Politicians to face charges following separatism forum
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Politicians to face charges following separatism forum

4th Army commander Lt Gen Santi Sakultanak (Photo: Royal Thai Army)
4th Army commander Lt Gen Santi Sakultanak (Photo: Royal Thai Army)

The military suspects some politicians of law violations over a separatism-related forum in the southern border province of Pattani early this month, according to the commander of the 4th Army.

Lt Gen Santi Sakultanak, the southern army region commander, said on Sunday that officers from the southern branch of the Internal Security Operations Command (Isoc) would soon file another complaint with police against more suspects, including some politicians. The southern Isoc office was gathering evidence to support the additional complaint, he said.

Lt Gen Santi said military officers from the southern Isoc branch filed the first complaint with police in Pattani province on Friday last week. The complaint alleged threats to security and domestic order and computer crime.

"That is only a part of it," he said while declining to reveal the number of the accused in the first complaint.

"Soon there will be another complaint which will include a certain number of the accused and politicians will be among them. Witnesses and evidence are being collected. I confirm that everyone will face action as far as the evidence goes," the 4th Army chief said.

According to sources, the first complaint targeted five people: a commentator at the forum who is a native of Narathiwat province, another Narathiwat native, a native of Pattani who is a key member of the Pelajar Bangsa (national students) movement, a native from Narathiwat's Sungai Padi district and a native of Saba Yoi district of Songkhla.

A group of activists earlier called for a public referendum on the establishment of an independent, Muslim "Patani State" in the South. Authorities said the referendum proposal violated the constitution and threatened the territorial integrity and security of the nation.

The reaction followed the establishment of Pelajar Bangsa, a youth group representing students from the three southernmost provinces, during a seminar at Prince of Songkla University's Pattani campus on June 7.

The group was considered as the latest incarnation of the Federation of Patani Students and Youth (PerMas), which was disbanded in November 2021.

The seminar was titled "Self-Determination and Patani Peace".

Speakers at the seminar included Worawit Baru, deputy leader of the Prachachat Party and MP for Pattani, and Hakim Pongtigor, deputy secretary-general of the FAIR Party.

The two parties are part of the prospective coalition led by the Move Forward Party, which is seeking to form the next government.

At the seminar, participants were given a ballot paper, on which they were asked to vote for a referendum on an independent Patani state. 

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