Government goes after former Future Forward leaders; summons them to hear sedition charges

Thailand’s military-backed government has summoned the former leaders of the dissolved Future Forward Party to hear charges of sedition and other alleged crimes; continuing a judicial campaign against people thought to be behind the current pro-democracy protests.

Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, Piyabutr Saengkanokkul, and Pannika Wanich, have all been charged with violating Section 116 of the Criminal Code or sedition. All three are currently involved in an educational foundation called the Progressive Movement.

The police have asked for the arrest warrants from the Criminal Court but the court had earlier denied their request by saying that the accused should be summoned to hear their charges first.

Following the summoning, Piyabutr wrote on his social media that the police know they are carrying out an unjust order.

“If the police take off their uniforms and think back to their second year in law school, they would know very well that almost every warrant that was issued [is not a real violation of section 116],” Piyabutr said.

“Thailand is unlucky because these police officers have to throw away everything they learned in order to become part of the government’s mechanism and serve the people in power,” he added.

Piyabutr and Thanathorn have been accused by members of the government of masterminding the current student protests which have put pressure on the Prayut Chan-ocha administration.

Student-led pro-democracy protests have gripped the country for the past four months with demonstrators calling on the Prayut government to resign, for the government to re-draft the military-backed charter and for the government to stop harassing dissidents.

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