When the (in)justice system destroys human dignity

“The court has been turned into a prison,” Anon Nampa said in court on 8 April.

While Thailand is preoccupied mainly with the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Songkran Holiday, let us not forget, there are those sitting in jail for the crime of demanding democracy.

21 pro-democracy activists on trial for Section 112, the lese majeste law, have withdrawn their legal representation.

Why? They have lost all faith in Thailand’s justice system. What’s the point of having lawyers argue your case when you’re already “presumed guilty” and when you are denied the right to private legal consultation?

According to Thai Lawyers for Human Rights, whenever lawyers meet with any of the 21 defendants, prison guards stand watch. During the trial, relatives are forbidden to enter the courtroom. They are made to wait outside.

The female restroom is sealed off with three layers of yellow metal fences and bailiffs standing guard. Female court officials are allowed to use the restroom. Mothers of the defendants aren’t.

In a declaration to the court, Anon called the treatment of the defendants and their families “the destruction of human dignity.”

“Our lawyers have been pressured and restricted from performing their duties. This is unconstitutional,” said Anon.

He said these are tactics to dishearten and wear down the defendants, their families, and their lawyers. Withering them down bit by bit until they submit and plea guilty.

Another tactic is to deny relatives visitation.

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