Letter to the Lawyers Council of Thailand on the disbarment proceedings against Arnon Nampa
Lawyers for Lawyers again expressed concerns about the disbarment proceedings against lawyer and human rights defender Mr. Arnon Nampa.
Lawyers for Lawyers is concerned about the disbarment proceeding against Mr. Arnon Nampa, a lawyer and human rights defender, that is taking place before the Investigative Committee that was established by the Committee on Professional Ethics of the Lawyers Council of Thailand during the Meeting No. 1/2564 on 13 January 2021.
We were informed that the proceeding against lawyer Arnon Nampa is related to a complaint motion filed to the Lawyers Council of Thailand on 7 August 2020 by the Assistant Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister, who alleged that lawyer Arnon Nampa’s behaviour violated the Lawyers Council of Thailand’s disciplinary rules as his behaviour would “incite, intend to cause unrest, distort information and insult on the monarchy”. The speech in question called for reform of the constitution and the monarchy, during a peaceful protest at the Democracy Monument on Ratchadamnoen Avenue on 3 August 2020.
According to our information, a first pre-hearing was postponed twice on 24 November 2021 and 3 March 2022, due to the fact that Mr. Nampa was held in detention pending trial. Therefore, the first pre-hearing was scheduled for 7 April 2022 where both parties appeared before the Investigative Committee to schedule witness examination dates. The Committee scheduled the complainer witness examinations on 2 and 20 June and the complained witness examination on 18 July, 1 and 22 August, and 5 September 2022. However, on 2 June, the complainer failed to attend the first hearing taken place at the LCT. The proceeding therefore was adjourned until 20 June. The next witness examination was scheduled on 11 January 2023 but has been rescheduled to July 2023. After the witness examinations are completed, the Committee will schedule the date to deliver the order.
On 16 June 2022, Lawyers for Lawyers and the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe sent a letter to the Thai Authorities expressing their concerns about the disbarment proceedings. Lawyers for Lawyers and the International Commission of Jurists sent a previous letter to the Lawyers Council of Thailand on 1 February 2021, requesting them to dismiss the complaint motion against Mr. Nampa to protect his right to freedom of expression, and the rights of his clients. Unfortunately, this has been without response.
According to the UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers, lawyers have a right to freedom of expression and assembly, in particular in matters concerning the administration of justice and the rule of law. Moreover, according to Basic Principles 27, 28 and 29, lawyers have a right to fair disciplinary proceedings before and impartial disciplinary committee in line with recognized standards and ethics of the legal profession.
Read the full letter here.
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