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Five Khon Kaen students let free without charge

Legacy Phuket Gazette



Five Khon Kaen students let free without charge | Thaiger


– Thailand news selected by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Five Khon Kaen students let free without charge
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Five Khon Kaen University students who were rounded up after surprising Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha during his first official visit to Khon Kaen with an anti-coup protest – including a three-finger salute (story here) – were released yesterday without being charged.

Chatupat Bunpattararaksa, Payu Bunsopon, Witchakorn Anuchon, Chetsarit Namkot, Wasant Seksit greeted Prayut with T-shirts featuring an anti-coup slogan “We don’t want the coup” on Wednesday, when the PM was addressing a seminar at a provincial hall on how to tackle drought.

The students were released after two hours of talks with them, their parents, Khon Kaen governor Kamthorn Thawornsatit, high-ranking local police, plus the Dean of the Law Faculty at Khon Kaen University.

A planned press conference was called off after the five were released without charge.

The students had earlier been asked to sign an agreement to accept what they did was wrong, to accept not to stage political acts and accept that if they do, they would face prosecution.

Two of the five – Payu and Chetsarit – accepted the agreement under pressure of their parents. Finally, the five were released unconditionally.

Chatupat said that he and four others had earlier been forced to sign the agreement or risk losing their status as students, but later they were released unconditionally.

He said that nothing could stop him from exercising his right and vowed to stage a political act when he felt the time was right.

“I am ready to accept consequences and I will not accept illegitimate power. Wherever there is injustice, we will not allow society to be blindfolded,’ he said.

Seksan said he staged the move without anyone prompting him, saying he and his friends took three days to make the T-shirts and planned their act.

Kittibodi Yaiplu, dean of the Faculty of Law, said the officials did not want to take any legal action because they want the students to return to their study and become a force to be reckoned with for society.

“As their teacher, I am there to protect them. There was not any contract made in order to get them released – only talk,’ he said. “I believe what the students did was a pure act and expression, though they may have transgressed the current law; society must give them the chance,’ he said.

Wibul Bunpattararaksa, father of Chatupat, said he supported his son as he believed he had the right to express his opinion. “It is not right to force him to admit guilt when he thought that what he did was right and he did it for society. But as his father, I have to warn him not to cross the line and become an extremist,’ he said.

— Phuket Gazette Editors


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