Thai junta makes it clear it is not interested in democracy

BASED on an observation by Human Rights Watch (HRW), the Thai junta’s detention of Watana Muangsook for publicly opposing the draft constitution signals „a clear warning“ that they are prepared to resort to intimidation and arrests to ensure that the upcoming referendum will go their way.

The international human rights group has urged the government to release Watana, a former government minister currently being held in military custody for supporting a ’no‘ vote in the referendum, which is being held to determine whether to adopt a new constitution and a military-appointed Senate.

SEE ALSO: Thailand unveils draft charter amid crackdown on criticism

Authorities from the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) arrested the ex-Pheu Thai MP on Monday, and later transferred him to a military facility in Kanchanaburi province.

Deputy Prime Minister Gen. Prawit Wongsuwan told local media that Watana was put under arrest for speaking out against the draft constitution.

„I have warned [Watana] that he will be taken in [to military custody] every time he speaks up. If he still doesn’t listen, we will do it again and again … Don’t tell voters whether you like the draft constitution or not,“ he said.

Under NCPO Order 3/2558, the military has the power to keep a person in custody for up to seven days to prevent and suppress certain acts, which include lèse majesté (insulting the royal family), threats to national security, weapons offenses, and violations of NCPO orders.

Last month, Watana had already gotten on the wrong side of the military government for the exact same infraction, and was sent to an „attitude adjustment“ session at a military camp. However, after being released, the recalcitrant politician refused to change his stance, leading to his current detention.

Prior to being arrested once again, Watana posted to his Facebook:

In an effort to seek international assistance for her father’s plight, Watana’s daughter has sent …

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