Update: No evidence links 15 detainees to Mother’s Day attack

Update: According to Winyat Chatmontree, a lawyer from Free Thai Legal Aid (ETLA), the Military Court granted to the police custody permission to detain the 15 bomb suspects for 12 days. Their lawyers did not have the chance to submit bail requests in time because the police took the 15 to the court slightly before its closing time.

Police have accused a group of 15 of violating the junta’s assembly ban by being alleged members of an anti-junta organisation, despite admitting that no evidence links the group to the Mother’s Day bombings.

The Thai military on Friday morning, 19 August 2016, handed 15 people arrested as suspects of the Mother’s Day bombing attack to police interrogators from the Crime Suppression Division (CSD) office in Bangkok, BBC Thai reported.

But Pol Maj Gen Chayaphon Chatchaidej, Director of the Counter Crime Planning Division (CCPD), told media that so far no evidence links the 15 to the series of arson and bombing attacks, which rocked southern Thailand between 11-12 August.

Nevertheless he said the group stands accused of violating the junta’s ban on gatherings of more than five people for being alleged members of an anti-government political group called ‘Revolutionary Front for Democracy’, adding that they were holding meetings in many provinces.

The CCPD director told media that the 15 are also accused of violating Article 209 of the Criminal Code for being accomplices of crimes and that some of them will be charged for possessions of illegal and unauthorised weapons, such as AK-47s and other automatic weapons.

The 15 detainees are: Pol Sen Sgt Maj Sirirat Manorat of Phatthalung Province, Weerachut Chansa-art of Chanthaburi, Prapas Rojanapitak of Trang, Pramote Sanghan of Satun, Sorasak Ditpreecha of Bangkok, Meena Saengsri of Bangkok, Shinnaworn Thipnuan of Chiang Rai, Narong Phadungsaksri of Ang Thong, Pol Lt Samai Koonsawat of Nong Khai, Sorawat Kurajinda of Maha Sarakham, Nueaphrai Senklang, Wichien Jiamsawas of Nakhon Sri Thammarat, Boonphob Wiengsamut of Chiang Rai, Rujira Saosomphob of Roi Et and Wiroj Yodcharoen of Nakhon Sri Thammarat.

Initially, 17 people were arrested and taken to the 11th Military Circle in Bangkok for detention immediately after the Mother’s Day attack. However, the authorities later released Pol Lt Siritharoj Jinda and Pol Sub Lt Wilaiwan Koonsawat because the evidence linking the two to the 15 was insufficient.   

Since the Military Court of Bangkok granted arrest warrants to authorities on Thursday for all 17 suspects, the two will be rearrested.

Of the 17 suspects, Prapas, aged 67, is a political activist based in Trang province. Narong, aged 60, is an anti-establishment red shirt from Ang Thong province. Rujira, aged 52, is the wife of a member of the so-called ‘Khon Kaen Model’ uprising.

The police requested the Military Court for permission to detain the suspects today.

A press conference about the 15 anti-government network suspects at the Crime Suppression Division (CSD) in Bangkok on 19 August 2016