Military threatens to summon activist’s family over Rajabhakti Park visit

Thai military officers have intimidated the mother of a well-known anti-junta activist and attempted to summon her for a discussion, saying “whatever happens, you can’t complain.”

On the night of Saturday, 5 December 2015, military officers contacted Patnari Charnkij, the mother of a student activist from the New Democracy Movement (NDM) and Resistant Citizen, Sirawit Serithiwat, and asked about Sirawit’s whereabout.

The contact was made two days prior to a planned trip on 7 December to visit to Rajabhakti Park, a royal park constructed by the Thai military and plagued with corruption scandals. The trip was initiated by Sirawit and other pro-democracy activists to investigate corruption allegations.

Patnari told the officers that she did not know where her son was and had not been able to contact him since Saturday afternoon.

At around 7:30 am on Sunday, the officers contacted Patnari again to ask her about Sirawit. They also told her that they wanted to summon her for a discussion in a military base that afternoon.

Patnari told the officers that she could not comply with the summons because she was preoccupied with other tasks.

She said that she and her family felt intimidated by the officers, especially when one of them said that “whatever happens, you can’t complain” while they were questioning her.

On Saturday afternoon, officers contacted Sirawit and told him that they would come to pick him up from Thammasat University, Rangsit Campus, and bring him to a military base for a discussion, but Sirawit declined.

The anti-junta activist still maintains that he will visit the park despite the intimidation from the authorities.   

“In a day or two it will be difficult for me to live as a free man because they [military officers] want to apprehend me.” Sirawit posted on his Facebook profile.

According to Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR), the authorities’ action is unlawful.

TLHR point out that the junta’s National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) Order 3/2015 grants security officers the authority only to summon persons who are suspected of crimes related to national security, the Thai monarchy, the possession of illegal or unauthorised weapons, and the violation of the NCPO orders.

The officers have no grounds for summoning Sirawit or his mother, TLHR concluded.

TLHR stated that the summons and intimidation constitute a violation of Article 157 of the Criminal Code, malfeasance in office, and Articles 309 and 310 of the Criminal Code on the violation of freedom, adding that the authorities’ actions also breach the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) to which Thailand is a party.

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