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The Deputy Governor of Chiang Mai has threatened three academics who allegedly put up banners against the junta with being summoned by the military.  

On 18 July 2017, Puttipong Sirimart, Deputy Governor of Chiang Mai, submitted a letter to the Ministry of Interior reporting three academics who allegedly held up placards reading, ‘an academic forum is not a military camp’, at the 13th International Conference on Thai Studies in Chiang Mai.   

The letter identified the three as Prajak Kongkirati, a political scientist from Thammasat University, Pakawadee Weerapaspong, an independent writer, activist, and translator, and Chaipong Samnieng, a lecturer at the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Chiang Mai University.

The letter states that the three will be summoned by the military in Chiang Mai, claiming they used an academic forum to engage in anti-junta activities. The letter, however, does not specify when the three should report to the authorities.  

The three are among 176 academics who signed a joint statement at the forum calling for the return of democracy.

The letter adds that the three have consistently been involved in movements against the junta through the Thai Academic Network for Civil Rights (TANCR).

In response, the TANCR issued a statement saying that Prajak was not involved in holding up the placards and that the group has always called for freedom and human rights.

The statement condemned the measure to summon the three as ‘shameful’, adding that the 2017 Constitution does not forbid people from holding up placards.

Pakawadee Weerapaspong (left) and Chaipong Samnieng (right) holding up placards reading ‘An academic forum - is not - a military camp’. The man in the middle has not yet been identified (Photo from TANCR)

Prajak Kongkirati, a well-known political scientist from Thammasat University reading the statement which 176 Thai and foreign academics signed at Chiang Mai University on 17 July 2017


*Prachatai apologies for reporting earlier that the three were summoned to report to a military base in Chiang Mai as the location to which they will be summoned is still unknown at press time.

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