Pro-democracy activists face charges over draft referendum campaign

Update: Anon Nampa, human rights lawyer, reported at 9:20 am on Friday, 24 June 2016, that the police refused to grant bail to some of the pro-democracy activists and filed an additional charge against the 13 activists for refusing to sign the police report.  

 

The Thai authorities have accused 13 pro-democracy activists of violating the junta’s ban on political gatherings for distributing campaign flyers for the upcoming draft constitution referendum.

Police from Bangsaothong Police Station in Samut Prakan Province on Thursday night, 23 June 2016, accused 13 pro-democracy activists from the New Democracy Movement and the Try Arm workers union of violating the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) Head’s Order 3/2015, the junta’s ban on political gatherings of five or more persons, Pawinee Chumsri, a lawyer from Thai Lawyers for Human Rights reported.

The 13 activists are: Rangsiman Rome, Korakoch Saengyenpan, Worawut Butmat, Konchanok Tanakhun, Tueanjai Waengkham, Pimai Ratwongsa, Somsakol Thongsuksai, Anan Loket, Phanthip Saengathit, Thirayut Napnaram, Yuttana Dasri, Rackchart Wong-arthichart and Nantapong Panmat.  

The 13 pro-democracy activists were arrested by soldiers at around 5:30 pm on Thursday for distributing flyers on the upcoming draft constitution referendum at Bangplee Industrial Estate in Samut Prakan.

TLHR reported that 13 activists refused to sign their names on the police reports. However, six of them, most of whom are workers from Try Arm, submitted bail requests to the police while seven other youth activists from the NDM refused to do so and maintain that they did nothing wrong.

At press time, the activists were still detained at Bangsaothong Police Station. The authorities will request permission from the Military Court to detain them on Friday.

On the same day, the Student Association of Thammasat University issued a statement demanding an investigation of authorities who arrested and detained the activists while the NDM condemned the authorities, calling their action a serious violation of human rights as the activists were merely acting in the public interest.

Soldiers arrest Rangsiman Rome, key NDM leader, after he distributed Vote No flyers on 23 June 2016 (courtesy of NDM)

 

Prachatai will report the latest development of the story soon.

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