BANGKOK — Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, leader of Future Forward Party, reported to Pathumwan Police station on Saturday to hear charges of sedition, aiding fugitives and violating the junta’s ban on political gatherings of more than four people.
Thanathorn arrived to the cheers of some 200 supporters shortly before 10am. Observers from some 10 Western embassies, including the UK, Canada, France, Germany and Finland, were present. Representatives of the United Nations High Commissioner on Human Rights were also waiting.
Thanathorn said after hearing the charges that, “I believe I am innocent … I am not worried. If I have any [worries] it’s that I will be tried in a military court.”
Security-related cases dating to 2015 are assigned to military courts even for civilians. The charges against Thanathorn accuse him of assisting a group of activists, including former activist and current Future Forward MP candidate Rangsiman Rome, to flee a police station in June 2015. Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha only rescinded the use of military courts against civilians in 2017.
Thanathorn’s lawyer Krisadang Nutcharut told Khaosod English that’s it’s almost certain that his client with face a military court. The lawyer added however that, if this transpires, his team will petition the Constitutional Court to reject the military court’s jurisdiction.
Thanathorn noted the coincidence that the charges were brought against him a week after the election.