BANGKOK – Representatives of the European Union and officials of European embassies in Thailand went to Bangkok’s Samranrat police station on Saturday to witness the filing of criminal charges by the police against a human rights lawyer who has been providing legal counselling to political activists.
Sirikan â€œJuneâ€ Charoensiri, a human rights lawyer with the organisation Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) was charged with illegal political assembly of more than five people, incitement of unrest and resistance of the state among the people for her role in providing legal assistance to political activists deemed to be critical of the Monarchy.
The charges against Ms Sirikarn stemmed from an incident on June 25, last year when she went to observe the rally staged at the Democracy Monument on Rajdamnoen road by the so-called New Democracy Movement.
On May 12, 2016, Ms Sirikarn was charged with concealing evidence and resisting police order in accordance with Sections 142 and 368 of the Criminal Code, for refusing to allow the police to search her car without a warrant in order to seize 14 smart phones belonging to 14 students of the New Democracy Movement before they were escorted into prison.
Ms Sirikarnâ€™s car was later impounded by the police overnight at the police station until they received a court warrant to search the car the next day. As a result of the searchÂ Ms. Sirikan filed a lawsuit against Thai police for â€œmalfeasanceâ€ in June 2015.
In July, the Bangkok Military Court ordered the release of the 14. However, the charges against them remain pending. Ms. Sirikan together with seven other TLHR lawyers assisted the 14 students at the Bangkok Military Court.
If indicted, Ms. Sirikan could face a punishment of up to to five years in prison and a fine of up to 10,000 baht (approximately 253 euros) according to OMCT.