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Thai Police Say They Have Sufficient Evidence to Charge Future Forward Party Leader With Sedition, “But It’s Not Politically Motivated”

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BANGKOK – Thailand’s Deputy national police chief Pol Gen Srivara Rangsibrahmanakul has claimed that police have sufficient evidence to support a sedition charge filed against Future Forward party leader Thanathorn Jungroongruangkit.

Pol Gen Srivara Rangsibrahmanakul also insisted that police have “not been ordered” by anyone to take legal action against the firebrand party leader or intend to discredit him, but they are simply performing their duty to investigate an incident which allegedly took place on the night of June 24, 2015 in which Thanathorn was allegedly involved.

Asked by Thai PBS why the legal action against Thanathorn was being taken in the aftermath of the general election, the deputy national police chief claimed that the delay was caused by three changes of the chief investigator in the case, starting with Pol Maj-Gen Thawitchart Palasak, deputy commissioner of Metropolitan Police, then Pol Maj-Gen Preecha Charoensahainont, deputy commissioner of Metropolitan Police and, most recently, Pol Col Thamanoon Boonruang, superintendent of Pathumwan police, who decided to pursue the case after having sifted through a backlog of pending cases.

The sedition charge against Thanathorn relates to an incident in front of Pathumwan police station where a demonstration took place in 2015. Pol Gen Srivara said Thanathorn and his mother Mrs. Somporn were accused of helping demonstrators escape in a passenger van belonging to Mrs. Somporn.

He said Mrs. Somporn was summoned by police for questioning once, adding that Thanathorn should not be surprised or alarmed because he should have been well aware of the incident and his alleged involvement in assisting in the escape of some of the suspects.

Besides the sedition charge against Thanathorn, the deputy national police chief said the Future Forward party leader might face additional charges of illegal assembly of more than five people in a public place, because the latter had admitted in own Facebook post that he was at the crime scene four years ago.