Police raid red-shirt TV station searching for anti-draft charter moderator

Thai police are pursuing a red-shirt moderator for allegedly distorting the content of the draft constitution. Another red-shirt leader said legal prosecutions like this do not benefit the August referendum. 
On Thursday, 4 August 2016, police raided Peace TV, a TV station run by the co-leaders of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship, aka the red-shirt movement, in a search for Usman Lookyee, a moderator of red-shirt TV programmes. 
Weng Tojirakarn, a UDD leader, told Prachatai that about 10 officers came to the station at around 3 pm asking for Usman. Weng revealed that Usman had never received a summons but the police just showed up with an arrest warrant. Usman is contacting the Royal Thai Police Headquarters to report since he is concerned that he will not receive proper treatment from local authorities.
“Until now, Usman and I haven’t been informed of which messages have led to the charges. I heard that he is charged under the Referendum Act and the Computer Crime Act but the authorities should treat him more gently,” Weng said. “We [the UDD] would like to protest that the justice system nowadays is treating junta opponents like they are an appalling enemy. Everything is done with force and that doesn’t benefit the 7 August referendum.”    
In a related development, Pol Gen Sriwara Rangsiphramanakul, Deputy Commander of the Royal Thai Police, visited the Deep South province of Yala, where Usman’s complaint was filed, to check out security measures for the referendum on Sunday, Matichon Online reported on 5 August.
The Police General said that the restive Deep South of Thailand has had many cases of distortion of the draft charter content, including the case of Usman, who distorted the content involving religious issues on Facebook. The police have already issued a warrant for his arrest, and the charges carry severe sentences. Pol Gen Sriwara also warned local people to be aware of insurgents on the referendum date. 
“The authorities are closely monitoring the referendum situation. The insurgents might cause disturbances as they always do when there is a significant political event,” he said.
Usman Lookyee (source: PeaceTV)

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