4 anti-coup activists to be indicted for lighting candles

The police have charged four people with violating the junta’s ban on political gatherings for lighting candles as a symbolic protest against the coup-makers.

Police from Mueang Nonthaburi Police Station on Monday, 21 December 2015, sent to the prosecutors the case file of Chaiwat Trakarnratsanti and three other suspects, who are accused of violating National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) Order No. 7/2014, which bans political gatherings of five or more persons,.

Chaiwat and the three others were arrested and briefly detained on the night of 26 May 2015 right after they gathered at a pier in Nonthaburi province and lit candles to stage a peaceful symbolic protest against the military, four days after the 2014 coup d’état.

According to Saowaluck Phongam, a defence lawyer on the case, there are two other suspects who are charged over the same gathering, but unlike Chaiwat and three others, the two were not arrested on the night of the protest.

After receiving the case file from the police, the prosecutors will decide whether the suspects will be indicted or not.

If found guilty as charged, Chaiwat and the other suspects in the case could face up to two years imprisonment or fined up to 20,000 baht or both.

Many anti-coup people who participated in protests against the junta in the aftermath of the May 2014 coup d’état have been charged with violating the junta’s ban on political gatherings.

After charging anti-coup protesters with violating the junta’s order, the authorities have usually forced them to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) promising to steer clear of all political activities.

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