Thai military frees 1 of the 10 detainees

The Thai military has released one of the 10 persons abducted by the regime in the latest junta’s crackdown on political dissidents.

Nithi Kooltasnasilp at 10:16 pm on Wednesday, 27 April 2016, posted a status on his Facebook account that he has reached home after being interrogated by police officers and soldiers.

According to the Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR), Nithi’s father at 10 pm informed the TLHR that soldiers alreadt sent Nithi to a family home in Ladprao District of Bangkok. He added that Nithi is not ready to give any interview about the abduction of him and his friend.

Nithi was abducted by soldiers together with Harit Mahaton, former reporter of Matichon and independent writer, from their residence in the northeastern province of Khon Kaen on Wednesday morning. Both were later taken to the 11th Military Circle in Bangkok.

He works as a manager of a noodle shop owned by Harit in Khon Kaen. Harit also owns a restaurant in Vientiane, Laos.

In his Facebook post, Nithi wrote that he was treated well during the interrogation and that the authorities are suspicious about the fact that he had been travelling to Laos often.

Since the 2014 coup d’ état, many members of the anti-establishment red shirts and anti-junta activists especially those who have been accused defaming the monarchy fled to Laos.

Yesterday, Col Winthai Suwaree, spokesperson of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), said that the 10 have committed offences under the Computer Crime Act (CCA), but did not disclose details as to which articles of the CCA the 10 allegedly breached.  

Col Winthai added that the NCPO cited power under Section 44 of the Interim Charter to arrest the 10. The law gives absolute power to the authorities to maintain national security and allows the regime to detain individuals for up to seven days without warrants.

There has not been any formal charge filed against the 10 so far. However, it has been speculated on social media that they were abducted for criticising the junta-sponsored draft constitution and writing Facebook messages to mock Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha, the junta leader and Prime Minister.