The following is reported by the organization Thai Lawyers For Human Rights (TLHR).
On 1 August, a 15-year-old high school freshman in Surat Thani Province gave a speech on marriage equality at the protest #สุราษฎร์จะฟาดเผด็จการ (Surat will smash dictatorship).
On 26 September, two police officers, one wearing a white t-shirt and khaki pants and the other in civilian clothes, visited the student’s home. Without a warrant, the student refused to answer questions. The officers demanded him to come to the police station on 28 September. He also refused, because there was no warrant.
The police then contacted his father. Under pressure, the father brought his son to the police station on 4 October. In the interrogation room, without a lawyer, a psychologist, or a social worker, but the family presence, the officers questioned the student for two hours.
The police showed him a photo from the Facebook Page “SuratDemocrat” and questioned him about the 1 August protest. The student explained his speech on marriage equality, the civil union law, and the rights of LGBT in Thailand.
The police then showed the photos of five other speakers from the protest and asked if the students knew them. The student said he didn’t. The police then showed him the ID photos of a man and a woman. The student said he didn’t know them either. The officers also took photos of the student and his family during the interrogation.
The student was told that he wasn’t a suspect, but a possible witness. To what crime, nobody knew.
The worried parents asked the student not to attend any other protest event. The student did not say yes or no.
The definition of terrorism is the unlawful use of violence or intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims.
The law requires a court warrant, the presence of a lawyer. In the case of a minor, a social worker or a psychologist should be present. But here’s the trick, the ever-extending emergency decree cancels the rights of citizens. Therefore, legally speaking, the police were within their power. Short of violence, they are free to intimidate or terrorize citizens.
If one believes the current emergence decree is justified, technically speaking, the police’s action is not terrorism. However, the legal argument is, the constitution allows for public assembly.
Therefore, which law is the higher authority? Does the emergency decree cancel the constitution?
On the other hand, if one believes the emergency decree’s enactment is the state using the law to persecute the people. Then, the abuse of power by using the law to harass and intimidate civilians qualifies as state-sponsored terrorism.
In the pursuit of political aims
A form of state-sponsored terrorism is SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation).
SLAPP is a lawsuit intended to censor, intimidate, and silence critics by burdening them with the cost of a legal defense until they abandon their criticism or opposition.
Since the 18 July protest at the Democracy Monument, there have been many demonstrations breaking out in Bangkok and many provinces. Protest leaders and the bulk of the participants are students and young adults who demonstrate peacefully. As such, the state has no legal ground nor moral justification for preventing the protests.
However, the state has SLAPP.
Over 30 protest leaders are charged with a dozen crimes, from violating public noise and public cleanliness to violating the emergency decree, which doesn’t allow for public assembly.
Furthermore, news reports of plainclothes police visiting homes, following activists around, and having “a talk” with parents are abundant. Schools have collaborated with the authorities to curb students’ protest activities using tactics such as suspension from school and the threat of expulsion.
All of which tantamounts to one political aim: using threats and intimidation to instill enough fear in the protest leaders and people not to organize or attend protests.
In a nutshell, the state is terrorizing civilians to prevent democracy.