BANGKOK – Thailand’s National Security Council (NSC) Chief Secretary General Gen Thaweep Netniyom told reporters today that a group of Laos-based Thais wanted for spreading anti-monarchy messages had made death threats against the prime minister and his deputy.
The allegation comes as Thailand’s military seeks to extradite the group for lese majeste – an offense punishable by up to 15 years in prison per count.
Gen Thaweep Netniyom told reporters that the group allegedly issued the death threats against Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha and his deputy, defence minister Prawit Wongsuwan, on social media.
A Thai political analyst said the dissidents in Laos appeared to be frustrated and powerless to do anything.
“It’s all talk. It’s all they can do to vent,” Kan Yuenyong, executive director of Siam Intelligence Unit think-tank, told Reuters, referring to the threats.
Thailand’s military government has tried in vain to extradite six Thai Nationals who fled to Laos after Gen. Prayut Chan-O-Cha’s 2014 coup against Yingluck Shinawatra’s democratically elected government.
Neighboring Laos has yet to publicly comment on Thailand’s efforts to bring the royal defamation suspects home.
Since taking power in a 2014, Thailand’s military junta has taken a tough stance on dissenters.
Lese majeste prosecutions have skyrocketed under the royalist junta, with courts handing down record jail sentences, often for simple comments posted on social media.
Secretary General Gen Thaweep Netniyom plans to visit Laos to follow up on the government’s extradition request and said on Monday he was awaiting Lao confirmation of his travel plan.
Source: Thai PBS, Reuters, Rappler