Military officers visit Thammasat academic

Military officers visited a well-known Thammasat University academic, saying that from now on he has to ask for permission from the junta before traveling overseas.

According to Matichon Online, at 11:40 am on Thursday, 17 December 2015, four military officers went to the house of Thanet Aphornsuvan, a well-known political science and philosophy lecturer of Thammasat University, in Bang Kruai District, Nonthaburi Province.

According to Cherie Barry, Thanet’s wife, the officers requested to have words with Thanet and asked for his whereabouts.

After Barry told the officers that Thanet was not at home and was currently in another province, the officers informed her that before travelling overseas Thanet has to first ask for permission from the junta’s National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO).

The officers added that their superior ordered them to check on Thanet every 15 days from now on and that they have to follow the order.

Matichon reported the military officers are from the Anti-aircraft Infantry of the Royal Thai Army.

Prior to the 2014 coup d’état, Thanet was a member of the now defunct anti-coup group called the Assembly for the Defence of Democracy.

Last month, at least six lecturers were charged under NCPO Order No. 3/2015, which bans political gatherings of five or more persons.

The six lecturers are Attachak Sattayanurak, Somchai Preechasinlapakun, a history and a law lecturer from Chiang Mai University, Charoon Yuthong and Nattapong Jitnirat, two academics from Thaksin University in southern Songkhla Province, and social science lecturers Mana Nakham from Khon Kaen University and Booncherd Nuim from Burapha University.

According to Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) the Commander of the 33rd Army Division ordered Lt Col Apichat Kantawong filed a complaint against the academics after some of them participated in a briefing to read out a statement titled ‘universities are not military barracks’ calling for academic freedom on 31 October 2015.

Attachak, one of the embattled academics, said “the police informed us that they received complaints from the military and they have to proceed. They [the military] felt that we broke some sort of an agreement on what not to say, which we never agreed upon. We confirm that what we did is legal and that different ideas are crucial for Thai society under the reconciliation and reform process.”

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