We're still a target, claim Thailand anti-coup students

We're still a target, claim Thailand anti-coup students
Members of the New Democracy Movement activist group and supporters hold up pictures of the 14 students who had been held for holding anti-coup protests, during a rally outside the military court in Bangkok.
PHOTO: Reuters

The 14 anti-coup students who were imprisoned by the government claimed yesterday that they are still being followed by security officials - three weeks after their release from prison for opposing the coup, despite being less politically active.

The students, who were members of New Democracy Movement (NDM), met with European Union (EU) diplomats yesterday at the EU Delegation Office to update them on their situation. They had been intimidated by the military junta since their release on July 8, said Rangsiman Rome, a key NDM member.

About 15 people from the NDM attended the meeting, including Rangsiman, Panupong Sritananuwat, Payu Boonsophone and others. Some of the 14 arrested for allegedly violating the National Council for Peace and Order's (NCPO) order and Article 116 of the criminal code forbidding sedition, attended. Also present were their legal team, friends and family.

Rangsiman said NDM members and their families were still being followed by officials monitoring their movements. Wiboon Boonpatta-raraksa, father of NDM member Jatupat Boonpattararaksa told The Nation some parents of the 14 activists had been frequently visited by soldiers, provincial officials as well as Interior Ministry officials, both at home and at their offices.

Rangsiman said he believed the EU officials had wanted to meet them to update them on the situation, including how the activists were still being threatened by officials. Asked how he had been after the group's 12-day detention, he said he was preparing for his fifth-year undergraduate law studies at Thammasat University.

Another NDM member, Rattapol Supasophon, said he had been leading a "slow life" and was also preparing for a post-grad education starting next month, as he had not graduated yet.

Asked how the legal case had progressed, Rangsiman said he had not paid attention to it, insisting that he rejected the legitimacy of the military court and the NCPO.

Lawyer Kritsadang Nutcharas, who represents the 14, said police investigators had not yet submitted the case to the prosecutors. They were still pursuing investigation into whether the accused had violated Article 116 by committing sedition or not, the lawyer said.

He added that the 14 were summoned by the police for testimony on July 23, but refused to co-operate to show their resistance to the military court. However, such an action would not affect or worsen their case, Kritsadang insisted, adding that the defendants had the right to remain silent and only testify in court. The police's job was to investigate and gather evidence, the lawyer said.

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