One of the 14 anti-junta activists says she is only exercising her rights as a citizen

The 14 embattled anti-junta activists have requested postponement of pre-trial interrogation while one of the group says that she only exercised her rights as a citizen and refused to acknowledge the junta’s authority.

According to Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR), late on Friday afternoon, 3 July 2015, interrogation officers from Samranrat Police Station attempted to hold a pre-trial interrogation of the 14 anti-junta activists in custody at Bangkok Remand Prison. However, the interrogation was postponed at the activists’ request.

Rangsiman Rome, one of the 14, reasoned that the interrogation officers gave the group very little time to prepare evidence and witnesses for the pre-trial interrogation after notifying the group members.

He added that since his activist friends were divided and put into separate prison cells, they were not able to communicate with one another before the interrogation.

Moreover, the activist pointed out that the interrogation procedure contradicts the Criminal Procedure Code because the conditions in the room arranged for the interrogation made it nearly impossible for the defence lawyer to listen to the activists’ testimony.

“I would like to gather evidence and witnesses for the testimony, but couldn’t do it in time because the notification was very short. Also, friends who were arrested with me were put into separate cells, so we couldn’t confer with each other about the facts,” said Rangsiman Rome.

Other activists detained cited the same reasons for postponing the interrogation.

During her brief pre-trial interrogation, Cholticha Jang-rew, the only female among the 14, who is currently hospitalised in the prison hospital due to spinal pain, told the interrogation officers that she did nothing wrong and that the junta has no legitimacy.

“I denied all charges. I think what I did was my right as a citizen in accordance to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of the UN to which Thailand is a party and the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) is not a legitimate government, and has taken away the power of the people, which is treason,” said Cholticha.

According to the defence lawyer of the 14, the interrogation room arranged for the 14 by prison staff was overcrowded with people. Moreover, the detained activists could only communicate via phones through a barrier separating them from the lawyers and interrogation officers.