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Complaint against Jatuporn, 2 others

Posted by arnon_k On April - 12 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

The army on Tuesday filed a complaint against United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship co-leader Jatuporn Prompan and two others, saying they might have committed lese majeste in connection with their speeches made at the red-shirt rally at the Democracy Monument on Ratchadamnern Avenue on Sunday, April 10.

The complaint was filed on behalf of army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha by Col Jirapol Longpradit, an officer of the Judge Advocate General’s Office, with Pol Col Jirapat Phochanaphan, chief of the Samranrat police station.

The other two named in the complaint are Wichian Khaokham, a Puea Thai MP for Udon Thani, and Suporn Atthawong, a UDD member.

Mr Jatuporn, Mr Wichian, and Mr Suporn are already charged with terrorism and have been freed on bail.

Col Jirapol asked police to examine tapes of the three men’s speeches to see if they constituted lese majeste.

Earlier on Tuesday, Department Special Investigation (DSI) chief Tharit Pengdit said at a press conference that his office had listened to tapes of the speeches of Mr Jatuporn and 13 other red shirt leaders and concluded they might have lese majeste content.

The DSI will on Monday, April 18, submitted a request to the Office of the Attorney General asking it to consider revoking bail for Mr Jatuporn and other people who have been freed on bail.

The OAG would consider the request and make a decision, he said.

Military leaders unified against a coup

Posted by arnon_k On April - 6 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

Meeting of ‘movers and shakers’ fuels rumours
The military’s top brass have vehemently rejected rumours about an imminent coup d’etat sparked by a recent meeting of leading political figures.

The statement was made yesterday by Supreme Commander Songkitti Jaggabatara in the presence of the commanders of all the armed forces _ army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha, navy commander Kamthorn Phumhiran, and air force chief Itthaporn Subhawong _ at a press conference called after the monthly meeting of senior officers.

Gen Songkitti said there would “definitely not be a coup”. The armed forces operate under the constitution and support democratic rule, he said.

Gen Songkitti said the announcement is “the consensus” of the army, navy and air force chiefs and the police force.

Any military commander who leads his soldiers in a coup would be regarded as a rebel, he said.

“Any military unit which moves troops out of barracks without permission will be deemed to have committed insurrection. Feel free to file complaints against any soldier who conducts any political activity to pressure you. If there are grounds to the complaints, I will order an inquiry,” he said before his announcement was broadcast yesterday.

Gen Songkitti said soldiers and police would not get involved in political activities so the public should not believe in the coup rumours.

“Stop linking the armed forces [to the coup rumours]. Don’t ever separate the military from the people,” he said, adding that the military would work hand in hand with members of the public to ensure the country moves forward.

The military would not apply pressure to any party during election campaigning. Every political party could campaign for votes at all military units.

Whether there is a general election is not a decision for the military to make.

Once the House of Representatives was dissolved, the Election Commission was duty bound to hold the election, he said.

The supreme commander said he did not expect there to be any untoward incidents after the election.

He also dismissed as groundless a rumour that the next government would be formed under Section 7 of the charter to pave the way for the royal appointment of an unelected prime minister.

Puea Thai Party chairman Chavalit Yongchaiyudh yesterday said the army was unlikely to stage another coup.

“I do not believe the army will launch a coup, even a silent coup, as people have been speculating because national army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha has repeatedly insisted that there won’t be one,” Gen Chavalit said.

He said he believed Gen Prayuth’s words and that the Puea Thai Party would continue to support democracy.

“If there is no election then it will be because the government wants to complete its term and it would make the excuse that the problems have not been solved and that it is not ready,” the veteran politician said.

Waves of coup rumours have surfaced and persisted both in the capital and in other provinces across the country over the past six months. The strongest rumour was sparked by a recent meeting of movers and shakers in Thai politics who gathered at the house of an important person in the Sukhumvit area. It is a meeting place where past decisions on changes in government have been made.

It was proposed at the meeting that an interim national government should be formed to restore national order, comprising all political parties to select good people to run the country.

The national government’s top priorities would be to grant amnesty for those convicted of offences related to colour-coded politics and to amend the constitution to ensure greater justice.

It was agreed that the national government should be allowed to run the country for two to three years before a general election is called.

But a source at the meeting said those at the meeting failed to specify how the national government should be formed if it was not through a military takeover.

This has contributed to the constant rumours of a putsch, the source said.

The coup rumours have coincided with calls for the invocation of Section 7 of the constitution to seek royal intervention to appoint an unelected prime minister to run the country in the interim to prevent the military staging a coup.

Comments by Election Commissioner Sodsri Sattayatham that the military would stage “a silent coup” to clear the way for a national government to be formed have also fuelled coup rumours.

There has been concern that if the EC could not organise and run the general election as planned, the commissioners may be pressured to resign to take responsibility, which could lead to the cancellation of the election. That might result in the military staging a coup to break the political impasse.

Gen Prayuth: There will be an election

Posted by arnon_k On April - 4 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

There will certainly be a general election soon and the military will not interfere in the formation of the new government after that, army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha said on Monday.

Gen Prayuth was replying to reporters’ questions.

He said soldiers will not obstruct the polls, and in fact will make sure that a general election is held.

Asked if the military would again facilitate the formation of the next government into the military camp, Gen Prayuth firmly said: “No.”

“There will not be such a thing, nothing like that. We will stick to our duty and support democratic rule,” he said.

The army chief warned people against committing lese majeste, saying that those who do so would face tough legal action.

“Please don’t ask again what soldiers will do from now. We soldiers will perform our duty, help people in trouble and help the country overcome obstacles in a democratic administration under His Majesty the King,” he said.

Army chief ‘sorry for deaths’

Posted by arnon_k On March - 24 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

Prayuth: Lack of care led to twin tragedies
Army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha has apologised for the army’s “lack of understanding and care” that led to large numbers of deaths in the Tak Bai and Krue Se crackdowns in 2004.

“I admit I am upset. I have to apologise on behalf of the army,” he said yesterday.

The army was accused of using excessive force in both attacks.

On April 28, 2004, the army shot 32 people inside the Krue Se mosque in Pattani’s Muang district after it was taken over by suspected militants.

On Oct 25 the same year, 78 people who were arrested while demonstrating outside Tak Bai district police station in Narathiwat died of suffocation while being transported to Ingkayuthboriharn base in Pattani’s Nong Chik district.

Gen Prayuth apologised yesterday in an address to 600 villagers including teenagers from the Muslim-dominated provinces of Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat.

They had gathered at the Thai Army Club in Bangkok yesterday to join a career training programme, held by the Interal Security Operations Command (Isoc).

“The two incidents should not have happened. I apologise to all southerners, especially relatives of the dead, even though at the time I was not yet in this position,” Gen Prayuth said.

“The incidents happened partly because of carelessness on the part of the authorities.

“I promise not to let anything like that happen again,” he said.

Gen Prayuth said that in dealing with problems in the South he did not want anyone to lose their life.

“But soldiers alone cannot solve this problem. Everyone must lend a helping hand,” he said.

“No matter what, the three provinces cannot be separated or given self-rule because that would be against the constitution,” he added.

The army would not solve southern security problems by resorting to violence.

The army chief, however, said tough action will be taken against traders of contraband goods and peddlers of illicit drugs.

The problems have exacerbated the security woes in the far South.

Gen Prayuth admitted the army was unable to provide full security as the insurgents had infiltrated a large area.

However, residents who cooperated with authorities were helping to restore peace.

Meanwhile, the Fourth Army will go ahead with its plan to replace a military unit in Rueso district despite opposition from villagers, said its chief Udomchai Thammasarorat.

The villagers do not want the 30th Narathiwat Task Force, which has guarded their neighbourhoods in Rueso, to be replaced by the 24th Pattani Task Force. They worry the newcomers may not be familiar with the area.

Also, local authorities in Narathiwat have acquired 90 rai of land in Muang district to build the first teacher centre to give better care to teachers.

The project was initiated by Her Majesty the Queen, who is worried about teacher safety and poor living conditions in Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat.

A total of 138 teachers have been killed in insurgency-related attacks in the provinces since the insurgent violence renewed in early 2004.

The centre will contain a school, housing and recreational areas, all in one compound.

If teachers can work and live in one place, there should be less need for them to go outside and be exposed to risk of attacks by insurgents, local authorities say.

The government plans to build one centre each in Muang district of Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat.