Cops summon 12 protest leaders over lese majeste

Cops summon 12 protest leaders over lese majeste

Police are summoning at least 12 core leaders of the anti-government movement to face charges for allegedly violating the lese majeste law.

Pol Maj Gen Piya Tawichai, deputy chief of the Metropolitan Police Bureau (MPB), confirmed yesterday police were summoning the protest leaders to answer charges under Section 112 of the Criminal Code. He insisted police were not abusing the lese majeste law by carrying out a witchhunt among people in the anti-government movement, as accused by some.

According to a source, Parit "Penguin" Chiwarak now faces up to eight counts connected to lese majeste offences he allegedly committed while rallying in several provinces including Khon Kaen, Ayutthaya, Ubon Ratchathani, Roi Et, Nonthaburi and Bangkok. Panusaya "Rung" Sithijirawattanakul, another core protest leader, faces six counts, while Panupong "Mike" Jadnok and Arnon Nampa each face four counts, according to the source. Patsaravalee "Mind" Tanakitvibulpon faces three counts and Chanin Wongsi two.

Other protest leaders to be charged with one count each are Chuthathip Sirikhan, Piyarat Chongthep, Thatthep Ruangpraphraikitseri, Attthaphon Buaphat, Chukiat Saengwong, and Sombat Thongyoi, said the source.

Another source said police handling the lese majeste cases asked the court to approve arrest warrants against the protest leaders.

However, the court rejected the police request, arguing a summons should be enough.

Mr Parit on Tuesday night posted on his Facebook page a message saying he had already received a summons related to two counts of Section 112 violations and for breaking the Computer Crime Act.

"My message to the person behind the use of this law is that I'm not really afraid of that because we have already broken the taboo," he said.

Ms Panusaya also posted a Facebook message, telling a story about some police who came to look for her at Thammasat University recently.

"Let me be frank. If you want to arrest me, please come to me with an arrest warrant," she said.

Meanwhile, Somkit Chueakhong, a Pheu Thai Party MP for Ubon Ratchathani, said the government was lacking sincerity in promoting national unity through a reconciliation panel.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, he said, should seek talks with them instead because he has the authority to make decisions.

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