Anti-coup red-shirt activist Sombat Boonngarm-anong has said on Twitter that he wishes to help the junta tackle drug problems, that reds and yellows are united behind bars and that he befriended the anti-red-shirt "popcorn gunman".
On Thursday, Sombat tweeted on twitter.com/nuling a series on his experience in prison and a series. In the evening, Sombat tweeted on the drug policy of the junta’s National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) and his experience working to help drug addicts.
Interestingly, Sombat’s tone toward the junta is much softer than before he was arrested. Sombat told reporters after his first night at the Bangkok Remand Prison that he suggested that the red shirts should stop going out to protest and that he had decided to stop defying the junta and wished to cooperate with the NCPO instead.
In the series on his experience as a detainee, Sombat, aka Nuling, told his followers on Twitter that he was welcomed very warmly by other red-shirt political prisoners, such as Somyos Prueksakasemsuk
and Jeng Dokjik
. He then met and befriended the popcorn gunman, an armed guard of the anti-election People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC).
In February, there was a skirmish between the popcorn gunman and what were reportedly red-shirts near a PDRC protest site in northern Bangkok.
Sombat said he later shared sleeping quarters with the popcorn gunman and also gave him medicine.
The activist added that he has suffered from a cough since he was in prison and has not yet recovered.
On Thursday night, Nuling tweeted on the policy to crack down on illicit drugs and the rehabilitation of drug addicts by the NCPO. The NCPO expected the agencies related to illicit drug suppression to deliver results in one month.
Sombat said he supports the policy.
“Even though I disagree with the NCPO on politics, I recognize its attempt to tackle the illicit drug problem. I won't obstruct them and am even happy to join hands,” tweeted the activist.
Sombat made no reference to the serious human rights violations that occurred during and after the War on Drugs policy of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra in 2003. The policy led to torture, extra-judicial killings, and enforced disappearances of people who may or may not have been involved in drug trafficking, and intensified unfair treatment of hill-tribe ethnic minorities in the north of Thailand. .
Sombat was released on bail earlier this week after spending nearly a month in Bangkok's Remand Prison on charges of "inciting unrest," violating the Computer Crimes Act, and defying a summons order from the NCPO.
Sombat was one of the first red-shirt activists to be summoned by the military. He was arrested on the night of June 5 at a house in eastern Chonburi Province where he had been hiding for two weeks. While he was hiding, he was politically very active in cyberspace. He successfully orchestrated an anti-coup gathering on Sunday June 1 at McDonald’s Ratchaprasong branch where a thousand people showed up without his presence.
He was released from custody after interrogation at a police station in the northeast province of Roi Et related to a lèse majesté charge earlier this week. He was released under the condition that he must stop political activities and not leave the country.
Read the translation of Sombat’s tweets on experience from prison from Khaosod English