Chiang Rai high school student instructed to receive psychotherapy

The high school student charged with violating the Emergency Decree has undergone a psychological examination and is scheduled to receive psychotherapy for two days.

On 2 Aug, the 16 year-old Grade 11 student, who joined four college students on 16 July to protest against the decree and the government crackdown on demonstrations at Ratchaprasong, underwent a psychological examination by officials of the Juvenile Observation and Protection Centre.

It took the student more than 3 hours to complete the psychological tests, which included answering questions, and drawing and matching pictures, which he assumed were to test his rationality.  After the tests, the officials instructed him to report for psychotherapy on 16-17 Aug, from 9 am to 4 pm.

Letter from a psychologist at Chiang Rai Juvenile Observation and Protection Centre instructing the student to receive pshychotherapy (photo by Danny Chiangrai)

He said that he was puzzled by that as the tests results had not yet been inspected.
He said that reporting to the authorities had already forced him to skip class many times, and the next appointment with Centre officials also falls on a Monday and Tuesday.  He was concerned about his studies at school, and his teachers had assigned a lot of work as the end of term was approaching.  So far his classmates had kept him up to date with the schoolwork he had missed.

He said that his problem with the authorities had not affected his relationship with his friends and teachers at school.

He said that the protest on 16 July had been arranged among himself and the other four college students through Facebook, and they met for the first time on that day.  They carried placards and walked from the market to the old clock tower, and there were people cheering and smiling at them.  They went on to the entrance to the provincial hall, and took photos there for 10 minutes.  He did not expect that things would turn out this way.

16 July protest (UDDThailand's photo)

‘I had no idea that it would become so serious, because I thought it was the expression of a political view which did not cause any trouble to anybody.  At that time, I felt that it was the right thing to do, but now I have to ask myself if it was wrong,’ he said.

At first he was afraid, because on that day the police came to his house twice to ask him questions and search his notebook computer.  On 19 July, they came again with a summons and a search warrant, and seized his computer.  Until now, the police have yet to reveal their findings, and have not returned his computer.

Police interrogation on 20 July

His mother has been really stressed.  Besides his case, they are worried that his father’s career as a civil servant might be affected, as some authorities have threatened that if they did not cooperate, his father might be moved elsewhere.

He insisted that he had not been used as a tool by anybody.  A local red shirt leader Thanit Bunyanasineekasem, who has been summoned and interrogated by police, was just someone he met and talked to through Facebook, and was not his mastermind as alleged.  

‘We’re not tools. What I did was what I thought,’ he said.

He said that he got moral support from his parents and friends who backed him to fight on.  The college students who joined the protest have also told him that they are still in good spirits.

The five students have been charged by Chiang Rai police with violating Sections 9(1) and (2) of the Emergency Decree which prohibits gatherings of groups of 5 people or more, instigating unrest, disseminating information which might scare the public, or intentionally distorting information to create misunderstanding about the state of emergency to a degree that affects national security, public order or public morals.  The charges carry a maximum jail term of two years and fine of 20,000 baht.



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