5 students in Chiang Rai have been persecuted by the authorities after they staged a small protest calling for the lifting of the Emergency Decree and reminding the public of the killings in Ratchaprasong.
16 July (UDDThailand's Photo)
Two students from Chiang Rai Rajabhat University, two from Mae Fah Luang University, and one from a local high school reportedly arranged the 16 July protest through Facebook. They carried placards with messages including ‘I’ve seen people killed at Ratchaprasong’, and walked around the market, the clock tower and the entrance to the provincial hall. A local red shirt leader was allegedly spotted nearby during the protest.
The two Chiang Rai University Rajabhat students Kittipong Nakakade, 24, and Nitimethapon Muangmulkuldee, 23, and Kai, (not his real name), 16, a Matthayom 5 student at a well-known local school, were summoned and interrogated by police on 20 July.
Local red shirt leader Thanit Bunyanasineekasem has also been summoned for questioning by police, while summonses for Akekapan Tabanhan, 19, and Sathit Sensakul, 19, from Mae Fah Luang University will be issued.
None of them has been detained.
Kittipong, Nitimethapon and Thanit will have to report again to the police for further questioning on 2 Aug.
On 21 July, Kai, along with his mother, were instructed by police to report to the provincial Juvenile Observation and Protection Centre, as young people not older than 18 must be placed under the care of the agency. He and his mother were told by the Director of the Centre to report to the Centre again on 30 July for questioning.
National Human Rights Commissioner Dr Niran Phithakwatchara said that the police must ensure that the rights of the students are not violated, and the media must keep an eye on how the police proceed with the case and whether they adhere to the principles of human rights.
According to Khaosod, a source at a National Human Rights Commission subcommittee said that a military major in the province has asked a local livestock farm owner to persuade the students to confess that they were hired by the local red-shirt leader Thanit in exchange for being acquitted, but the students refused.
In contrast to a statement to the press by the Centre for the Resolution of the Emergency Decree that the students were charged for violating the traffic law, the Chiang Rai police record clearly states that the students contravened the Emergency Decree: assembling in a group of 5 people or more, instigating unrest, disseminating information which may frighten the public, or distorting information with the intent to create a misunderstanding about the state of emergency which affects national security or public order or morals.