Military harass family of former lèse majesté prisoner in self-exile

 
Thantawut Taweewarodomkul aka “Noom Rednon”, a former convict under Article 112 or the lèse majesté law, revealed on Tuesday that his family has been followed and harassed by the military after he did not report to the junta as ordered. 
 
Thantawut was sentenced to 13 years in jail for posting lèse majesté messages on a website. After serving three years in jail, he received a royal pardon. After he was freed in July 2013, he occasionally joined red-shirt pro-democracy activities.   
 
On May 24, two days after the coup, his name appeared on a list of those summoned by the junta's National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO). He has since been in hiding, but active on social networks. 
 
In a letter to the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), Human Rights Watch, and Amnesty International, Thantawut, 42, states that he decided not to report because the junta has no legitimacy.
 
“After I was in hiding for a while, my aging father and mother, brothers, sisters and son were harassed by officials from the NCPO. The NCPO sent police and military to visit them every day, sometimes twice a day -- in the morning and in the evening. My family has suffered. My mom has been so stressed that she was admitted to hospital,” writes Thantawut. “They told my family that they will continue doing this until I reported to the NCPO.”
 
He urges the human rights organizations to protect his family and others harassed by the junta. 
 
Earlier red-shirt, anti-coup activist Sombat Boonngam-anong, while he was in hiding, called for the junta to stop harassing his daughter. Sombat was in the first group of people summoned by the junta. He was later arrested in eastern Chonburi Province. 
 
The following is Thantawut’s letter of to the human rights organization:  
 
28 July 2014
 
Subject: Request for human rights protection following harassment and threats against the families of those who did not report following the order of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO)  
 
Dear Thai Lawyers for Human Rights:
 
I, Thanthawut Taweewardomkul, age 42, of Thai nationality and ethnicity, am a former lèse majesté prisoner who was sentenced to 13 years in prison. I spent 3 years, 3 months, and 15 days in prison before I received a royal pardon and was released on 5 July 2013.
 
After I was released, I began working in order to start my life anew. I was not involved in anything related to the institution of the monarchy, which was what had caused me to be imprisoned. I only occasionally participated in activities calling for democracy, in line with the right to do so that every citizen in this land is supposed to have.
 
After the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) seized administrative power from the government elected by the people on 22 May 2014, a large number of people were summoned to report. I was one of those summoned in Order No. 5/2557 on 24 May 2014.
 
Following the aforementioned Order, I decided not to report and to go into hiding. This is because I think that the NCPO has no legitimacy and their power comes from the barrel of a gun, which is not accepted by civilized nations.
 
But after I had been in hiding for a period, my aging parents, my brothers and sisters, and my son, were threatened and harassed by state officials operating under the martial law of the NCPO. They were visited by police and soldiers nearly every day, and sometimes twice a day, in both the morning and the evening. This has caused the members of my family to suffer, especially my mother, who was so stressed that she had to enter the hospital. The officials told my family that they would continue to meet in this fashion until I reported to the NCPO.
 
This behaviour is a clear violation of the principles of human rights. This is the use of power against individuals who are not directly involved and it is shameful that the junta has acted in this way against those who are simply ordinary citizens.
 
I therefore call on you to assist and protect my family and facilitate their safety. I ask you to aid in pushing state officials to immediately cease threatening and harassing the members of my family, as well as other families who have been affected by the orders of the NCPO.
 
I greatly hope that you will consider my request.
 
With respect,
 
Thanthawut Taweewarodomkul
A Thai citizen who does not accept the power of the dictatorship