By Thorn Pitidol,
Thailand’s Matichon Online reported this extraordinary story about what may happen during the time of emergency decree. The topic of the story reads: “A 16-year-old student who held a banner that said ‘I saw dead people at Ratchaprasong’ got sent to a youth detention center.”
In Chiang Rai province, three students were issued arrest warrants for violating the emergency decree. Two of them are university students aged 24 and 23. One of them is still a 16-year-old student studying at a school level. The arrest warrants came as a result of their participation in a protest campaign against the government. Together in a group of five students, they were holding banners in Chiang Rai’s public locations conveying messages such as; “I saw dead people at Ratchaprasong”; “To our PM, please keep the emergency decree, otherwise the government would fall”; and “The emergency decree is needed to cover-up truth. A police officer dealing with this case stated that this group of students had contacted each other through Facebook.”
The 16 year-old student just went to report himself to a youth detention center, and was told to report himself there again on July 30.
His mother told Matichon about what happened to her son. She said that, on July 16, the day her son participated in the protest, a teacher at her son’s school told her to bring her son to meet him/her at the school. However, the teacher told her that her son did not do anything wrong; but just did something inappropriate by wearing his school uniform during the protest. However, around 5pm on the same day, when she were already back home with her son, the police called her to ask for her husband’s number and shortly after a group of three plain-clothes policemen went into her house to ask her and her son about the protest.
Her son told the police that he joined the protest together with friends he knew from Facebook. The policemen then checked his laptop, and subsequently asked her and her son to go a police station. She refused to go, arguing that it was already very late in the night. She told the policemen that she will bring her son to the police station when they have a summons. The three policemen then left the house.
However, not long after the three policemen left another police officer called her and came to her house with one woman. The woman then checked her son’s laptop again and said; “Her son sent the information to friends on Facebook after the police came to the house”. Again, she (the mother) asked that police officer to leave, telling them that it was already very late.
Two days later, on July 18, the police called her again, telling her that they will come to her house at 7pm. She responded by saying that she and her son will not be at home during that time. She and her son then stayed away from home until very late. In the morning of the July 19 the police called her and told her to open the house’s gate since the police already had summons and a search warrant. The police then went into her house. They took photos of her son’s bedroom and took away his laptop. The police informed her that she had to bring her son to the police station on a following day (July 20).
On July 20 she took her son to the police station. The police sent her son to an attorney’s office for investigation. Her son had to meet with an attorney, a psychologist, a lawyer, the police and a human-rights activist. She said her son must be under a huge pressure but her son had just answered questions based on a true story that he only went to hold the banners with senior friends that he knew through Facebook, and subsequently they just separated and went home. The police then told her that they would take her son to a detention center on July 21. She was shocked but hoped things would not be too serious. In the morning of July 21, the police told her to take her son to a detention center by herself. After they arrived at a detention center her son had to meet the detention officers, signing papers. Then he was allowed to go home. He is required to report himself at a detention center again on July 30. In addition, the mother was told to take her son to do a medical check.
She (the mother) said she still does not know what will happen on July 30. If her son is detained, she will try to bail him out. She said she really feels sorry for her son. Her son had to come to sleep in her room since the incident, and they have not been able to sleep well at all. Her son kept on waking up at night frightened. She and her husband have been in a trauma.
The 16-year-old student was also interviewed by Matichon. He said now he has to go wherever his is summoned. He, however, still thinks what he did was not wrong since he only expressed his opinion. Moreover, the banner he held, which said “I saw dead people at Ratchaprasong”, only expresses fact. That cannot be wrong since people actually died there.
TP: If the message like “I saw dead people at Ratchaprasong” is considered a threat to security, then that really signifies whose security this emergency is protecting.