Military threatens to arrest family of Pheu Thai politician

Military officers cited absolute power to abduct a Pheu Thai party politician and reportedly threatened to arrest his family.

Matichon Online reported that on Sunday, 27 March 2016, Watana Muangsook, a key leader of the Pheu Thai party, sent a message via the Line chat application to a reporter at 6:08 pm, saying that military officers in two military vehicles visited his house in Bangkok while he was not at home.

The officers cited their authority under Section 44 of the Interim Constitution, which gives them absolute power to maintain national security, and told a housekeeper that they wanted to detain Watana.

Later, Watana posted on his Facebook profile that the housekeeper also informed him that the military officers ordered her to open the gate of the house and threatened to arrest his family if she did not obey the order.  

He added in his Facebook post that he will travel to the 11th Military Circle on Rama V Rd, Bangkok, himself to report to the military at 11 am on Monday and there is no need to arrest him.

Earlier, Watana posted comments on Facebook about the detention of Worachai Hema, another Pheu Thai party politician who was taken in by military officers for an attitude adjustment session on Saturday after he urged Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha, the junta leader and Prime Minister, to resign if the draft constitution does not pass the public referendum.

Watana’s comments allegedly made references to the junta leader.

According to Worachai’s family, the politician is still in detention.

Recently, the Pheu Thai party and Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) issued statements against the arrest of Worachai and the attempt to abduct Watana by the military, calling them serious violations of human rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Thailand is a state party.

They also urged the military to release Worachai immediately and unconditionally and put an end to arbitrary detention.

Military officers in front of Watana's house in Bangkok on 27 March 2016 (Photo from Watana's Facebook page)