Student group condemns junta for trying student activist in military court

An anti-coup student activist group from Thammasat University has condemned the charge against a student activist, who will be the first student tried in a military court. 

The police on Saturday arrested four activists for organizing a peaceful anti-coup activity at Siam Square, Bangkok, and charged them with violating the junta’s orders by organizing a political gathering of more than five people. One of them is Sirawit Serithiwat, a student activist from Thammasat University.

Sirawit Serithiwat was arrested for protesting against the junta a few times previously. On Saturday, the police charged him with two cases. The second charge relates to his past anti-coup activity. According to lawyers, the two cases will be tried in a military court.

Dome Front Agora, a Thammasat University student group, said in a statement on Sunday that this is the first time that a student will be tried in a military court for defying martial law since Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha took power on 22 May 2014. 

The Dome Front Agora urged the junta to:

  • stop intimidating and arresting student activists and Thai citizens who peacefully express their thoughts;
  • stop trying citizens and students in military courts;
  • lift martial law;
  • return power to Thai citizens. 

Since the coup, Thai student activists, especially from Thammasat and Khon Kaen universities, have been at the forefront of anti-coup voices. They have regularly held anti-coup activities which expectedly led to arrests and also headline news. However, this is the first time a student was charged and will be tried in a military court. 

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