Prayut: Amnesty International to be investigated

Prayut: Amnesty International to be investigated

PM says rights group critical of state persecution of activists could face loss of licence

Protesters, led by Amnesty International Thailand activists, march in Bangkok before presenting 28,426 signatures to the government to call for an end to the prosecution of people for expressing their opinions earlier this month. (Apichit Jinakul)
Protesters, led by Amnesty International Thailand activists, march in Bangkok before presenting 28,426 signatures to the government to call for an end to the prosecution of people for expressing their opinions earlier this month. (Apichit Jinakul)

Authorities are investigating whether Amnesty International has broken any laws, Prime Minister Chan-o-cha said on Friday, after ultra-royalists called for the human rights group to be expelled for its support of activists facing prosecution.

A royalist group presented a letter to the government on Thursday saying Amnesty’s campaigns to bring an end to criminal charges against protesters calling for reforms of the monarchy had undermined national security.

More than 1,600 activists are now facing security-related charges, including at least 160 people charged under Section 112, the royal defamation law, which carries a potential prison term of up to 15 years.

Asked at a news conference on Friday about the royalists’ request, Gen Prayut said: “We are checking whether there are any violations of the law and this involves the police and the Interior Ministry.

“If there are wrongdoings, then it (Amnesty’s licence) will be revoked,” he added.

Youth-led protests that started last year have challenged the decades-old taboos against any criticism of the monarchy. The Constitutional Court ruled on Nov 10 that the actions of three protest leaders amounted to an attempt to overthrow the government and ordered all such activities to stop.

Amnesty said in a statement that it has been in Thailand for several decades and will continue to work on preventing, monitoring and holding states, corporations and others accountable for human rights abuses under international law.

“We will continue to do this independently and impartially on the basis of facts,” said Amnesty, which is among several human rights groups that have been vocal about the Thai government’s prosecution of political activists. 


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