Watana summoned by military for comments on student arrests

Watana summoned by military for comments on student arrests

Former commerce minister Watana Muangsook has been summoned to meet the military tomorrow for talks after he made critical remarks about the arrest of 14 students of the anti-coup "New Democracy Movement".

Mr Watana, a core member of the Pheu Thai Party, said he received a telephone call from a military officer on Monday morning telling him to report to the 1st Army headquarters on Tuesday at 11am.

The military wanted to talk to him about his remarks on the arrest of the 14 students on Friday on charges of instigating unrest and defying a National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) ban on political gatherings.

The 13 male students are being detained at Bangkok Remand Prison and the only female student in the group at the Central Women's Correctional Institution, awaiting trial in Bangkok Military Court.

Mr Watana wrote on his Facebook page in defence of the 14 students, saying they had not instigated unrest that could lead to a change in the country's administration, but sincerely expressed their opinions as allowed by the law.

The National Council for Peace and Order's order No 3/2015 prohibiting a political gathering of five people or more was unjust as it contravened Section 2 of the interim constitution of 2014,  which guarantees the people's right to express themselves in a democratic way, he said. This NCPO order was itself in breach of the interim constitution, he said.

The arrested students were only calling for the return of their rights, which had been restricted and curtailed, he added.

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