Rangsiman Rome (third from left), a coordinator of the Democracy Restoration Group, speaks at a briefing on its move to petition the Constitutional Court to scrap the NCPO Order No.3/2558 at Thammasat University on Saturday. (Photo by Chanat Katanyu)
Activists will petition the Constitutional Court to lift one of the junta’s orders on the grounds that it is an outright violation of the constitution.
The Democracy Restoration Group under the New Democracy Movement, Thai Lawyers for Human Rights and representatives of people affected by NCPO Order No.3/2558 announced the move at Thammasat University on Saturday.
The order, issued under the special powers of the head of the National Council for Peace and Order on April 1, 2015, bans freedom of assembly and empowers soldiers to summon any person to testify and to detain people for up to seven days, among others.
The activists said they found the two points very problematic.
“Since the order was issued, several democracy fighters have been detained and prosecuted even after the new constitution, which endorses civil rights and liberties, was proclaimed. We will therefore exercise our right to file a petition with the Constitutional Court,” said Rangsiman Rome, a coordinator of the Democracy Restoration Group.
The petitioners are mainly those affected in five cases. They are: an activity at the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre, a train trip to Rajabhakti Park, a campaign on the constitutional referendum, a democracy event held by Kasetsart University students, and a forum in Chiang Mai where participants declared “an academic forum is not a barracks”.
Mr Rangsiman said the groups would ask the court to decide whether the order and actions taken under it were constitutional. “We’re signing up people affected by the order, a process likely to finish this month or next,” he said.
Sirawich “Ja New” Seritiwat, an activist who was detained at a train station while travelling to Rajabhakti Park to investigate alleged irregularities, said the order had been abused.
“When it took over, the NCPO claimed to maintain order but so far what it has done is gag people with different views, rendering the laws meaningless. The order was selectively enforced against its opponents.
“The petition (to the court) will give the answer to the crucial question: which is the highest law of the country?”