Bangkok, Jun 26 (AP) A Thai court today heard year-old charges against a pro-democracy activist arrested over the weekend, as the military government sought to discourage commemorations of the anniversary of the country’s 1932 transition from an absolute to constitutional monarchy. Also Read - Woman Who Had Lost Her Memory Gets Reunited With Son After 15 Years, Thanks to Facebook!
Bangkok’s military court released Rangsiman Rome on bail on the conditions that he not incite unrest or leave the country without the court’s permission. Also Read - Karnataka IPS Officer Says Firecrackers Not a 'Hindu Tradition', Argument Leads to Account Suspension of 'True Indology'
He was arrested Sunday to prevent him from attending a pro-democracy forum critical of the military government, said his lawyer, Poonsuk Poonsukcharoen of the legal aid group Thai Lawyers for Human Rights. Also Read - WhatsApp Rolls Out New Tool to Manage Phone Space
She said he also planned to petition the government on Monday to disclose details of a 179 billion baht (USD 5.27 billion) Thai-Chinese rail project for which the prime minister used special powers to override normal regulations.
Other activists reported being harassed on Saturday, the anniversary of the end of absolute monarchy and the birth of Thai democracy.
“This government pledges to lead Thailand toward a democratic transition. It is the junta’s main theme that they would eventually return power,” said Sunai Phasuk, a senior researcher for Human Rights Watch.
“It is ironic that on the day that marks the 85th anniversary of the first democratic transition, that very same junta was harassing and intimidating activists and academics from publicly commemorating the June 24th event.” Rangsiman was arrested last year for violating a ban on political gatherings of more than five people and for handing out leaflets urging people to vote against a junta-imposed draft constitution.
Critics said the constitution, which passed a referendum, limits the power of elected politicians and gives the military continued influence over the government after elections are held.
The army took power in 2014 after staging a coup against an elected government and has delayed plans several times to hold new polls. The military has actively suppressed critics and political opponents.
Sirawith Seitiwat, a student activist who is facing prosecution on charges of lese majeste defaming the monarchy said on his Facebook page on Saturday that police officers appeared at his house and volunteered to drive him around the city for the day. (AP)
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.