PM warns there will be no negotiations, 'offenders' will face court in the future
THE NATIONAL Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) yesterday released from detention The Nation’s senior reporter and two Pheu Thai politicians after getting them to sign an undertaking to desist from any move or expression of opinions opposing the junta’s road map.
The Nation’s senior journalist, Pravit Rojanaphruk, signed an agreement not to lead, participate or assist any anti-coup movement. The NCPO also filed a pending police complaint against him, which would be activated if he violates the NCPO’s order again, a source said. He was in detention since Sunday afternoon.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said yesterday that those who were called for “attitude adjustment”, including Pravit, have to comply with the pact in relation to some personal activities, such as informing the NCPO when planning to travel abroad.
He also pointed out that the NCPO has the authority to freeze their bank account if it finds their movements suspicious. “I will agree with them no more. If they repeat it again, they have to go to court. There’ll be no more negotiation,” the premier said.
The NCPO spokespersons said people summoned for “attitude adjustment” had been picked for their “behaviour” no matter what occupation they practised. It stressed it was treating everyone from every sector equally.
NCPO deputy spokesperson Colonel Sirichan Nga-thong explained the four criteria used to consider whether one was obliged to attend attitude adjustment sessions were: behaviour, violation of an agreement, giving inaccurate information, and causing damage to organisations and individuals. She said the consideration did not take into account a person’s occupation.
As for proposals from Thai and international organisations concerning human rights, Sirichan said the NCPO’s orders and announcements were regarded as laws. Any violation would be dealt with by the authorities, she said.
NCPO spokesman Colonel Winthai Suvari insisted that the “attitude adjustment” session was an information-exchange process for creating common understanding, particularly when unclear information involved organisations as it could impact on conflict and undermine confidence.
The attitude adjustment session would take no more than seven days, he added.
So far, nobody has been charged, Winthai said, reiterating that the officers had emphasised the exchange of thoughts and creating understanding.
Earlier, The Nation’s Managing Editor Jintana Panyaarvudh had submitted an official letter to Prayut via the Army Secretary Office, calling for Pravit’s immediate release. .
The letter was received by Colonel Rapepat Trijitthitikul, attached to the Army Secretary Office. It would be passed on to the First Army Area yesterday before being forwarded to the NCPO chief and PM Prayut.
Many political activists have posted Facebook comments in relation to Pravit’s detention, demanding that he be freed. Among them was notable social critic Sulak Sivaraksa.
The critic said he admired Pravit for his bravery and fine attributes as a journalist, saying the detained senior journalist was one of a few deemed most excellent. “I hope the NCPO will be generous enough to listen to criticism. If he [Pravit] went too far, he can be handled by normal laws,” he wrote.
Also, Sulak’s post included that in bringing back democracy, the NCPO must not neglect its core values, including freedom of expression. As a result, the military should be open to criticism, he wrote.
He also warned that if the NCPO wanted to convince the international community that Thailand was moving towards democracy, it had to stop detaining people and using the expression “invitation for attitude adjustment” – especially when the government’s representatives would be attending the United Nations General Assembly later this month.
Pheu Thai’s Pichai Naripthaphan and Karun Hosakul, were also released yesterday after seven and five days’ detention respectively.
Pichai will not be charged, as the NCPO has decided to give him another chance after having attended seven sessions of attitude adjustment. Initially it had intended to charge him with violating its orders.
Shortly after the release, Pheu Thai issued a statement yesterday calling on the NCPO to stop threatening people’s rights and freedom and it also called for democracy to be restored.