Military court acquits labour activist

A military court has acquitted a well-known labour unionist accused violating a summons from the junta.

On 6 July 2017, the Military Court of Bangkok acquitted Jittra Cotchadet, a labour activist, former president of the Triumph Workers Union and MP candidate for the Democratic Force Party.

Jittra was accused of violating National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) Announcement No. 41/2014 for failing to report to the authorities in June 2014 when she was in Sweden at the time.

While in Sweden, she, however, submitted a letter to the Royal Thai Embassy and the NCPO, explaining that she would report to the junta on her return to Thailand.

She was arrested on her return to Thailand on 13 June 2014 by immigration officials. The police later requested the military court to remand her in custody, but Jittra was released on bail the same day.

Since her trial began in September 2014, Jittra has always maintained that she had no intention to defy the order and she had sought all necessary measures to comply with the order.

She based this argument on her actions of having her friend report to the authorities on her behalf in Bangkok as well as reporting to the Thai Embassy in Sweden, which is considered as the representative of the Royal Thai Government overseas.

Jittra Cotchadet, a labour activist, in front of Bangkok's Military Court (file photo)

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