Thai junta invites pro-democracy figures for talks

A number of academics, lawyers, and political activists on Wednesday received official letters from the Thai junta’s Centre for Reconciliation and Reform (CRR), inviting them to a meeting on reconciliation.

The junta’s letters, which were issued on 17 April, invite at least 17 leading pro-democracy academics, lawyers, student activists, and members of the press in Thailand for a discussion on reconciliation, scheduled at the Thai Army Club in Bangkok at 9:30 am on Thursday.

Part of the invitation letter says “You are among individuals who have knowledge and understanding of the current situation in Thailand and leaders of certain groups of people in society. [We] would like to invite you to a meeting to express ideas, which would be useful to national reconciliation.”

Military officers deliver the invitation to the junta’s reconciliation meeting to Ekachai Chainuwat at his house on 22 April 2015    

Military officers personally visited the residences of some of the invitees to deliver the letter while others received phones calls and emails about the event.

The letter also cited the junta’s National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) 2/2015, which was issued in January to establish a committee responsible for strategies to maintain national security and the progress of government agencies’ work towards a national reform agenda.

The letter was signed by Lt Gen Pisit Sithisarn, Deputy Chief of Staff of the Royal Thai Army and acting CRR Director.      

Some of the 17 invitees to the meeting are:

Prajak Kongkirati, a renowned pro-democracy academic and political science lecturer at Thammasat University

Natchacha Kongudom, a well-known transgender student activist from Bangkok University

Anon Numpa, an embattled pro-democracy lawyer and activist

Yaowalak Anupan, a lawyer and co-founder of Thai Lawyer for Human Rights (TLHR)

Winyat Chatmontri, a lawyer from Free Thai Legal Aid (FTLA)

Piyabutr Saengkanokkul, a law scholar and lecturer from Thammasat University and a member of the Nitirat Group 

Ekachai Chainuwat, a law lecturer at Siam University