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Thai election: Former PM Thaksin alleges ‘irregularities’

In an interview with BBC Thai, former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra alleges there were “a lot of irregularities” in Sunday’s election in Thailand which have left him worried.

The Pheu Thai party, linked to Mr Shinawatra, is one of two frontrunners to form the next government – the other is the military-linked Palang Pracha Rath Party.

Official results of the election, the first since a 2014 coup, are due in May.

Ex-Junta Leader, PM Prayuth Denies Role in Attack on Monarchy Critic in Japan

Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said on Monday the government was not involved in an assault on a dissident exiled in Japan last month.

Gen. Prayuth said he sympathized with monarchy critic Pavin Chachavalpongpun, who says a masked man broke into his home and sprayed him with unknown chemicals on July 8. The General added that he was not behind the incident.

“I sympathize with him, but he was assaulted in Japan,” Gen. Prayuth said at a news conference. “If you are accusing the government of sending someone to do it, who would dare do that? The government didn’t do it, and we would never do so.”

 

Continue reading Khaosod English: Prayuth Denies Role in Attack on Monarchy Critic in Japan

European Union seems to have forgiven Thai military ruler

However one wants to describe Thailand’s general election in March (the terms “bizarre” and “shambles” come to mind), “democratic” isn’t an adjective close at hand. Attempts by the largest political party, a pro-democracy group, to form a coalition government were rebuffed, while the leader of the military junta that came to power in a coup in 2014, and who didn’t even stand as a member of parliament in the ballot, was voted in as prime minister largely thanks to the support of a Senate that is appointed by the armed forces.

Yet the election was an important step in “restoring pluralism and democratic governance in Thailand,” reckoned Federica Mogherini, the European Union’s foreign-affairs chief, as she prepared to attend summits in Bangkok last week. Such an opinion, while not necessarily reflecting how many Thais perceive what happened, is useful as the EU wants to reopen talks about a bilateral free-trade agreement (FTA) that were suspended in 2014, just a year after they began, because of the military coup.

 

Continue reading: Asia Times | EU seems to have forgiven Thai military ruler | Opinion

Thai regime seeks more than 10 suspects for series of explosions in Bangkok

Thai security forces are hunting more than 10 suspects in connection with a series of bomb attacks in Bangkok last week, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said on Monday.

Six bombs exploded in the Thai capital on Friday as the city’s hosted a meeting of Southeast Asian foreign ministers, that was also attended by top diplomats from the United States, China, and other world powers.

Authorities now say that six other fire-bombs also went off on Friday in central Bangkok, including two that caused fires a in shopping malls in a central shopping district popular with tourists.

On Saturday, three more bombs also went off at three ATM machines in southern Pattani province on Saturday, no one was hurt or claimed responsibility for the attack.

 

Continue reading Reuters

Thailand’s Failure to Protect Rights: Mothers of Bombing Suspects Barred From Visits

The families of two men detained for alleged connections to a series of bomb attacks in Bangkok last week said Monday they have been barred from visiting the pair.

Narathiwat natives Wildan Maha and Luai Sae-ngae have been held by police in Yala province since their arrest on Friday early morning. Their families say police never contacted them about the arrests, and they only found out about the whereabouts of the two detained men from media reports. They have expressed worries about the safety of Wildan and Luai.

“I’d like to ask the officials to take care of my son and his friend,” Luai’s mother told reporters today. “I want him to have fair proceedings. Whether he’s right or wrong, let the law have the final say. That is all I ask for.”

 

Continue reading Khaosod English: Mothers of Bombing Suspects Barred From Visits

Former Thai coup leader claims oath-taking issue is over

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Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said today (Monday) that the cabinet’s swearing-in issue was over because his recital of the oath had included the full text of the oath and was in line with the Constitution.

His remark was in response to the Opposition’s demand that he clarify the issue in parliament and admit that he did not recite the full oath, otherwise the Opposition would seek a vote of no confidence in his government.

Asked about the threat of a censure debate, the Prime Minister appeared unperturbed, saying that he has a lot of other things to worry about, adding that the most important aspect of the oath was the government’s commitment to work for the good of the people and the country as expressed by His Majesty the King in his address to his cabinet.

 

Continue reading: Thai PBS

The End of Thailand’s Disgraceful Human Rights Commission?

The resignation of two prominent human rights advocates from the National Human Rights Commission of Thailand (NHRCT) is an alarm bell signaling the need for a total revamp of the flawed and scandal-ridden agency.

Commissioners Angkhana Neelapaijit and Tuenjai Deetes announced their resignations on Tuesday, stating they could no longer perform their duties independently and effectively due to restrictive regulations and a hostile and unsupportive office environment. Two other commissioners had resigned earlier. The seven-member commission now cannot function, unable to muster a quorum.

Once a model for human rights commissions throughout Southeast Asia, the Thai commission’s international ranking was downgraded in 2015 by the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions and the United Nations Human Rights Council because of the government’s manipulation of the selection process for commissioners to ensure a pro-government political bias. The situation went from bad to worse as a result of the 2017 NHRCT Act, which further stripped away the agency’s independence and transformed it into a de facto government mouthpiece, contrary to the United Nations Principles relating to the Status of National Institutions (the Paris Principles).

Angkhana and Tuanjai tried to defy such restrictive regulations but faced administrative reprisals. In May 2019, the commission’s chairperson targeted Angkhana with a disciplinary inquiry and threatened to impeach her for observing legal proceedings and documenting human rights violations against opposition politicians and critics of the government. On Friday, Angkhana was awarded the Ramon Magsaysay Award, known as “Asia’s Nobel Prize,” for “championing justice, case after painful case.”

 

Continue reading Human Rights Watch: The End of Thailand’s Human Rights Commission?