Harassment of Arnon Nampa
Lawyers for Lawyers is concerned about the recent harassment of prominent Thai human rights lawyer Arnon Nampa.
On 7 August 2020, Mr. Nampa, who defends the fundamental rights of the Thai people, was arrested in connection with his participation in a peaceful pro-democracy demonstration at the Democracy Monument in Bangkok on 18 July 2020. After his arrest, Mr. Nampa was charged with eight offences, including sedition and breaching the Emergency Decree. On that same date, a complaint motion that aims to disbar Mr Nampa from the national bar association, The Lawyers’ Council of Thailand (LCT), was filed against him. The plaintiff claimed that Mr. Nampa’s participation in another peaceful assembly breached the regulation of the LCT.
On 8 August, the Bangkok Criminal Court released Mr. Nampa on conditional bail. Consequently, on the 19th of August, Mr. Nampa was arrested again by police for a rally he held on 3 August 2020 at which he called for reform of the monarchy. His arrest saw him charged, amongst other things, with sedition for a second time in one month. It has been reported that the police brought Mr. Nampa to the Criminal Court to file for pre-trial detention.
On 7 September 2020, the police put forth a motion to the Court to cancel their request for Mr. Nampa’s pre-trial detention, after police officials agreed that he no longer needed to be detained for investigation. The Court ordered to release Mr. Nampa and he was released on the same day.
Lawyers for Lawyers expresses its concern about the harassment of Mr. Nampa.
In this respect, we would like to underline that, lawyers, like any other individual, have the right to freedom of expression. A lawyer should be able to draw the public’s attention to potential shortcomings in the justice system in their official capacity as well as in their private capacity.
In connection to this, Article 23 of the United Nations Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers states:
Lawyers like other citizens are entitled to freedom of expression, belief, association and assembly. In particular, they shall have the right to take part in public discussion of matters concerning the law, the administration of justice and the promotion and protection of human rights and to join or form local, national or international organizations and attend their meetings, without suffering professional restrictions by reason of their lawful action or their membership in a lawful organization. In exercising these rights, lawyers shall always conduct themselves in accordance with the law and the recognized standards and ethics of the legal profession.”
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