Student activists summoned for commemorating 1 year of coup

At least four student activists who last week were detained for an attempt to commemorate the first anniversary of the military coup were summoned to hear charges for violating the junta’s order.

The police accused the student activists of violating the junta’s National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) which prohibits an assembly of more than five people.

On 22 May evening, about 50 people, most of them were student activists gathered at the Bangkok Art and Culture Center (BACC) as they planned to hold an activity to commemorate the coup which ousted Former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on 22 May 2014. They confronted with about 100 police officers and plainclothes officers who deployed the area. The incident ended up with 38 people were detained and taken to the Pathumwan Police Station. The students were released early morning of the next day after they were forced to sign on their ID copy and stated that they would stop political activity.

At least three people, including Rangsiman Rome, Natchacha Kongudom, and Songtham Kaewpanpruek, were injured during the confrontation. Rangsiman Rome said he was hit at at his stomach, ear, neck and chin, while Songtham was kicked at his ribs and choked until he was unconscious.

On Thursday and Friday, According to the Human Right Watch, the summon documents were mailed to eleven students. Four of them are Rattapon Supasopon, Songtam Kaewpanpruek, Chonticha Jang-raiw and Rangsiman himself. The police ordered them to report in on 8 June.

According to Rangsiman, a law student from Thammasat University and one of the people detained on 22 May, they will discuss with a lawyer to see whether the group should report in. However, he would like to talk with the others to decide what to do next first.

Rangsiman told Prachatai that he expect no justice under the junta regime. “Since the law does not serve the democratic principle, but a group of people with guns, the prosecution process will not abide by the rules of law which does not exist in the first place.”

Rangsiman said he might be jailed up to one year and called it “a political punishment.”

Despite the threat of being jailed, Rangsiman said he will continue to fight. “I believed that I am doing the right thing. As long as I am capable to do and believe that Thailand could be better, I will keep fighting.”

He also urged people not to let such injustice getting away by showing support to the activists. “People have to make sure this thing [suppression of freedom] was not supposed to happen in order to warn the junta that it cannot do whatever it want.”