Embattled ex-education minister refuses to be cowed by junta

An embattled former Education Minister from the Pheu Thai Party has denied sedition charges, vowing to continue to fight the charges against him through civil disobedience.

Chaturon Chaisang, the former Pheu Thai Party Education Minister, on Wednesday, 1 June 2016, posted a statement on his Facebook account on his testimony to the Military Court over charges filed against him for defying a junta’s summons, sedition, and breaking Article 14 of the 2007 Computer Crime Code (importing illegal information into a computer system).

The embattled politician denied all charges, saying that he only honestly expressed his opinions against the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), the formal name of the Thai junta.

“It the rights of all the people to express opinions against the coup d’état and the measures of the coup-makers,” reads part Chaturon’s testimony to the Military Court.

In his statement, Chaturon also wrote that he disagrees with the authorities for maintaining that Military Courts have jurisdiction over his case, saying that it is against human rights.

He said that he will continue the fight through civil disobedience based on reason.

Chaturon was arrested at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand (FCCT) by military officers on 27 May 2014 for refusing to report to the coup-makers. While at the FCCT, he said that he is not afraid and that he will continue civil disobedience against the regime.

After his arrest, the police in June 2014 charged him with violating Article 14 of the 2007 Computer Crime Act for posting anti-coup statements on his Facebook account. He also faces charges under Article 116 of the Penal Code, the sedition law, which could land him in prison for up to seven years if found guilty, and another charge of violating a junta order.

In August 2015, Chaturon’s passport was cancelled at the request of the Royal Thai Police because he has been charged with several offenses for his anti-junta stand.