Red leaders denied meeting with detained Watana

Red leaders denied meeting with detained Watana

UDD core leader Weng Tojirakarn and his wife, Tida Tawornseth hold photos of Watana Muangsook reportedly taken on Wednesday at a Kanchanaburi military camp. (Photo by Piyarach Chongcharoen)
UDD core leader Weng Tojirakarn and his wife, Tida Tawornseth hold photos of Watana Muangsook reportedly taken on Wednesday at a Kanchanaburi military camp. (Photo by Piyarach Chongcharoen)

The military regime on Wednesday refused a request by the leaders of the red shirts to meet with Watana Muangsook who is being held at a Kanchanaburi army camp.

Military officials showed the leaders photographs of the senior Pheu Thai figure to assure them that he was well.

United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship leader Jatuporn Prompan and other senior UDD members went to the Surasee Military Camp, 9th Infantry Division, on Wednesday afternoon. They were met by senior officers and taken into the compound for talks. 

Mr Jatuporn was accompanied by UDD core leaders Nattawut Saikuar, Tida Tawornseth  and Weng Tojirakarn. The group asked the officers if they could meet Mr Watana in his quarters or be allowed to see him outside. 

The officers refused their request but finally gave the red shirts two pictures of Mr Watana they claimed were taken at 11.30am that day. 

One picture showed the former commerce minister sitting in a big room and the other talking on a phone with his daughter Watana Muangsook.

Earlier report Watana's daughter petitions US embassy

The soldiers also agreed to hand a meal and a statue of a fighting rooster to Mr Watana on the group’s behalf. 

Mr Watana is nicknamed “Kai”, which in Thai means chicken or rooster.   

Mr Jatuporn said even though the meeting request was not granted, he thanked the Surasee Camp officers for giving them a friendly welcome and for their assurance that Mr Watana was being well taken care of. 

He said Mr Watana would be visited by his wife and daughter on Thursday.

Mr Nattawut and Mrs Tida also thanked the officers for being good hosts, but called on the government to allow its critics to express their opinions more freely to create a good atmosphere ahead of the constitutional referendum on Aug 7.

The National Council for Peace and Order’s legal team filed a complaint with the Crime Suppression Division (CSD) against Mr Watana for breaching NCPO order No. 39/2557 prohibiting political activities, according to a CSD source.

The offence carries a maximum of two years in prison and a fine of 40,000 baht. The complaint contained messages criticising the government that Mr Watana posted on his Facebook account.

The source said the case was filed because Mr Watana had signed an NCPO order banning him from political activities while he was detained at an army camp in Chon Buri in 2014.

Police investigators will compile evidence and seek an arrest warrant for Mr Watana from the Military Court on Thursday.

Red-shirt core leader Nattawut Saikuar (wearing hat) hands a fighting rooster statue to a soldier who promised to pass it on to Mr Watana. UDD leader Jatuporn Prompan (middle, black t-shirt) enjoys the moment. (Photo by Piyarach Chongcharoen)

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