Self-described nationalists urge police to probe anti-junta activists

A self-described patriotic group has urged the police to probe a well-known anti-junta activist group who accused the Thai junta of overthrowing the constitution.

Chatchet Songsri, coordinator of a political group calling themselves ‘We Love the Nation’, submitted a petition to the Crime Suppression Division in Bangkok on Monday, 6 June 2016, urging the authorities to investigate Resistant Citizen, a well-known anti-junta activist group, Krungthepthurakij and the Manager Online reported.

In the petition, Chatchet and five other members of the group called on the police to probe Resistant Citizen as the anti-junta group, led by key member Sirawit Serithiwat, earlier filed a charge under Article 113 of the Criminal Code against Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha, the junta leader and Prime Minister, and four other top military chiefs for staging the 2014 coup d’état.

Resistant Citizen accused the coup-makers of violating Article 113 by staging a coup d’état and overthrowing the constitution.

The Criminal Court and the Appeal Court dismissed the charge, reasoning that under Section 48 of the Interim Charter, people who took part in staging the coup d’état on 22 May 2014 to topple the executive power of the country and the 2007 Constitution cannot be held responsible. Therefore, no legal action can be taken against the Prime Minister and his associates.  

The self-described patriotic group said that they wanted the police to investigate whether filing such a charge against the junta leader and other coup-makers is allowed or not, saying that they do not want people to get confused.

The coordinator of the We Love the Nation group added that the court has already dismissed the rebellion charge against Gen Prayut and pointed out that the coup-makers came to power lawfully.

According to Article 113 of Thailand’s Criminal Code, whoever commits an act of violence or threatens to do so in order to overthrow the constitution or legislative, executive, or judicial power, seize administrative power or who attempts to separate the kingdom, shall face the death penalty or lifetime imprisonment.

As a nation with a history of 13 successful coups d’état and numerous coup attempts, several individuals in the past have filed rebellion charge against coup-makers for overthrowing the constitution. However, the Thai courts have never ruled in favour of those challenging coups, some of whom were even imprisoned for standing up against the coup-makers.