14 anti-junta activists stand firm on struggle for democracy after their release

The 14 embattled anti-junta activists have vowed to fight on after their temporary release, saying that the Thai junta’s orders to maintain national security are illegitimate.

At 15:15 pm on Thursday, 9 July 2015, at Thammasat University’s Tha Prachan Campus in Bangkok, the 14 anti-junta activists from the New Democracy Movement (NDM), an anti-junta group, who were released on Wednesday after nearly two weeks in detention, issued a group statement on their stand on the democracy movement.

According to the statement, the arrest and detention of the 14 NDM activists was against the Universal Declarations of Human Rights (UDHR) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

The recently released NDM anti-junta activists state that they will continue to struggle for democracy despite sedition charges against them. Picture taken on 9 July 2015 at Thammasat University     

The group added in the statement that the arrest of group members was unjust; it was based on Section 44 of the Interim Charter, which gives the junta full power over the maintenance of national security, with an arrest warrant issued by the military court.

In addition, the detention of the 14 activists for nearly two weeks without prior interrogation was also unjust, the group added.

Reading the statement at Thammasat University, the NDM urged people to realise that Section 44 of the Interim Charter, which allows the junta’s to suspend people’s freedoms and rights, is unlawful.

“Section 44 of the Interim Charter of the 2014 Interim Charter cannot be called a law because it controls and suspends freedom of expression of the people, which is contrary to the law,” stated the activists.

The NDM members concluded that they will continue to fight for democracy, despite the charges against them, under the five principles of the group: democracy, human rights, justice, public participation, and peace.

On Tuesday, 7 July 2015, the Bangkok Military Court rejected a custody petition relating to the 14 anti-activists, resulting them being released from Bangkok Remand Prison the next day after about two weeks in detention.

Although they were temporarily released, they still face charges of sedition, which could land them in prison for seven years, for gathering to commemorate the 2014 coup d’état on 22 May 2015.