A group of sixteen students were recently arrested for participating in a series of peaceful protests in Bangkok and Khon Kaen. Thai law stipulates that peaceful political gatherings of more than five people are crimes. Not only were the students arrested and punished for an illegal gathering, but they were also charged with sedition, which carries a potential seven-year prison term in a military facility. Sedition is essentially any action that seeks to create “unrest and disaffection.”
Fourteen of the students remain in prison, while two have been released on bail. Amnesty International is asking for support in getting all of the students released and the charges dropped. The organization emphasizes the fact that the students were not causing any violence or disruption and that the only aggressive actions taken at the protests were those of the police arresting the group. They believe the students are prisoners of conscience, which Amnesty International feels very strongly about.
There is an extreme likelihood that these students will be treated poorly in prison, so Amnesty International is calling for their immediate release, before anything terrible or dangerous happens to them. While the students are awaiting release, Amnesty International is also asking that they are treated fairly and that they are given access to lawyers, family visits, and healthcare when needed. Finally, they want to see the law changed so that there is no longer a limit on the number of people who may stage a peaceful protest.
Please act now so these students can get some immediate help. People all over the world should be free to speak their minds and protest things they don’t believe in. These students were not hurting anyone, and they should not be punished harshly for their actions. In fact, they shouldn’t be punished at all.