Abducted anti-junta student activist recounts abuses by military

Sirawit Serithiwat, aka Ja New, a well-known anti-junta student activist abducted by military officers on Wednesday night, says that he was subjected to ill-treatment during detention by the military.

After being abducted by eight military officers in the presence of many other people at the Rangsit Campus of Thammasat University in Bangkok at around 10:30 pm yesterday, Thai Lawyers of Human Rights (TLHR) reported that Sirawit was brought to Nimit Mai Police Station at 1:10 am before being transferred to Thonburi Police Station several hours later.

Sirawit remains in custody at Thonburi Police Station.

The activist said that the military officers who abducted him covered his head and took him into the bushes in an unidentified area.

“After I was taken into a vehicle, my head was covered and I was blindfolded with a rubber band, so I couldn’t see anything. I sensed that I was driven around for a long distance with many twists and turns until the vehicle stopped in the bushes in an unidentified area. I was dragged into the bushes and forced to kneel down. When I resisted they kicked me,” said Sirawit in a video clip posted by New Democracy Movement (NDM).

He said that the officers asked him why he did not call for an investigation into the Rice Subsidy Programme introduced by the former elected Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, and swore at him.

Sirawit also recounted that while he was blindfolded, the officers put an object which felt like a gun against his head and made noises as if they were pulling the trigger, and that he was also repeatedly hit on the head and back.

According to Resistant Citizen, an anti-junta activist group, at around 10 am today, 21 January 2016, Chonticha Jaeng-rew, 22, Chanoknan Ruamsap, 22, Korakoch Saengyenpan, 23, were also detained by police officers after they went to Thonburi Police Station to give Sirawit moral support.

The three are pro-democracy activist who, like Sirawit, currently face arrest warrants after being accused of violating the junta’s National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) Order No. 3/2015, which prohibits political gatherings of five or more persons, after they participated in a failed excursion to Rajabhakti Park in Prachuap Khiri Khan Province on 7 December 2015 to investigate corruption allegations at the park.

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