostly women,  began to separately walk from Bangkok to Khon Kaen, some 450 kilometres, a journey that will take about 28 days.

The action, ‘We Walk…Solidarity’ is an initiative of an informal collaboration of a wide range of groups including the Health Security Watch group and People Movement For Social Welfare, Alternative Agriculture Network- Food Security, National Recourse Network- Community Rights and the Academic And Lawyer Network Who Observe On Constitution, Election And Right And Freedom Violation.

The objective of the Walk is to make visible the current situation in Thailand, in particular the insecurity and frustration with the increasing suppression of the right to freedom of expression, the  on-going and growing dominance of the military government over all aspects of Thai society, worsening standard of living, and the situation of human rights and justice.

The slogans of ‘We Walk…Solidarity/Friendship’ , such as ‘We Walk with friends. We Walk to meet friends. We Walk to open a space for those who have no other way to freely tell their stories or be heard.’ reflect the peaceful nature of the Walk that aims to increase awareness, build solidarity and develop a greater participation of people in Thailand in the affairs of their nation. To achieve this,  there are also community meetings planned for throughout the journey. People participation at all levels is fundamental and essential in any democracy and/or government.

This is a peaceful and democratic activity with each team consisting of just 4 walkers, so as not to  breach Thailand’s law that prevents the assembly or procession of 5 or more persons UNLESS there is government approval.

However despite all the care taken to comply with the  current law of the land, and also the extra  courtesy of informing the police even though not required in law,  the government of Thailand, in particular the Royal Thai Police, have done(and are still doing) certain things that are wrong, and in violation of the fundamental freedoms and rights of the people. They are as stated below:-

20/1/2018Preventing the walk to commence by about 7 hours

a) ‘We Walk…Solidarity’ teams of 4 walkers were prevented from leaving Thammasat University, Rangsit Campus, Bangkok at the scheduled time of 9 am  by a police blockade. They were delayed for about 7 hours, but finally they were allowed  to commence walking at about 4pm, and they started the first leg of their 450km walk towards Ayutthaya. They will break their walk and rest at different points on their walk;

21/1/2018 – Harassment at wee hours of the morning, Arrest and Detention, Denial of Access of Lawyers

b) At about 4 am on 21/1/2018, the police woke the We Walk teams who were resting for the night in a temple in Ayutthaya. The police demanded the Walkers to produce their Identity cards for inspection. A Support Vehicle carrying food, water and basic first aid for the walking teams was stopped and searched without a warrant Not only was the search  legally questionable, the action  left Walkers without access to water for some time.

c) 4 members of the Support Team were then arrested and detained by the police for about 3 hours that morning. Immediate access to lawyers were denied. They were subsequently released.

 23/1/2018 – Summoning 1 Walker and 7 others for alleged breach of Peaceful Assembly law

d) Warrants have been issued under NCPO Order Number 3/2558 against 8 persons, including Pi Lertsak Kumkongsak, one of the persons walking. The other persons summoned are supporters of the ‘WE Walk…Solidarity’ initiative are  Mr. Nimit Tieudom, Mrs. Nutchanart Thanthong,  Mr. Jumnong Nupian,  Mr.Somchai Grajanseang, Ms. Sangsiri Teemanka, Assist.Professor Dr. Anusorn Aunno and  Mr. Ubon Yuwa. The 8 are human rights defenders, women human rights defenders, community human rights defenders, environmental rights advocates, health rights advocates and academic rights activists.

They are now being accused of allegedly breaching Order Number 3/2558 (3/2015) issued by, Prime Minister General Prayuth, the Head of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), pursuant to  section 44 of the 2014 interim constitution created while Thailand was under martial law. Section 44 gives the NCPO and its head unfettered power to do almost anything.

Specifically, the alleged offence is a violation of Article 12 of Order 3/2558 (3/2015), which states,  "Political gatherings of five or more persons shall be punished with imprisonment not exceeding six months or a fine not exceeding ten thousand Baht, or both, unless permission has been granted by the Head of the NCPO. or an authorized representative." The 8 have been summoned to appear in front of the authority on 31st  January 2018 in Bangkok.

This means that Lertsak Kumkongsak, one of the walkers walking to Khon Kean, will have to abandon his walk mid-way, just to respond to this summons, and as such it can be seen as an act with a mala fide objective of terminating the right of the ‘We Walk….Solidarity’ walkers. It would have been more just and reasonable if such summons only asked for attendance after the current “We Walk…Solidarity” had ended.

Other Matters – Wrongful harassment of Temples and others who had already consented to allow the “We Walk…Solidarity’ participants place to rest and/or spend the night along their journey to Khon Kean, to withdraw their permission. 

Since the ousting of the democratically elected government, the military government now known as the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), have been changing laws, policies and orders that are affecting the existing rights of communities, including farmers and peasants, that has and will significantly impact the livelihood and rights of the people. Such actions of an interim military government, pending the return of a democratically people elected government of Thailand is wrong. When there is such a coup, the role of the military or military appointed government should be simply the maintaining of the status quo – and certainly not the usurping or eroding existing human rights of the people.

On 22/21/2018, four members of the protest – Lertsak Khamkongsak, Nattawat Uppa, Wasinee Bunthee and Nimit Tian-udom. Commenced a legal suit against the police for their alleged wrongful actions(The Nation, 23/1/2018). As such, the government subsequent action in issuing the summons under of Order 3/2558 (3/2015) seems to be a retaliatory action. Such retaliatory action by the government is abhorred, as it propagates a negative message deterring people to take action or file complaints against the authorities and police when they do wrong, for if they do, the authorities will thereafter come after them. That will only deter people from highlighting injustices, rights violations and even wrongdoings committed by the government, the military, the police and/or their officers. This is yet another reason why the summons against the 8 must immediately be withdrawn.

The Administrative Court issued an order on Friday night(26/1/2018) granting legal protection for the People GO Network to continue their long march from Thammasat University to Khon Kaen, which also included an order to the police to perform their duty according to the Public Gathering Act to provide the security the demonstrators needed until the march ends on February 17. Despite this, the summons against the 8 to appear on 31/1/2018 has not been withdrawn.


a) We call on the government of Thailand, including Prime Minister General Prayut, the head of the NCPO and the NCPO, and also the Royal Police of Thailand, to respect the rights of the persons involved in this legitimate “We Walk…Solidarity’ action;

b) We call for the immediate revocation of the Summons to appear issued against Lertsak and the other 7 human rights on 23/1/2018 to appear before the authority on 28/1/2018, for the alleged breach of the law on peaceful assembly;

c)  We call for the immediate removal of harassment and/or threats against Temples and others who graciously allowed the participants of the “We Walk…Solidarity” action place to rest and sleep along the road to Khon Kean

d) We urge that the authorities immediately discontinue all actions against participants and supporters of the  “We Walk…Solidarity”, and to forthwith apologize for any or all wrongdoings, and ensure that adequate compensation be paid to the victims.

e) We call for action be forthwith to be taken against the Royal Police of Thailand including Colonel Rittinan Puipanthawong and Maj-General Surapong Thanomjit (the officer allegedly in charge of the police that blocked the commencement of the walk in Bangkok on 20/1/2018), Maj-General Sommai Prasit (the officer allegedly in charge of the harassment and arrest on 21/1/2018 in Ayutthaya) and Lieutenant Colonel Prusit  Khalyhiran, the officer who allegedly caused the issuance of the summons to be issued against the 8 on 23/1/2018);

f) We call on Thailand to respect, protect and promote the human rights and fundamental freedoms of the people in Thailand

Charles Hector
Selma James
Dean Kendall 
Ng Yap Hwa

For and on behalf of the 52 groups and 2 individuals listed below

All African Women’s Group, UK
Association of Human Rights Defenders and Promoters- HRDP in Myanmar
ATRAHDOM Guatemala
Bangladesh Group Netherlands
Black Women’s Rape Action Project, UK
Christian Development Alternative (CDA), Bangladesh
Clean Clothes Campaign
Damn the Dams Action Group, Malaysia
Defenders in Dordrecht
Disabled People Against the Cuts, UK.
Drew Glover and Project Pollinate! Santa Cruz, CA, USA
Empower Foundation, Thailand
End Solitary Santa Cruz, CA, USA
English Collective of Prostitutes
Every Mother Is A Working Mother Network/USA
Family Farm Defenders, USA
Focus on the Global South
Global Women's Strike, Ireland 
Global Women’s Strike, UK
Haiti Action Committee
International Labor Rights Forum
International Wages for Housework Campaign, UK
Legal Action for Women, UK
MADPET(Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture)
Malaysian Physicians for Social Responsibility
Manushya Foundation
Migrant Care
Momentum Oxford, Oxford, England
Monitoring Sustainability of Globalisation
National Family Farm Coalition (USA)
North South Initiative
Parti Rakyat Malaysia(PRM)
Payday Men’s Network – USA
Payday Men’s Network, UK
Persatuan Komuniti Prihatin Selangor & KL
Red Thread, Guyana
Rescue Alternatives Liberia (RAL)
Streets Kitchen, United Kingdom
Teoh Beng Hock Trust for Democracy, Malaysia
Terai Human Rights Defenders Alliance (THRD Alliance), Nepal
The Farmworker Association of Florida, Inc.
USPROStitutes Collective, USA
WH4C (Workers Hub For Change)
WinVisible (women with visible and invisible disabilities), UK
Women Of Color Global Women’s Strike, UK
Women in Saskatchewan of The National Farmers Union
Women For Justice And Peace in Sri Lanka
Women's International League for Peace & Freedom (WILPF) Santa Cruz, USA
Yayasan LINTAS NUSA Batam – Indonesia
SOAS Students' Union (London, UK)

Art Mitchells-Urwin - individual
Margaret Prescod, journalist with Pacifica Radio Network USA - individual

Some Background Information

General Prayuth and the Thai military staged a coup on May 22, 2014, and created the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) junta. On March 31, 2015, the nation-wide enforcement of the Martial Law Act of 1914 was replaced with section 44 of the 2014 interim constitution, which allows General Prayuth as the head of NCPO the authority to do almost anything considered “necessary”. This exercise of power is not subject to administrative, legislative, or judicial oversight or accountability. Section 47 goes on to state that all such orders are “deemed to be legal, constitutional, and conclusive.” Section 48 further provides that NCPO members and anyone carrying out actions on behalf of the NCPO “shall be absolutely exempted from any wrongdoing, responsibility, and liabilities.”

Pursuant to the powers under this section 44, one the order the head of the NCPO issued was Order Number 3/2558 (3/2015) of the Head of the NCPO on Maintaining Public Order and National Security. Of concern here, is Article 12 of this Order, that states “Article 12. Political gatherings of five or more persons shall be punished with imprisonment not exceeding six months or a fine not exceeding ten thousand Baht, or both, unless permission has been granted by the Head of the NCPO. or an authorized representative.

Summons issued against 8  We Walk members-
The 8 are now summoned to appear before the relevant authority on 31/1/2018

HRD Sarajun Hoda of ALIRAN arrested - Reason still unknown?


Sarajun had sent a message to Sevan at 7.15pm to inform about police having arrived at his home.

“Police in my house now. ASP Khairol arresting me now. Sec 298 Penal Code and 233 Multimedia Act. They are taking me to IPD Dang Wangi. Please tweet,” he said.

Why arrest Human Rights Defender Sarajun Hoda in the evening...The alleged section under which he is being investigated ...reasonably do not need someone to be arrested at such a time...

Most probably the arrest is to facilitate investigations ...for that reason, he could have simply been summoned by letter or a phone call to appear at the police station at a stipulated time --and he would have gone...

He is a member of ALIRAN, and he certainly would not be a flight risk...

What is odd is that until now - we still have no INFORMATION as to why he is arrested - knowing sections of the law is not enough...

Malaysian police must really stop this practice or arresting and unnecessarily keeping them in police lock-ups. Even if arrested, he could have immediately been released on police bail, and asked to turn up in the morning for investigation...

We will keep you updated...


Aliran member Sarajun Hoda arrested

We are told he has been taken to the Dang Wangi Police Station.

The reason for his arrest is unclear but it is believed he was detained under section 298 of the Penal Code and section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act.

We call on the authorities to state the reason for his arrest and to allow him immediate access to a lawyer. He must also be allowed access to any medication he may need.

Aliran executive committee
29 January 2018

Police arrest Aliran activist Sarajun Hoda at home


PETALING JAYA: Human rights NGO Suaram has called for the authorities to state the reason for the arrest of social activist Sarajun Hoda at his residence this evening.

Its executive director Sevan Doraisamy said Sarajun was arrested and taken to the Dang Wangi police station where he would probably be held until tomorrow morning for remand.

“He should be allowed immediate access to a lawyer. We are trying to get more information (on the arrest),” he told FMT.

Sarajun had sent a message to Sevan at 7.15pm to inform about police having arrived at his home.

“Police in my house now. ASP Khairol arresting me now. Sec 298 Penal Code and 233 Multimedia Act. They are taking me to IPD Dang Wangi. Please tweet,” he said.

Sarajun, a member of civil rights NGO Aliran, is also a former executive council member of the organisation.
The message was then posted by activist Thomas Fann, who is with the Citizen Action Group on Enforced Disappearance (CAGED), on Sarajun’s Facebook wall.

Meanwhile, Bersih 2.0 secretariat member Mandeep Singh told FMT that Sarajun was likely held for a posting on Facebook, adding that they were not informed about the details and the date of the posting.

Section 298 of the Penal Code makes it illegal to utter words that could hurt the religious feelings of another person, and Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act states it is an offence to use network services to transmit any communication that is deemed offensive.

If convicted under Section 298, Sarajun faces imprisonment for a maximum period of a year or fine, or both. If found guilty under Section 233, a person could be fined up to RM50,000 or be given a maximum jail term of one year, or both.- FMT, 29/1/2018

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Thai Court affirms peaceful assembly rights "We Walk...Solidarity/Friendship" ? But summons against 8 still not withdrawn?

Thailand court affirms right of "We Walk...Solidarity/Friendship" walkers, an initiative of the People Go Network.

  Image may contain: 2 people, people standing, sky, car and outdoor

This is an initiative of the ordinary people of Thailand - not political parties. The walkers are farmers, members of local communities, human rights defenders, women human rights defenders, community and land rights defenders, health rights advocates, environmentalists...and they are walking from Bangkok to Khon Kaen, about 450 kilometers from Bangkok.

See earlier post:- 

Thailand - Walking 450 Km for Justice - Hope they succeed and no clampdown by Thai authorities?

"WE WALK...SOLIDARITY/FRIENDSHIP" still walking - an initiative of ordinary people?


We Walk march on after legal victory

national January 28, 2018 01:00

The human rights campaigners of the “We Walk” long march may have won a legal battle for the rest of their protest, but it is still not a guaranteed protection against the National Council for Peace and Order’s (NCPO) ban on political demonstration.

The Administrative Court issued an order on Friday night granting legal protection for the People GO Network to continue their long march from Thammasat University to Khon Kaen and also ordered the police to perform their duty according to the Public Gathering Act to provide the security the demonstrators needed until the march ends on February 17.

Environmental Litigation and Advocacy for Wants Foundation (EnLaw) secretary-general Surachai Throngngam said yesterday that the court order helped to reduce pressure on the campaigners, as they had earlier faced frequent intimidation and obstructionist behaviour by police officers since the start of the long march on January 20.

“Not only does the Administrative Court’s order obligate the Royal Thai Police and the regional police on the way to Khon Kaen to facilitate the marchers, but it is also legal assurance that the march is legal as per the Public Gathering Act,” Surachai said.

The court ordered the police to follow their duty as per Article 19 of the Public Gathering Act to provide security, manage traffic and ensure the protest follows the law and is peacefully arranged.

However, police still reserve the right to ask the court to cancel the protest and to issue other 
enforcement if the protesters violate the laws.

Despite the court verdict being of great relief to many of those involved in the march, Surachai cautioned that it only ordered the police, who were the defendants in the case, to follow court instructions. It did not, he said, provide the protesters with protection from military officers, who may accuse the protesters of violating the NCPO order 3/2558.

Earlier, a military officer had filed a complaint against eight participants of the march for breaching the junta’s order by gathering more than five people to stage a political protest and they were summoned to report to Klong Luang Police today.

“Nevertheless, this court’s order can be an important proof that our demonstration is the rightful exercise of our freedom of expression and is legally staged as per the Public Gathering Act. I believe that the military officers also respect this court’s order,” Surachai noted.

Pol Maj-General Thakoon Natthisri, Provincial Police Region 4 deputy commander, said the police acknowledged the court’s order and gave assurances that officers would provide good care and security for the protesters when they reach the area under his responsibility.

“Nevertheless, we want to ask the protesters to refrain from disturbing other people and breaking the law, and we will make sure that the protest has minimal effect on other people and that there will be no interference from any third party to cause chaos,” Thakoon said.

As of yesterday, People GO Network had stopped their march in Nakhon Ratchasima to arrange a public discussion about the state welfare system and the problems with the Universal Health Coverage scheme.

Meanwhile, at Songkhla’s Hat Yai District, public organisations in the South gathered in a parallel demonstration under the same name, “We Walk”, from the Hat Yai clock tower to Sena Narong military camp.

Dr Suphat Hasuwankit, one of the marchers in the South, reported that a large police force had been deployed to stop the march, but they successfully negotiated for it to continue to Sena Narong military camp to hand the military a petition urging support for freedom of expression.

In Bangkok, the People Go Network Forum led by Kasetsart University lecturer Decharut Sukkumnoed will arrange a march at Lumphini Park every evening from today until February 17 to show support for the main campaign to Khon Kaen.

People GO Network was the consolidation of various public organisations and launched the We Walk campaign to walk the 450 kilometres from Pathum Thani to Khon Kaen in order to raise public awareness on state welfare, universal healthcare, food security, community rights and environment protection, and political rights and democracy. - The Nation, 28/1/2018

Photo from People Go Network  Facebook page
Photo from People Go Network Facebook page

Court allows ‘We Walk’ protest to proceed

Breaking News January 27, 2018 14:24
By The Nation
The activists on the “We Walk” mark have been granted the temporary protection under an Administrative Court order, so they can continue their peaceful campaign without interference from the police.
The Administrative Court on Friday issued a court order to the Royal Thai Police to facilitate members of People GO Network to carry on their long march from Thammasart University to Khon Kaen. The order says police should refrain from conducting any operation against the exercise of freedom of expression by the activists until the end of the march on February 17.

The court ordered the police to follow their duty as per the Article 19 of the Public Gathering Act to provide security, manage traffic and ensure the protest will follow the law and is peacefully arranged.

However, police still reserve the right to ask the court to cancel the protest and to issue other enforcement if the protesters violate the laws. - The Nation, 27/1/2018