Chiang Rai high school student advised to confess

A high school student, one of five students who have been persecuted for their minor protest against the Emergency Decree in Chiang Rai, reported to the Juvenile Observation and Protection Centre for questioning, and has been advised to confess to the crime and ask the court for leniency.

16 July (UDDThailand's photo)

On 30 July, the Matthayom 5 (Grade 11) student, 16, who joined four college students in a protest against the Emergency Decree on 16 July in downtown Chiang Rai, reported to the Juvenile Observation and Protection Centre. 

He and the others have been charged by police with violating the Emergency Decree and instigating unrest, among other crimes.  Police turned him over to the local juvenile centre which by law is authorized to take care of people under 18. 

During questioning, Centre officials asked him about his family, his parents’ income, and personal matters including whether he had ever been arrested for a criminal offence, whether he drinks and smokes, whether he had modified his motorcycle, how many close friends he has, and whether he goes out late at night, he told a Voice TV reporter.

He was also asked about his purpose for his joining the protest, and was advised by the officials to confess to obtain leniency from the court.

He said that the officials were polite to him, and he was told to return to the Centre on 2 Aug for a psychological examination.

According to Matichon, the student’s mother received a call from a teacher at her son’s school late on the afternoon of the protest, telling her to bring her son to the school right away.  There, she was told by teachers that her son was not wrong for having protested, but he should not have worn his student shirt bearing the name of the school.

Unconcerned, she brought her son home, when at about 5 pm Pol Lt Col Banyat Thamthong, Acting Deputy Provincial Police Commander, called her to ask for her husband’s telephone number.  She told him that her husband was working in Bangkok, and came home once every few months. 

While she was talking to her husband on the phone, telling him that the police were going to call him, she heard footsteps at the front door, as the gate had been only half closed.  She hung up and went to have a look and met three men who identified themselves as plainclothes police who had come to question her son.

They asked her son who had persuaded him to join the protest, and her son told them that he and the others had gotten to know one another through Facebook.  They looked into her son’s notebook computer, and asked both of them to go to the police station.  The mother refused as it was getting dark, and asked them to issue an official summons first. 

After the three plainclothes policemen left, Pol Lt Col Banyat called, saying that he was coming to see them at the house, and he came with a woman and searched her son’s notebook computer.  She asked them to leave as it was already late.

Late in the afternoon of 18 July, the police called the mother saying that they would come to her house at 7 pm.   She took her son to her friend’s house, and returned at 9 pm.  From 7 pm on, a car with a siren was seen parked near her house, but it disappeared when they returned home.

On the morning of 19 July, police called to tell her to open the gate as they had a summons and a search warrant.  They then came to take photos of her son’s bedroom and seized his notebook computer, and told her to bring her son to the police station at 10 am on 20 July.

She took her son to the police station as requested, and the police took her son to the prosecutor’s office for interrogation.  The interrogation was done by a public prosecutor, a psychologist, a lawyer, a policeman, and a human rights activist.

At police station on 20 July

On 21 July, the mother brought her son to report to the Juvenile Observation and Protection Centre as instructed by police, as by law young people not older than 18 must be placed under the care of the agency.



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