MFP weighs ejecting MPs for sex abuse

MFP weighs ejecting MPs for sex abuse

Punishment to be decided later today

Two male Move Forward Party (MFP) MPs were found by an internal probe to have committed sexual harassment, and their punishment, including possible dismissal from the party, will be decided by the executive board on Wednesday, according to a special party panel.

Wuttiphong: Claims to be misunderstood

The results of the probe were disclosed on Tuesday by Benja Saengjan, chairwoman of the main opposition party's special working team on anti-sexual violence.

She said the party's disciplinary panel conducted a fact-finding probe and found grounds for sexual harassment allegations against the two MPs.

On Monday, the MFP named one subject of the probe as Prachin Buri MP Wuttiphong Thonglour. The party did not release the identity of the other person.

The party launched the probe against Mr Wuttiphong upon receiving a complaint from the alleged victim in August. He allegedly sent sexually harassing text messages to a woman.

The MFP came under fire for dragging its feet in the investigation and allegedly trying to protect its own members.

Ms Benja on Tuesday said the punishment against both men would be passed by the party's executives at a meeting held at parliament later on Wednesday.

Warding off criticism that the men might walk away with a slap on the wrist, she maintained the party does not take sexual harassment lightly, especially when it is committed by one of its members.

The punishment against the two MPs, which is likely to be handed to them by the executives on Wednesday, might result either in certain rights being curtailed or their removal from the party. The rights in question are understood to include the MPs being barred from contesting the next polls under the MFP's banner.

Ms Benja said the party would administer punishment by the book. It is not afraid of expelling anyone, even if it would cost the party MP seats, as it has no intention of condoning a culture of covering up crime, she said, a stance voiced earlier by party spokesman Parit Wacharasindhu.

Ms Benja added the party adheres to a clear standard when it comes to figuring out punishment for sex-related violations.

However, the party is taking the time to proceed with the probe to avoid the risk of false incrimination as the investigation team delves into the details of the case.

Meanwhile, Mr Wuttiphong wrote on his Facebook account on Tuesday that all he could do at this time was to wait patiently for the party board's decision.

He wrote that he had suffered dearly from being misjudged. "It feels like being dragged to the execution stand with no chance to defend oneself," he wrote.

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