Thai military summons lecturer for allegedly supporting anti-junta student activists

The Thai military summoned a lecturer at a university in Thailand’s Northeast, for questioning about his relationship with an anti-junta activist group in the region.  

On 12 June, military officers of the northeastern province of Maha Sarakham summoned Chainarong Sretthachau, a lecturer at Mahasarakham University, to ask about the lecturer’s affiliation with the Dao Din group, an anti-junta student activist group based in Khon Kaen University.

Chainarong, however, informed the officers that he would like to postpone the meeting to 15 June.

At 9 am on Monday, Chainarong Sretthachau came to meet military and police officers at the Maha Sarakham Provincial Hall, Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) reported.

During a one hour talk, the authorities questioned whether Chainarong had any connection with the Ban Na Mun-Dun Sat group, an environmental protection group in northeastern Kalasin Province and the Dao Din group, both of which held a political gathering in Khon Kaen Province on 8 June.

Chainarong explained to the officers that he supported the Ban Na Mun-Dun Sat group only with information on subjects concerning the environmental impact assessment (EIA) for a controversial oil-drilling operation in Kalasin and human rights. He added that he had never contacted or collaborated with the Dao Din group before.

He pointed out that the Dao Din and Ban Na Mun-Dun Sat group have been helping each other. Therefore, when Dao Din group members were arrested, the other group came to show moral support.

At the end of the meeting, the authorities forced Chainarong to sign an agreement not to engage in any political movement.

On 14 June, prior to his meeting with the military, Chainarong posted his views on his personal Facebook account.

He stated that his movement was motivated by issues, such as environmental problems, human rights, and inequality in resources and that he has been doing so under every administration since he was a student till now.

He also posted that he does not have any political inclination. He only stands with local people, who are voiceless and powerless in dealing with development projects, resources, and inequality.