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HRW applauds the acquittal of prodemocracy activists in Thailand

September 24, 2019


The Human Rights Watch (HRW) organization – on Tuesday applauded the acquittal of pro-democracy activists in an important verdict to protect freedom of expression in Thailand, but has warned that the government should not have taken them to trial.

“The Thai government should never have put activists on trial for peacefully asking for a free and fair election in the first place,” said the director of Asia for HRW, Brad Adams.

“The acquittal by the court of the six pro-democratic activists will discourage the authorities to continue with other criminal cases against people who criticize the military government,” he said.

Last Friday, the Bangkok Criminal Court acquitted Nuttaa Mahattana, Chonthicha Jangrew, Sirawith Seritiwat, Anon Numpha, Kan Pongprapaphan and Sukrit Piensuwan, members of a group of prodemocracy activists called “We want elections.” All were accused of holding an illegal meeting as well as sedition for protesting on February 10, 2018.

“Thailand's proclaimed path to democracy will not be convincing as long as the authorities file politically motivated charges against peaceful critics,” said Adams.

“Governments around the world should pressure the Thai Government to end the harassment and persecution of activists who demand that Thailand respect basic rights,” he said.