Civic support grows for Songkhla student activist

Civic support grows for Songkhla student activist

Khairiyah: Opposes Chana project
Khairiyah: Opposes Chana project

A human rights group from Narathiwat's Tak Bai district has offered moral support to a young activist in Songkhla's Chana district who was charged by Pathumwan police with defying the emergency decree.

Yaena Salaemae, a human rights defender in Tak Bai, led over 50 villagers and young people to give encouragement to Khairiyah Rahmanyah, a community rights and environmental activist, in Ban Suan Kong of tambon Na Thap.

Ms Khairiyah was charged with defying the emergency decree and using an amplifier without permission early last month. She has been issued a summons to visit the police station tomorrow.

In July 2020, at the age of 17, she travelled alone from Songkhla to Government House and staged a sit-in protest against the controversial Chana industrial complex project, which was suspended last month due to opposition from local villagers in Songkhla.

Ms Khairiyah also sent a letter to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to make him aware of the impact the project would have on local people and the environment.

"Are people in Thailand not allowed to express their opinion anymore?" Ms Khairiyah asked.

The Kitprachar Party, on behalf of students from Prince of Songkla University, Pattani Campus, issued a joint statement in front of the university's Office of the President about the recent warrant issued against Ms Khairiyah.

"This relates to the strategic litigation against public participation [SLAPP] law on legal procedures against (those) who just want to seize their rights to help set the future of their own community. Seeking justice from the government is also a fundamental right in a democratic system," it said.

The party called on executives of the university to stand by the student and provide assistance until the end of the judicial procedures. It also asked the public to call on the government, army and police to respect the rights of the people.

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