BANGKOK – Thailand’s military junta on Monday ordered more than 20 lese majeste suspects to report themselves to the military junta or face being tried in military courts for failing to show instead of the Criminal Court.
Army deputy spokesman Col Winthai Suvaree suggested suspects comply with the National Council for Peace and Order’s (NCPO) summons.
Those who refuse to show up would be considered to be defying the NPCO’s orders. Their cases would be prosecuted in military courts instead of the Criminal Court, he said.
The lese majeste suspects include Jakrapob Penkair, a core red-shirt member and former Prime Minister’s Office minister in the Thaksin Shinawatra government, who is now living in exile in Cambodia.
Other prominent figures are former Chulalongkorn University lecturer Giles “Ji” Ungpakorn, former vocational student activist Ekkapob Luara, alias “Tang Acheeva”, and red-shirt Chatwadee “Rose” Amornpat.
Col Winthai said the suspects were required to report in to the NCPO at the Army Club in the Thewes area under the junta’s 49th announcement issued late on Wednesday night.
The announcement was in response to dozens of complaints made to the NCPO’s complaint centre and military junta head Prayuth Chan-ocha about slow progress in cracking down on lese majeste law violations.
Col Winthai said the NCPO was consulting legal experts on how to take legal action against the suspects who live overseas.
Meanwhile, Gen Prayuth has ordered Lt Gen Theerachai Nakwanich, of the 1st Army Area, to mobilise security forces to track down suspects who are still at large in Thailand. Some of the suspects have refused requests to report in.
Deputy commissioner of the Thai Royal Police Pol Gen Aek Angsananon said police are stepping up their hunt for Mr Ekkapob and Wutthipong “Koh Tee” Kochthammakhun, who are also lese majeste suspects.