US academic to know result of visa application on 3 May

David Eirich Streckfuss, an American academic who had his work permit terminated without notice by Khon Kaen University, has to wait for 15 more days for the result of his visa application as the Immigration Bureau needs more time to inspect the paperwork.

David sitting in the Immigration Office on 19 April.

On 19 April, Streckfuss went to the Immigration Office at Khon Kaen to hear the result of his application for a visa based on his employment as a coordinator at the Buffalo Birds Production Co. Ltd. .

Pol Maj Gen Preecha Kongkaew, Deputy Commander of Immigration Division 4 and Immigration Inspector Pol Lt Col Nathaphong Kunlasak said the delay was caused by the high volume of documents and the long Songkran holiday.

“I affirm that Khon Kaen Immigration is operating normally, with no political involvement. Mr. David is not a prohibited person according to the Alien Act. Therefore, the visa process should not have any problems,” said Pol Lt Col Nathaphong.

The Immigration Inspector insisted that Khon Kaen Immigration never pressured KKU to revoke Streckfuss’s work permit. Immigration only acted in response to the University’s letter terminating the US academic’s contract.

Streckfuss oversaw the Council on International Educational Exchange programme at the University under a contract until 15 August 2021. However, the University terminated the contract on 19 March 2021 due to his “inability to work as designated”.

Originally, there was a report that police officers visited the University President and Faculty Dean before the contract decision was made. The contract termination also took place after Streckfuss participated in the workshop which partly involved decentralization.

On 18 April, the Bangkok Post reported that KKU President Assoc Prof Chanchai Phanthongviriyakul denied that police pressure to terminate the contract or Streckfuss’ activism were factors. The agreement was cut short because he was unable to secure international students for the CIEE program.

Assoc Prof Chanchai also stated that Streckfuss was not a university employee, but the unpaid representative of the CIEE, a US-based non-profit organisation.

Prachatai tried to contact Assoc Prof Wongsa Laohasiriwong, Dean of the Faculty of Public Health for comment but received no response.

On 20 April, the Isaan Record published a statement in response to the criticisms of them publishing anti-monarchy contents and would sue any individual or organization which makes any allegations made to such effect.

"In the past few days, there have been some websites that have accused the Isaan Record website of producing anti-monarchical content. The editorial board of the Isaan Record categorically denies any such allegations. The Isaan Record is an organization that produces in-depth news stories and news documentaries, conducts forums and training, and opens the space for Isaan people to organize and fight for their rights. The Isaan Record was established to be of benefit for people living in Isaan. We use various media formats to serve as a voice for Isaan people who comprise the largest segment of the Thai population. We adhere to the slogan, “Isaan media for Isaan people.”",

"The Isaan Record editorial team, in consultation with our attorney team, will proceed with litigation against any individual or organization who makes any untrue allegations about or against the Isaan Record, its website or Facebook page, or any of its employees, whether made orally, in print, or electronically." stated the statement.

Since 19 March, Streckfuss has been living in Thailand on a 30-day visa which will expire next Monday. He is now trying to acquire a work permit with the Buffalo Birds Production Co., a company that produces documentaries and organizes events, where he is working as a coordinator. Immigration police came to interview him and the employer for the third time on 16 April.

Streckfuss is known for his expertise on the royal defamation law in Thailand. In 2010, he wrote “Truth on Trial in Thailand: Defamation, treason and lèse-majesté”.

On 20 April, 2021, 17.14, Prachatai English has added the Isaan Record's statement into this news.

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