BANGKOK — The Military Court on Thursday morning acquitted a unionist and democracy activist for her alleged refusal to report to a junta summon in 2014.
The court found Jittra Cotchadet had no intention to flee or to avoid reporting to the junta, as she was in Sweden on a training course when the summon was issued by the National Council for Peace and Order in the aftermath of the coup on June 3, 2014.
“I don’t think I can make any demand under this [military] regime. In fact I thought from the very beginning that I would not have been taken to court,” said Jittra.
After learning about the summon, Jittra said she reported to the Thai embassy in Stockholm instead. However, the embassy refused to acknowledge the activist’s presence on behalf of the National Council for Peace and Order and she was arrested upon her return to the country June 13 in 2014 at Suvarnabhumi Airport, spending a night in detention before being released on bail. The incident was followed by a court case which lasted until Thursday morning’s verdict was issued.
Speaking on the phone after the verdict, Jittra said she doesn’t see how she could be compensated for the time and money lost during the eight times she had to travel between Sweden and Thailand, as the activist has been married to a Swedish national over the past two years.
What’s more, Jittra said she no longer feels safe living in Thailand.
“The political situation played a role in my decision [to marry a Swedish man] and not wanting to live in [Thailand],” she said.
Jittra is currently living in Uppsala. The 45-year-old former unionist added however that if conditions permitted, she would still want to live in Thailand and fight for its democracy.