Military court dismisses petition questioning its jurisdiction

Bangkok’s Military Court dismissed a petition submitted by a prominent red-shirt figure questioning whether the jurisdiction of the military court over civilian cases violates the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).  

The Military Court of Bangkok on Friday morning ruled to reject the petition submitted by Sombat Boonngam-anong (aka nuling), an anti-coup red-shirt activist accused of defying the junta’s orders and instigating rebellion against the coup-makers in June 2014.

The petition was submitted to the military court in order to allow the Constitutional Court to interpret whether the junta’s Announcements No. 37/2014 and 38/2014 on the jurisdiction of the military courts violate the ICCPR. However, the military court simply dismissed the request.

Sombat is the founder of the Mirror Foundation and a well-known political activist who is the leader of the red-shirt ‘Red Sunday’ group.

He is charged with failing to report to the junta twice, instigating rebellion against the coup-makers under Article 116 of the Criminal Code, and importing computer content related to offences against national security under Article 14 (3) of the Computer Crime Act.    

He was arrested on 5 June 2014 and was brought to unknown locations for detention. He was however later brought to Bangkok Remand Prison during the interrogation period.

After he suggested that the red shirts should stop going out to protest and that he had decided to stop defying the junta and wished instead to cooperate with the NCPO, he was granted bail in July 2014.  

In 2011, Bangkok North Municipal court sentenced Sombat to six months in prison and fined him 6,000 baht with the jail term suspended for leading a demonstration against the emergency decree on Lad Phrao Road in eastern Bangkok, on 21 May 2010, two days after the government’s crackdown on the red shirts at Ratchaprasong.     

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