#SaveNittaya - What You Need to Know about Nittaya's Unfair Court Verdicts
Nittaya’s cases are finally over - BUT her story is the reflection of how Thailand is committing a crime against the future of poor villagers, indigenous peoples and forest-dependent communities by not recognizing them as Protectors of the Forest! Thailand’s current Forest Reclamation Policy is NOT a real Climate Change solution!
For both of her cases, held on 3 March and 5 May, the Supreme Court sentenced Nittaya with a suspended jail term of 3 years as she is found guilty of encroaching and destroying forest land in the Sai Thong National Park area. She had 2 cases against her related to 2 plots of land, one case for the area of her cassava farm and another case for the area of her house; and she has to pay a total of 190,000 THB civil penalties as compensation to the government!
The verdicts for both of her cases are similar: the Supreme Court refused to apply the NCPO order 66/2014 to Nittaya's case stating it is only an administrative order and not a legal provision protecting poor villagers from being evicted from their land. So, the Court found her guilty of encroaching and destroying forest land under the Forestry Act, National Park Act, and National Reserved Forests Act as determined by the Court of First Instance in 2018 and the Appeals Court in 2019.
Although Nittaya is walking free, she and her family still have to pay a huge amount of money to the National Park Department! They will still be evicted from their land, their home, and they will lose their livelihood, and everything they possess. They will be put in a situation of extreme poverty after they have already spent months in jail following the sentencing of the Court of Appeals in 2019. But who will take responsibility for the damage done to them?
Nittaya’s and the Sab Wai villagers’ fight for justice is not over yet! Together with Manushya Foundation, we will use international litigation to continue fighting back until Nittaya and the rest of the Sab Wai villagers get the remedy they deserve!
We would like to sincerely thank everyone for your support and attention given to the cases of the Sab Wai villagers. Your voice makes all the difference and we couldn’t thank you enough for it. The rest of the Sab Wai villagers will have their Supreme Court’s verdicts coming up in the next two weeks as well. Please continue to support them and keep an eye on their cases! THE FIGHT IS NOT OVER!