Piyabutr under fire over call to pull Isoc lawyer before panel

Piyabutr under fire over call to pull Isoc lawyer before panel

Future Forward Party secretary-general Piyabutr Saengkanokkul is facing criticism for his plan to call Maj Gen Burin Thongpraphai to testify to a House committee. (Bangkok Post photo)
Future Forward Party secretary-general Piyabutr Saengkanokkul is facing criticism for his plan to call Maj Gen Burin Thongpraphai to testify to a House committee. (Bangkok Post photo)

Future Forward Party (FFP) secretary-general Piyabutr Saengkanokkul is facing criticism for his plan to call Maj Gen Burin Thongpraphai, legal officer for Isoc's Region 4 forward command, to testify to a House committee over the legal action filed against 12 people, including key opposition figures, over discussions on changes to the charter.

Rawee Maschamadol, leader of the coalition New Palang Dharma Party, said Mr Piyabutr, who chairs the House standing committee on laws, justice and human rights, should reconsider his plan.

Maj Gen Burin, the legal officer for the Internal Security Operations Command (Isoc)'s Region 4 forward command, was only doing his job and did not break the law or violate human rights or justice, said Dr Rawee.

Also, the call for Maj Gen Burin to explain his complaint against the 12 people could amount to interference in his duty, Dr Rawee warned.

Maj Gen Burin said he lodged a complaint with a police station in the southern province of Pattani on Thursday against 12 people, including Sompong Amornwiwat, leader of the opposition Pheu Thai Party, and FFP leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit.

Opposition parties held a public discussion in front of the Pattani provincial hall on Sept 28. The forward command claims the discussion affected national security and solutions to problems in the southernmost provinces. The complaint cited Section 116 of the Criminal Code, which bans sedition and stipulates a jail term of up to seven years for a violation.

Also named in Maj Gen Burin's complaint was Chalita Banthuwong, a social scientist from Kasetsart University, who proposed an amendment to Section 1 of the constitution. Section 1 stipulates that Thailand is a single and indivisible kingdom.

Dr Rawee on Saturday said he believed several members of the House committee may not agree with Maj Gen Burin appearing before them. Dr Rawee, however, said Maj Gen Burin should not have proceeded with a blanket accusation against the group, especially members of the opposition whose stand has been to spare Section 1 and Section 2 governing the constitutional monarchy from a charter amendment.

Rather, Maj Gen Burin should focus on specific individuals who may have clearly committed an offence and those who supported Ms Chalita's view. While the academic was free to air her opinion, she must be prosecuted if the essence of her view goes against the law, he said.


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