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Thai coup leaders want ousted premier's party prosecuted for political activity

Thai coup leaders want ousted premier's party prosecuted for political activity

The military group that staged a coup against elected Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra announced Tuesday that the acting head of the former leader's Thai Rak Thai party would be prosecuted for violating a ban on political activity.
Col. Sansern Chaengkamnerd, a spokesman for the military's Council for National Security, said that Chaturon Chaisaeng, Thai Rak Thai's acting leader, had violated two orders issued by the coup group after its bloodless Sept. 19 takeover.
He said that Chaturon had violated a ban on political activities by traveling to the northeast on Feb. 19 to meet with people and talk about his party's policies.
If carried out, the prosecution would apparently be the first for violating one of the council's ad hoc orders. The junta had tolerated several small political protests that were in technical violation of other bans on public gatherings, since rescinded.
Chaturon expressed confidence he had not violated any laws or orders, and said he would fight the case if it proceeded.
"The order should be reviewed to allow political parties to carry out important activities," he told The Associated Press, adding that he has forwarded the request to the government.
"Whether the election will be free and fair and the people will be able to vote for good politicians, political parties should be allowed to make preparation and to communicate with people. Otherwise, the election will be meaningless," Chaturon said.
The Democrat Party, which had led the parliamentary opposition to Thaksin's government _ has also called for the government to lift the ban and allow politicians to engage people in the process of drafting a new constitution and preparing them for a general election scheduled for October.
Interim Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont _ who was appointed by the military to succeed Thaksin _ said last week that the ban on political activity needs to remain in place because the situation is still "sensitive." The ban will not be lifted until the constitution's drafting is completed, which is planned for the middle of this year, he said.
The government has alleged that Thaksin _ who has been in exile since the coup _ has continued to covertly try to undermine the government.
Military spokesman Sansern acknowledged that he was unsure of the possible penalties that Chaturon could face, since none are specified in the orders.


Updated : 2021-10-20 21:33 GMT+08:00