Activists testify in 2008 protest case
- Published: 20/02/2013 at 11:58 AM
- Online news:
A protest at the coup-installed parliament in 2008 was aimed purely at stopping the enactment of laws that gave the military hegemonic power and undermined the rights of the people, Jon Ungphakorn, the first defendant in the "parliament climb-and-sit-in" case, has told the court.
Mr Jon, along with nine other labour, community and consumer rights and media reform activists first reported to hear charges on Jan 22, 2008, 10 days after the protest. It was not until nearly three years later the prosecution took the case to the court, in December 2010.
Charges against the well-known human rights defenders were brought under the Criminal Code. All defendants face up to seven-years' imprisonment if found guilty.
Other defendants included Sawit Keaw-wan, state enterprise union leader, Sirichai Maingam, state enterprise union leader, Pichit Chaimongkol, NGO and political activist, Anirut Khaosanit, farmer activist, Nasser Yeemha, NGO and political activist, Amnat Palamee, state enterprise union leader, Pairoj Polpetch, NGO and human rights activist, Saree Ongsomwang, NGO and consumer rights activist, and Supinya Klangnarong, freedom of expression and media reform activist.
The trial first began in Feb 21, 2012 but was adjourned for nearly a the year because of changes to the prosecution team. The trial resumed again on Jan 22 this year.
Jon Ungphakorn, then chairman of the NGO Coordinating Committee (NGO-CC), told the court on Tuesday that the coup makers had installed the government of the day and the National Legislative Assembly, which in its early days had endorsed unpopular laws including the Computer Crime Act. Later other legislation, such as Community Forestry and the Internal Security Act (ISA) were also introduced.
The NGO-CC leadership had discussed among themselves the severe impact of those bills on the rights of the people.
The ISA had given enormous power to the military in such as a way that it would clearly infringe the rights of the people and ensure impunity of the military, said Mr Jon.
He said the law would pave the way for the sustainable and lasting power of the army that could overshadow the power of the civilian government, hence violating human rights.
Twenty five witnesses, in addition to the defendants themselves, will testify to the court, with witnesses appearing every day except Mondays until March 14. About 30 prosecution witnesses have already testified.
About the author
- Writer: Achara Ashayagachat