4 month jailing for activist investigating corruption

A military court has sentenced to jail an activist demanding a probe into the Rajabhakti Park corruption allegations.

On 25 January 2017, the Military Court of Bangkok handed out 8 months of imprisonment to Thanet Anantawong for defying the junta’s ban on political gatherings of five or more persons.

The military court judges, however, halved the jail term to four months after Thanet pleaded guilty.

He was accused with nine other people — most of whom are members of the New Democracy Movement (NDM) — for participating in an excursion to Rajabhakti Park in Prachuap Khiri Khan Province on 7 December 2015 to investigate corruption allegations related to the park’s development.

Since Thanet has already been detained in Bangkok Remand Prison for a period that exceeds his jail term, he will be released from prison today.

On 13 December 2015, two officers in plainclothes reportedly arrested Thanet at his sickbed in Sirindhorn Hospital, Bangkok, while he awaited a medical operation to treat a hernia and an intestinal infection.

He has also been indicted by military prosecutors for violating Article 116 of the Criminal Code — the sedition law — and Article 14 of the 2007 Computer Crime Act for sharing an infographic about Rajabhakti Park. The infographic implicates Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha, the junta leader and Prime Minister, and his wife in alleged corruption.

The second case against him remains ongoing.

Last year, rumours spread that some 20 million baht had taken from the Rajabhakti Park budget, a military-led project, in the form of ‘commissions’. The Office of the Auditor General of Thailand has maintained the 20 million baht was used to cover the cost of advisors to the park construction project.

Thanet Anantawong under custody (file photo)

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