Activists Arrested After Suing Junta Chairman for 2014 Coup

The Resistant Citizen activists were brought to the Criminal Court in police van on 22 May 2015.

BANGKOK — Four anti-coup activists were detained by police after filing a lawsuit that accused coup-leader and junta chairman Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha of committing high treason for overthrowing an elected government one year ago.

The activists, who founded the anti-coup group Resistant Citizens, initially planned to walk to the Criminal Court in a public display of dissent, but were intercepted by police and forced into a van.

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Siriwit Serithiwat, one of four 'Resistant Citizen' activists arrested after filing a lawsuit against junta chairman Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha on 22 May 2015.

Police brought the activists to the courthouse and allowed them to file the largely-symbolic lawsuit accusing Gen. Prayuth of violating Section 113 of the Thai Criminal Codes, which outlaws any attempt to overthrow the constitution, administration, and monarchy through unlawful means. The charge carries a maximum penalty of death sentence. 

Police then arrested the activists and brought them to Phahonyothin Police Station for interrogation. The group was released later in the evening without charges. 

The lawsuit is very unlikely to go forward, as the junta granted itself legal amnesty in the interim constitution that was enacted shortly after the May 2014 military takeover. Coup d'etats are nearing on a political tradition in Thailand, where the military has launched 13 successful takeovers since democracy was established in 1932.

Coup anniversary protests

Although political activities and protests remain banned by the ruling junta, several small anti-coup demonstrations broke out in Thailand today on the one-year anniversary of the takeover.

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Student activists from the Young People for Social-Democracy Movement (YPD) were arrested in Bangkok prior to their planned anti-coup protest, 22 May 2015.

This morning, around a dozen students were arrested by police in Bangkok for reading a statement urging the junta restore civil rights.  In the northeastern province of Khon Kaen, at least seven activists were arrested for unfurling an anti-coup banner.

The largest confrontation took place in front of the Bangkok Art and Culture Center in downtown Bangkok, where at least one hundred police attempted to disperse around 30 student activists who were gathering to peacefully protest the military regime. At least nine protesters were detained by police at the time of publication. 

 

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