Chaturon demands 'reason' for passport revocation

Chaturon demands 'reason' for passport revocation

Chaturon Chaisaeng, a leading member of Pheu Thai Party and cabinet member in the former Yingluck government, went to Department of Consular Affairs on Thursday seeking an explanation for the revocation of his passports. (Post Today photo)
Chaturon Chaisaeng, a leading member of Pheu Thai Party and cabinet member in the former Yingluck government, went to Department of Consular Affairs on Thursday seeking an explanation for the revocation of his passports. (Post Today photo)

Former education minister Chaturon Chaisaeng on Thursday asked the Department of Consular Affairs to explain just why his passports were revoked.

The former acting Pheu Thai Party leader submitted a formal request directly to department’s director-general Thongchai Chasawat.

He said the cancelling of his passports -- his ordinary passport and his expired diplomatic passport - made him a "second class citizen" and deprived of the right to travel abroad. 

Mr Chaturon demanded the department give him a written clarification within 15 days. He threatened to take the matter to court if there was no explanation by then and if his documents are not returned.

The former education minister said the military court had approved his requests to travel abroad three or four times during the past 12 months.

However, the NCPO recently rejected two requests, saying he had criticised them too much.

Mr Chaturon called on the department to review its decision and give him justice in its handling of this matter.

Mr Chaturon was issued a diplomatic passport when he was a cabinet member in the former Yingluck government. He was expected to return it after he left office, but did not do so.

Soldiers arrested the leading Pheu Thai figure after he held a press conference to denounce the coup at the Foreign Correspondents' Club in Bangkok on May 27 last year. He was detained for 11 days before the military court granted him bail on condition he must not take part in political gatherings or incite public disorder. 

Mr Chaturon, however, continued to openly criticise the work of the government and the junta's National Council for Peace and Order.   

A source at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Wednesday the Royal Thai Police sent a request two weeks ago asking the ministry to revoke all of Mr Chaturon’s passports, citing his criticism of the regime and his pending court case for defying the NCPO’s summons to report in, and inciting unrest. 

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said on Thursday authorities had revoked Mr Chaturon’s passports because he kept “making the same mistakes over and over” and despite being warned a dozen times. 

The premier did not elaborate on "the mistakes" Mr Chaturon had allegedly made but it apparently referred to the veteran politician's frequent criticism of the government and the NCPO since he was bailed last year.

“Let’s look at their behaviour. If they are warned several times and don’t obey, then there must be some degree of punishment,” Gen Prayut said. "If they don’t want to be punished, then wait until we have a [new] constitution and elections.”



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