Amnesty International under investigation for defending activists

PHOTO: PM Prayut launched an investigation into Amnesty International. (via Facebook/ประยุทธ์ จันทร์โอชา Prayut Chan-o-cha)

PM Prayut Chan-o-cha announced that Thai authorities have opened an investigation into human rights group Amnesty International after they spoke out against the prosecution of anti-government protesters. An opposing group of protesters who are devoted to the monarchy called for Amnesty International to be barred from Thailand.

On Thursday, the group of royalists gave the government a letter saying that by fighting to end criminal charges levied against protesters who are advocating for monarchy reform, Amnesty International is undermining the national security of Thailand and must be expelled from the Kingdom.

160 activists have been charged under the royal defamation law, Section 112 of the Criminal Code, a crime that can result in a jail sentence of up to 15 years. An additional 1,600 protesters are facing charges related to security. Amnesty International has monitored human rights around the world, including Thailand, and have called on the government to end the prosecution of opposition protesters.

PM Prayut said they were investigating if, by supporting the human rights of activists who participate in pro-democracy demonstrations that call for reform of the government and monarchy, Amnesty International were themselves committing crimes against the monarchy, vowing to revoke their license to operate in Thailand if they find any crimes have been committed.

“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 [Amnesty International’s licence] will be revoked.”

Amnesty International is one of several human rights groups that have spoken out against Thailand for the government’s prosecution of political activists. They said they will continue to hold companies and governments accountable for actions international law defines as human rights abuses, vowing to remain in Thailand to monitor and prevent abuses there and to operate impartially and independently, following the facts in every situation.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.