Preliminary hearing in case against women human rights defenders scheduled for March 21

(BANGKOK, March 18, 2022)—Thai authorities should protect human rights defenders from judicial harassment and dismiss criminal defamation complaints brought by Thai chicken company Thammakaset Company Limited, said Fortify Rights today. On March 21, the Bangkok South Criminal Court is scheduled to continue preliminary hearings in the combined cases against Angkhana NeelapaijitPuttanee Kangkun, and Thanaporn Saleephol.

“Thai authorities must defend freedom of expression at every turn, including in unfounded cases brought by corporations seeking to silence human rights defenders,” said Amy Smith, Executive Director of Fortify Rights. “All cases brought by this company against human rights defenders should be dropped without delay or conditions.”

SLAPP, or Strategic Litigation Against Public Participation, is endemic in Thailand. This ongoing case combines four complaints brought by Thammakaset against former Thailand Human Rights Commissioner Angkhana Neelapaijit, Fortify Rights Senior Human Rights Specialist Puttanee Kangkun, and former Communications Associate at Fortify Rights Thanaporn Saleephol. It includes a combined 28 counts of criminal defamation for 28 postings or re-postings on social media, in which the women expressed support for other human rights defenders facing judicial harassment by the company.

Community Resource Center Foundation – a Thai nonprofit and legal aid organization is providing legal representation to this combined case.

Since 2016, Thammakaset has brought at least 37 complaints against 22 human rights defenders. The courts have dismissed or ruled against the company in most cases. Despite this, Thai authorities continue to consider criminal defamation complaints brought by Thammakaset against human rights defenders.

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