Court To Rule Whether Protest Leaders Committed Treason

Arnon Nampha under police custody on Aug. 8, 2020.

BANGKOK — The Constitutional Court on Wednesday accepted a petition to decide whether three anti-government protest leaders violate the highest law of the land by demanding reforms of the monarchy. 

The complaint accused Arnon Nampa, Panupong “Mike Rayong” Jadnok, and Thammasat University student activist Panasaya Sitthijirawattanakul of pursuing regime change in manner not allowed by the Constitution and committing treason for their activism.

It was filed to the Constitutional Court by a lawyer named Natthaporn Toprayoon – the same individual who asked the court to dissolve an opposition party for its alleged link to the fictitious “Illuminati” secret society.

Per the court procedure, the three people named in the complaint have 15 days to defend themselves before the tribunal. 

Arnon, one of the three accused, said he has yet to receive any summons as of Thursday noon. He denied the allegations that the protest leaders were seeking to overthrow the monarchy institution.

“We are using the protest to be a venue for dialogue between Thai elites and the democracy camp,” said Arnon.

Ekachai Chainuvati, a law lecturer at Siam University, said on Thursday that the current Constitution Court is empowered to take judicial action to protect the political system from being overthrown.

“The decision is not binding and if the three are found guilty, it will be up to the police to decide whether to take up the cases to the prosecutor or not,” said Ekachai. 

Treason is punishable by death under Thai laws.