Case update: Summons of 11 Activists demanding corruption probe of military park project

Update: The case of 11 activists of the ‘train to Rajabhakti Park to shine light in searching for the corruption’ 

photo-rajabhakti29Dec15

On 29 December 2015, TLHR lawyers, representing accused No. 1-10, submitted a letter to postpone a reporting to police from 29 December 2015 to 8 January 2016, for charges of violating the NCPO’s ban on political gatherings of more than five persons. The reasons for postponement were because some of the activists had to travel aboard or already had other appointments. Mr. Thanet, one of the arrested activists who were arrested from hospital and charged with sedition for his Facebook post criticising  the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), could not report himself to police as he had  to appear before the Bangkok Military Court for pre-trial detention and bail the same day. Therefore, the Thonburi Railway police allowed the adjournment as requested.

However, two of the 11 summoned activists reported themselves as summoned to police. Mr. Kititituch Suman aka “Champ 1984” for he was arrested due to reading the 1984 novel in a symbolical activity to protest the military coup in June 2014, denied all charges. Another was Mr. Wijit Hanhaboon also denied all charges and would submit additional statement to police within 15 January 2016.

The 11 activists will face trial in military court, if indicted by military prosecutor, and could face the punishment of up to 6 months of imprisonment and/or a fine of not exceeding 10,000 Baht according to the Head of the NCPO Order No. 3/2015.

Brief background

The “Democracy Study” group announced an activity “Train Trip to Rajabhakti, shine light in searching for the corruption”, calling for an investigation of corruption in the construction of Rajabhakti Park. The activists were to meet at Thonburi station at 7 am on 7 December 2015 then travel by train to Rajabhakti Park in Hua Hin, Prajuab Kirikhan. They were stopped at Baan Pong station, Ratchaburi, and 36 people were arrested. They were taken to a temporary military unit in Putthamonthon Buddhist Park, Nakhon Prathom. The officers recorded their information and, before release on that day, forced them to sign an MOU to not joining political movement again and not leaving the country without permission. 11 people refused to accept the MOU, leading to them being accused of violating the political gathering ban according to the Head of the NCPO’s Order No. 3/2015.

The 11 activists included Mr. Sirawit Seritiwat, Mr. Anon Nampha, Ms. Chonthicha Jaeung-Rew, Ms. Chanoknan Ruamsap, Mr. Thanet Anantawong, Mr. Kititituch Suman, Mr. Wisarut Anukulkanm, Mr, Abhisit Sapnaphapan, Mr. Korakot Saengyenpan, Ms. Kornkanok Khumta, and Mr. Vichit Hanhaboon.

Charges

The Head of the NCPO Order No. 3/2015, Article 12 paragraph one states that any political gathering of five or more persons shall be punished with imprisonment not exceeding six months or a fine not exceeding ten thousand Baht, or both, unless permission has been granted by the Head of the NCPO. or an authorized representative.

Arrest and detention

On 7 December 2015: 36 people including student activists were arrested by military during their train ride from Bangkok to Hua Hin, Prachuab Kirikhan province. The planned trip was organised to campaign for investigation into alleged corruptions in the military-run construction of the Rajabhakti Park, called “the Train Ride to Shed Light on Fraud at the Rajabhakti Park”. They were taken from Ratchaburi province to be detained in military custody at the 9th Infantry Regiment Command which was operating in the area of the Office of the Bureau of Buddhism, Buddha Monthon, Nakhon Pathom province.

All 36 were released the same night, some of which had to sign a document agreeing not to get involved in any political activists again.

For more information of the case, please see https://tlhr2014.wordpress.com/2015/12/25/11-thai-activists-demanding-probe-on-corruptions-in-thai-army-rajabhakti-park-at-risk-of-arrest/

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By Thai Lawyers for Human Rights Posted in News Update

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