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Move Forward MPs call for release of lese majeste detainees at parliament

By Thai Newsroom Reporters

MOVE FORWARD MPs today (July 22) staged a brief demonstration in the middle of the parliament chamber calling for an immediate release of a couple of woman activists detained under lese majeste charges.

On the last day of a four-day censure debate against Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and 10 other cabinet members, the Move Forward MPs rose to their feet brandishing portraits of the young detainees, namely Netiporn Sanehsangkhom and Natanit Duangmusit, whilst Move Forward MP Bencha Saengchantra was taking the floor calling for their release from detention.

Both woman activists who have been denied bail, detained in jail and staged a hunger strike had been arrested on lese majeste charges under the draconian Section 112 of the Criminal Code since earlier this year.

Netiporn and Natanit, members of the so-called Thalu Wang (through the Palace) activist group, had conducted an opinion poll among visitors and passers-by at a crowded shopping centre in Pathumwan district of the capital, soliciting their views on royal motorcades and relevant road traffic conditions.

Bencha insisted that the Prayut government unconditionally release Netiporn and Natanit as well as many others currently detained under lese majeste and sedition charges because, she said, nobody should basically be subject to it as long as the internationally-recognised human rights and freedom are concerned.

The woman MP charged that Prayut had had those political activists arrested and detained only because they had apparently adopted opposing views.

“Prayut is the type of leader who would always mention the rule of law and tell the people to abide by the law despite the fact that he rose to power by tearing up the constitution and having it rewritten only to prolong his rule,” Bencha said.

According to the woman MP, 169 people have been arrested and detained on lese majeste charges since 2014, the year in which Prayut orchestrated a coup as army chief.

Among those Section 112-violating suspects were Khana Ratsadorn Group and Free Youth Group leaders Anon Nampa, Parit Chiwarak, or Penguin, Panupong Jadnok and Panusaya Sitthijirawattanakul, or Rung, all of whom have been released under bail.


Top: Move Forward MPs holding a demonstration in parliament chamber calling for the release of two woman activists held on lese majeste charges.

Front Page: Move Forward MP Bencha Saengchantra raising the issue of lese majeste detainees during the censure debate. Photos: Matichon

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