NCPO summons 15 activists on sedition charge

15 activists, including Jatupat “Pai Dao Din” Boonpattararaksa, have been summoned to Pathumwan Police Station on sedition charges filed by Col Burin Thongprapai, says Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR).

Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit (left) and Panupong Sritananuwat (right), both summoned on sedition charge by the NCPO

TLHR reported that the activists were charged on the basis of an incident on 24 June 2015, when the activists attempted to bring charges against the police for using unnecessary force to crack down on activists’ peaceful commemoration of the coup’s first anniversary in front of the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre. On that day, the activists were also joined by the Dao Din group, students from various institutions, and members of the public, who gathered in their support.

Panupong Sritananuwat, a former member of the Dao Din group, said that a summons was delivered to his house on 12 May, ordering him to report to Pathumwan Police Station on 21 May to face accusations of “making an appearance to the public by words, writings, or any other means which is not an act within the purpose of the Constitution or for expressing an honest opinion or criticism in order to raise unrest and disaffection amongst the people in a manner likely to cause disturbance in the country or to cause the people to transgress the laws of the country” and “an assembly of ten persons upwards, which do or threaten to do an act of violence, or do anything to cause a breach of the peace” under Articles 116 and 215 of the Criminal Code.

“It’s been almost four years and the charges have just arrived. And obviously this is another spasmodic attempt by the NCPO to use the law to silence people,” posted Chonticha Jangrew, who also received a summons, on her Facebook page. The list of activists summoned also included Jatupat “Pai Dao Din” Boonpattararaksa, who was released from prison just last week following a royal pardon, and Rangsiman Rome, now a Future Forward party-list MP. 

The summons recorded that the charges were filed by Col Burin Thongprapai, the NCPO’s legal officer, who has also previously filed the same charges against the Future Forward Party leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit. The 14 activists were accused over the same incident as Thanathorn.

“As I have said many times, these unfair actions do not happen only to me, but they are being used systematically to silence or destroy political dissidents. I would like to call for every citizen to not give in to injustice and to come together to fight for what is right, for the freedom of [the activists] and the people. When Thai society returns to true democracy, the Future Forward Party will try our best to erase the consequences of the military coup and return justice to everyone who fights for democracy,” Thanathorn wrote on his Facebook page.