Military abducts embattled anti-junta student activist from university

Military officers have abducted a well-known anti-junta student activist from his university in Bangkok. A warrant had been issued for his arrest.

Eight military officers at around 10:35 pm on Wednesday, 20 January 2016, abducted Sirawit Serithiwat, aka Ja New, while he was walking in the Rangsit Campus of Thammasat University.

Sassawat Komneeyawanich, a friend who was with Sirawit when he was taken, said that eight officers from two pickup trucks with concealed license plates abducted him in the presence of many students and others.  

The officers put him into one of the cars without presenting the arrest warrant or providing information about where they were taking him, Sassawat added.

Prachatai contacted Col Burin Thongprapai, staff judge advocate of the military prosecutor's office, about the abduction.  The officer told Prachatai that he was not informed about the abduction and only knew about it from a video clip of the event that was shared on the Facebook page of the New Democracy Movement (NDM), an anti-junta activist group.

According to the BBC Thai Service, Ja New had arranged an interview at 10 pm with Jom Petpradap, a Thai journalist in self-imposed exile in the US. The interview was for Thai Voice Media, a YouTube programme about Thai politics run by Jom.  

Sirawit has been active in pro-democracy political movements.

Last Thursday, military officers searched his house without a warrant.

Earlier, the Military Court of Bangkok issued arrest warrants for Sirawit Serithiwat, 23, Chonticha Jaeng-rew, 22, Chanoknan Ruamsap, 22, Abhisit Sapnaphapan, 29, Korakoch Saengyenpan, 23, and Thanet Anantawong, 25 at the request of the Railway Police Station in Thonburi.

The six are among 11 young activists who are accused of violating the junta’s National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) Order No. 3/2015, which prohibits political gatherings of five or more persons, after they participated in a failed excursion to Rajabhakti Park in Prachuap Khiri Khan Province on 7 December 2015 to investigate corruption allegations at the park.

On 8 January 2016, Sirawit and five other activists went to the police station. However, they refused to report, saying that they did nothing wrong and were only exercising their rights as active citizens.

Out of the 11, Sirawit and Cholticha have already been charged with violating the junta’s political gathering ban as a result of their previous political activities.

Military officers abducting Sirawit amid presence of many other people 


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