Thai military arrests embattled activists on anniversary of 2014 coup

Thai military officers arrested anti-junta activists on their way to file a criminal charge against the Thai junta leader for staging coup d’état against the 2007 constitution during the first 2014 coup anniversary.

According to Resistant Citizen, an anti-junta activist group, the police and military officers in uniform and plainclothes on Friday at around 3 pm, arrested Sirawit Serithiwat, a student activist from Thammasat University, Pansak Srithep, a pro-democracy activist and the father of a boy killed by the military during the 2010 political violence, and Wannakiet Chusuwan, a pro-democracy activist and taxi driver, key members of Resistant Citizen, at Lat Phrao Bangkok’s Metro Station.

Sirawit and Wannakiet at Lat Phrao Bangkok's Metro Station on 22 May 2015

The three were arrested while they were on their way to Bangkok’s Ratchada Criminal Court to file criminal charge under Article 113 of Thailand’s Criminal Code against Gen Prayuth Chan-o-chan, the junta leader and prime minister, and other associates, who were involved in staging the 2014 coup d’état.

At around 4 pm, however, the officers brought them to the court to let them submit the complaint against the coup-maker before bringing them to Phahonyothin Police Station. The criminal court will rule if the complaint will be accepted on 29 May. 

According to Article 113 of Thailand’s Criminal Code, whoever commits act of violence or threaten to do so in order to overthrow the constitution, legislative, executive, and judiciary power, seizing the administrative power or attempting to separate the kingdom shall face death penalty or lifetime imprisonment.
 
On Thursday, Pansak and Wannakiet were briefly detained at Lumpini Police Station after they went to the Japanese Embassy in Bangkok to give an invitation letter to the embassy personnel, inviting the them to observe the planned activity at Ratchada Criminal Court.

Pansak arrested and loaded into a van by the police officers on 22 May 2015

The letter was received by Taishi Akimoto, the First Secretary of the Japanese Embassy in Bangkok.

Natchacha Kongudom, another prominent student activist from Thai Student Center for Democracy (TSCD), was also with the group at the metro station to participate in the planned activity.

Last month, the three, including, Anon Numpa, another member of the group who is a human rights lawyer who volunteers for Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR), were charged with defying the junta’s National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) Order No. 7/2014 for holding a political gathering of more than five people on 14 February. If found guilty the four could be jailed for one year and fined up to 20,000 baht.