Military Court drops red-shirt illegal political gathering case

Military Court drops red-shirt illegal political gathering case

Red-shirt leader Jatuporn Prompan, centre, and other leading members of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) arrive at the Bangkok Military Court on Wednesday to hear the decision to dismiss the case against them over a political gathering at Imperial department store in Lat Phrao in 2016. (Photo by Apichart Jinakul)
Red-shirt leader Jatuporn Prompan, centre, and other leading members of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) arrive at the Bangkok Military Court on Wednesday to hear the decision to dismiss the case against them over a political gathering at Imperial department store in Lat Phrao in 2016. (Photo by Apichart Jinakul)

The Bangkok Military Court on Wednesday dismissed the case against 19 leading red-shirt members charged defying the ban on political gatherings in organising the launch of a centre to monitor the 2016 charter referendum.

The court’s decision follows the National Council for Peace and Order's revocation of its order prohibiting a political gathering of five or more people.

The NCPO’s legal team filed a suit against 19 leading members of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) after they gathered at the Imperial department store in Lat Phrao on June 5, 2016 to open a centre to monitor the Aug 7 charter referendum for fraud, with a plan to open local branches across the country. 

The move upset Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, who suspected there were political motives aimed at his military government behind it.

Police raided the centre and closed it down 12 days later. The Crime Suppression Division handled the case before passing it on to military prosecutors.

Red-shirt leaders Veerakarn Musikkapong, Korkaew Pikulthong, Jatuporn Prompan, Nathawut Saikuar, Tida Tawornset, Weng Tojirakarn and 12 UDD members showed up at the court on Wednesday to hear the decision. Only Saranwut Saranket did not show up.

Mr Jatuporn said NCPO leader Prayut Chan-o-cha had revoked the order on political gatherings of five or more people on Dec 11, 2018.

This meant the NCPO’s order no longer applied, and the case had to be dropped.


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