By PRAVIT ROJANAPHRUK,
ACADEMICS OPPOSE VISITS BY SOLDIERS TO HOMES OF DETAINED STUDENTS AND BACKERS
THE AUTHORITIES should stop intimidating and harassing the parents of detained anti-coup students, academics supporting them and the alternative media, said Narumon Tabchumpol, a Chulalongkorn University political scientist and a member of the 280 academics backing the students.
The academics also demanded that the 14 detained students be treated as “political prisoners” and be kept in a facility where there were no criminals and that they not be tried by a military court.
The students are members of the New Democracy Movement.
The call came after soldiers visited the parents of at least two detained students, a number of academics and prachatai.com, an online newspaper, over the past two days.
Deputy PM General Prawit Wong-suwan denied that soldiers were harassing anyone, but urged people against making a political move on the issue. Three soldiers in uniform visited the parents of Chonticha Chaengrew, aka Lookged, the only detained female student activist, at their house in Pathum Thani province and questioned them over why they allowed her to act against the government, said the students’ attorney, Kritsadang Nutcharas.
Chonticha and the 13 other activists were arrested on Friday following a military court order being issued.
On Wednesday, her parents were interrogated by soldiers about her “controversial” behaviour, their roles as parents and whether there was any ulterior motive behind the student’s actions.
Chonticha’s motives were her own and no one was pushing her, her mother Lamul said during an hour-long talk with the soldiers.
Lamul was told by relatives of Pornchai Yuanyee, another detained student activist, that soldiers also visited them using the same approach.
Soldiers also visited at least nine academics and supporters of the students and asked them to remove campaign postings from their Facebook pages and not talk about the detention of the students in the classroom.
One academic, Arjinjonathan Arjinkit, who signed his name in support of the detainees, was visited by soldiers yesterday. Arjinjonathan posted on Facebook, saying he was not asked to remove his Facebook postings but the soldiers expressed concern that the situation is getting out of control.
The scholar said the tactic was an act of intimidation. “I consider it an intimidation to my freedom and it will make the situation fragile,” he wrote yesterday, adding that the soldiers told him that foreign media was watching.
The management of Prachatai.com was visited by three plain-clothed soldiers yesterday. The soldiers asked if the organisation is involved with the NDM and lingered outside the office from 11am until 2pm. “In principle, this shouldn’t have happened,” prachatai.com editor Pimpaka Ngamsom said.
Meanwhile, National Security Council secretary-general Anusit Kunakorn said the government needed advise on how it should treat the 14 students.