24 October 2019
UDPATE: Thai protest band Faiyen safe in France
The Thai protest band Faiyen arrived in France on August 2019 where they applied for asylum after five years of living in exile in Laos, reported France 24.
According to Deutsche Welle, the band organized a protest in front of the Thai embassy in Paris on 8 August. The protest aimed to highlight the issue of “brutal murders and forced disappearances of their fellow exiled activists in Laos”.
After the protest, Faiyen performed its first street concert since they fled Thailand.
3 July 2019
“We now fear for our lives” – Thai musicians plead for safety
Pleas for help have escalated from the Thai protest band Faiyen who remains exiled in Laos after fleeing Thailand in 2014.
According to ABC News Australia, band members Worravut “Tito” Thueakchaiyaphum, Trairong “Khunthong” Sinseubpol, Nithiwat “Jom” Wannasiri and Romcahalee “Yammy” Sombulrattanakul have long-feared retaliation for their public criticism of the military and monarchy in their music and social media posts.
“Since December , we have heard warnings from friends in Thailand that there would be teams sent from Thailand to get to us. Some said that 700 officials are involved in this kind of operation to track all the exiles,” said Worravut “Tito” Thueakchaiyaphum to Reuters.
A post on the band’s public Facebook page reiterates these fears, as the band members plead for safety stating, “We now fear for our lives. Many trusted people told us that the Thai military will come to kill us within this week. Please help save us.”
These fears are not unfounded. Since the 2014 military coup in retaliation to Thailand’s Red Shirt movement, many democratic activists have been targeted and killed.
According to the ABC, dissenters to the military-backed monarchy can officially be charged with a maximum prison sentence of 15-years jail time. Unofficially, however, an increasing number of activists associated with the movement are disappearing or found killed in an alarmingly violent and brutal fashion.
At this stage, the international Human Rights community will be closely monitoring the situation in Thailand. Freemuse encourages readers to support their right to artistic expression by keeping Faiyen’s story in the public eye by sharing the #SaveFaiyen.