BANGKOK Thai activists on Monday demanded the release of a man arrested for sharing an infographic on Facebook detailing alleged graft in an army-constructed park, saying plainclothes security officers took him by force.
Because taking power in a military coup in Might 2014, Thailand’s ruling junta has issued directives that have largely stifled dissent, such as barring political discussions and debate.
On Sunday, a 25-year-old student, Thanet Anantawong, was taken from a hospital although he awaited an operation, stated prominent anti-junta activist, Siriwat Serithiwat.
“Plain clothes security officers went to a hospital exactly where Thanet was staying,” Siriwat told reporters outside a criminal court in the capital. “I would like the court to release Thanet. He demands medical attention. We are afraid for his life.”
A junta spokesman declined to comment on the arrest of Thanet, who is getting held at Bangkok’s 11th Army Circle military base.
Thanet was among a group of activists who attempted to go to the park, at the center of a corruption scandal that threatens to embroil the military government.
Soldiers and police intercepted them at a train station, and detained some for a number of hours just before their release.
The Rajabakti park, built in the seaside resort town of Hua Hin south of Bangkok, and devoted to the monarchy, has been at the center of allegations of corruption and misspent funds.
A military probe into its finances discovered no corruption, but graft accusations persist among opposition groups and the media.
Thanet faces charges under Post 116 of Thailand’s criminal code – the equivalent of sedition – as effectively as beneath the wide-ranging Laptop Crimes Act for allegedly re-posting a diagram on Facebook linking junta leader Prayuth Chan-ocha and other officials to alleged corruption involving the park.
A second man, Thanakorn Siripaiboon, 27, was arrested on Dec. eight for sharing posts about government corruption and hitting the “like” button on a post with an image deemed insulting to Thailand’s king, Human Rights Watch said on Saturday.
He is being held at Bangkok’s high-security Klong Prem Central prison, police mentioned.
The junta has created a best priority of guarding the monarchy through the use of Thailand’s royal defamation laws, which are among the world’s harshest.
Those accused of lese-majeste are attempted in military courts, which have handed down record sentences.
A military court refused Thanakorn bail, mentioned his lawyer, Anon Nampa.
“They mentioned his crimes are punishable by several years in prison and they are afraid he will offend once again if released,” he added.
(Editing by Clarence Fernandez)