After anti-junta activists urged the court of justice not to let military courts try civilians, the Thai junta responded by pointing out that special security measures are needed to maintain national security and warned activists that a planned rally might be viewed as creating a situation.
Col Winthai Suwaree, the spokesperson of the junta’s National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) on Friday stated that extra security measures are needed to maintain national security under the current volatile circumstances and that the standards of the military and civil courts are the same.
The junta’s statement was made as a response to the activities of the four anti-junta activists from Resistant Citizen, a pro-democracy activist group, who on Thursday issued a statement urging the court of justice to resist the junta’s order to allow military courts try civilian defendants.
Winthai added that, in reality, the military tribunals only hold trials related to national security cases and that most people in society understand that the measure is necessary.
The activists pointed out in the statement that the military courts cannot guarantee to suspects the right to a fair trial because the substandard judicial procedures of the military court do not guarantee suspects’ right to appeal a verdict.
The junta’s spokesperson also made reference to Anon Nampa, one of the four activists from Resistant Citizen who face charges for defying in February NCPO Order No. 7/2014, which bans political gatherings of more than five people, saying that the activist does not fully understand the current situation in Thailand and is gradually trying to create a political situation.
Winthai also commented that the “I Walk Therefore I Am” rally planned by the same activist group, which will be held from 14-16 March, might be viewed as political.
“[I] believe that [people in] society are confused about the real intentions of Anon on what he is trying to do, whether it is for himself or for the country,” said Winthai.
The NCPO will continue to closely monitor people who do not understand the junta, the junta’s spokesman added.
On 25 May 2014, the junta’s National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) issued Announcement No. 37/2014, which states that cases related to national security, lèse majesté, and failure to obey the junta’s orders would be tried by military courts.
According to iLaw, the penalties given to lèse majesté convicts by military courts are significantly higher than the penalties handed down by civilian courts. A staff member of the Judge Advocate General’s Office reportedly argued for twice the penalty of civilian courts because protecting the monarchy is the main mission of the military.
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