9 December 2011
On December 10th, the petition, in which we demand that the Thai government abolish Article 112 and release all political prisoners sentenced under it, will be handed over to the Thai government.
The Thai government cannot object to or suppress this campaign openly because freedom of speech and thought lie at the heart of democracy. However, since the launch of the campaign more than ten days ago, the Thai government agencies have tried to suppress the campaign in a more subversive way, through attacks in cyberspace. The list of problems ACT4DEM has experienced due to the attacks in cyberspace includes:
The website Time Up Thailand went down last week, and it took the whole day to fix the problem.
Signing the IPetition became impossible for many in Thailand.
A 4Shared account was hacked into and the contents of the account deleted (The file deleted was titled “60 years of oppression and suppression in Thailand” ).
The e-mail account savethailand[at]gmail.com was frozen by Google. It has not been reactivated by Google, even though the owner of the account sent a fax to Google explaining the situation.
The attacks have created fear in the people who have signed the petition that their signature will cause them problems or repression from the Thai government.
These attacks will not stop the ACT4DEM from fighting against the Thai government’s abuse of Article 112. ACT4DEM will not stop their campaign until 112 has been abolished, and all the political prisoners sentenced under LM are released.
However, the abovementioned subversive action on the Thai government’s part is frightening and downright unbelievable. We all know that Yingluck Shinawatra’s government was elected by the people in democratic elections on July 3rd 2011. A mandate was given to Yingluck and her party by the people.
Most of the ACT4DEM work from abroad. ACT4DEM is asking for co-operation from Thai organizations and from the Thai people, who are discussing the way to take action.
We ask you all to sign the petition. We ask everyone to join on December 10th 2011 to hand over the petition to the Thai government, to show the Thai government that they MUST respect freedom of speech and thought in Thailand.
The Thai government will not succeed in stopping this campaign.
4 December 2011: Moving ahead steadily.
Dear friends and comrades,
By law it is impossible to impede our campaign for the Abolition of Article 112 of the Criminal Code (lèse majesté) and the release of political prisoners. Yet despite this, the ACT4DEM has constantly encountered problems with regards to our site, Time-up Thailand. The links in particular have become broken and several people have informed us that they could not access the Ipetition. Some said that they have been notified/warned by ‘good will persons’ not to sign the petition because they could be threatened by the Royal Guards, for instance.
And yet, the number of signatories of the ACT4DEM’s petition is reaching 2,000. Renowned figures from a variety of professions, including academics, file-makers, writers, the media, unionists, students, workers, housewives and househusbands, to name but a few, have joined our campaign. Despite the atmosphere of fear across Thailand, they are brave enough to stand up and be heard. This is because we/they understand and honour the principle of democracy.
We added our name list to those launched by other organisations regarding the release of political prisoners and the abolition of Article 112 as well as the Petition ‘Stop the Bloodshed in Thailand’ that was initiated by the ACT4DEM demanding a cease-fire from the military on May 16, 2010 and which was been submitted to the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on October 26, 2010. (This petition was blocked by the CRES two days after it was launched). But the signatories still reached 9,500. The lists of these signatories will be presented to the Yingluck administration, to remind her government that ‘their power was derived from millions having given their time, money/property/assets and from the blood of the May 2010 incident.’
At this moment, the number of signatories calling for the repeal of Article 112, the release of political prisoners and those prosecuted in lèse majesté cases, and freedom of expression has surpassed 15,000. We would like to encourage any organisation that campaigns against Article 112 to join us in this effort.
The ACT4DEM has insisted that despite the interference to our petition and despite Phue Thai’s attempt to send Dr Sunai (Julapongsathorn) to restoring the confidence of the Thai people in Europe and USA in order to slow down the momentum of the reform of Article 112, we will move forward. We will not stop at December 10, but we will continue our campaign relentlessly and more widely. We will encourage our international allies to translate our petition/demands into even more languages to reaffirm our stance that ‘we will not stop until victims of the 112 cases and political prisoners are released and until Article 112 is revoked’.
Our standpoint has been clarified by the evidence that the current Thai government is fearful of the monarchy and of the military, and has only reiterated slogans of ‘reconciliation, unity and loyalty’. The government is not taking serious steps (and perhaps not being sincere) in providing a space for freedom for the people, as seen by turning the blind eye to charges against the PAD and on Article 112 whilst imposing stricter and more effective measures to restrict cyberspace freedom. More people are being prosecuted under lèse majesté charges, with no difference from the Abhisit administration.
Meanwhile, the government is rigorously pressing ahead with capitalist economic policies (and pushing for policies) in accordance with the Crown Property Bureau, especially those concerning irrigation and water management (whereby the mega-projects of dam building cost billions and are outdated).
The government has endorsed dam-building projects which benefit capitalists and elite politicians who derive profits from ‘bricks, stone, cement and sand‘ at the expense of the wider population, and has even been uninterested in the fact that the World Bank has been pressurized from people around the world to put an end to lending money for building dams.
While the government is not fearful in this regard it has nevertheless refused to rectify issues for which the electorate has given them a mandate. Why so? The government has insisted on the ‘forgive and forget‘ slogan, claiming that it ‘cannot act on this issue right now so you must be patient.’
How much longer can you make the people tolerate, believe, forgive and forget when the court ruling on the case against Ah-Gong was a sentence of 20 years of imprisonment?
How many more generations do we have to wait, and how many more elections do we have to cast the ballot for the Phue Thai Party?
We insist that we will continue our campaign, because we realise that sustaining the development of the national economy cannot be achieved as long as people are living in fear. Even signing the petition, which is in fact legally permissible, on the repeal of Article 112 can, for instance, be a source of terror for the signatory and his/her family.
In order to steadily and sustainably move the country forward, the current political stalemate must be undone, beginning with the ‘revocation of Article 112’ so that any development proposal can be presented straightforwardly without anyone risking assassination, imprisonment or victimization by social sanction campaigns and witch-hunters acting as if we were still living in the dark Middle Ages, centuries ago.
Never before has the international arena acknowledged the root causes of Thailand’s political crisis to such a wide extent. Over twenty governments around the world have already proposed that the Thai government stop censorship of the media, stop the infringement of freedom and liberty and revise Article 112.
We need everyone to gather together in a unifying force. Let us walk amidst (the culture of) fear towards a free and liberated Thailand. We do not encourage the use of force in any shape or form and we would like to express our opinion according to the democratic rule of law via endorsing the petition and continuing to launch our campaign peacefully and creatively.
When cyberspace is blocked, cyber armies need to march on foot and we will together inform the Yingluck administration that when ‘you close our access by hands and click, we will open another by deploying both legs, both hands, both eyes and one mouth’,
We believe in the power of the people
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26 November 2011
There are many people who have participated, signing their names to an online Facebook petition since yesterday evening that ACT4DEM by Lek Janya Yimprasert has launched. The petition calls for the Thai government to release a political prisoner in a case involving a lese majesty charge and urges the government in general to dismiss Article 112 (the Criminal Code of Thailand)
There are approximately 40 organizations and roughly 400 individuals who have thus far endorsed the online petition since June 24, 2011.
ACT4DEM will send the petition with all signatories to the Yingluck government on the 10th of December, 2011.
We deeply thank all who participated in this action and still urge everyone who loves justice and democracy to join us in endorsing the petition and the cause for which it stands.
We will not stop this campaign until all prisoners serving sentences under Article 112 have been released and Article 112 has been removed.
If we continue to gain 200-300 signatories each day, by the 10th of December 2011 we should reach the 5000 mark. Furthermore, should we gain 11,135 signatories to the cause this would represent a great symbol for Thai democracy as it is the exact number of those who have tragically lost their lives to political violence in Thailand over the last 60 years -for further information please see 60 Years of Oppression and Suppression in Thailand or here
We make this declaration; that if any signatories to this petition are subsequently charged under Article 112 of the Criminal Code for crimes of lèse majesté ACT4DEM will escalate this campaign, expanding the distribution of the petition in more languages and urging international organizations to participate directly in these efforts.Lek Janya Yimprasert also commits to returning to Thailand whether to lead a group or acting as an individual to lead this campaign regardless of the consequences in the event that signatories to this petition are charged and/or imprisoned.
The world must know that even debating the issue of lèse majesté in Thailand is prohibited and to do so runs the risk of long term imprisonment. This is an intolerable state of affairs for a so called democracy like Thailand to maintain. Physical freedom is meaningless is one’s freedom of expression is suppressed in such a way.
We ask for your help.