New Thai party leaders report to police over online charge

The leader of the new political party named, Future Forward Party, Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit arrives at the Technology Crime Suppression Division to hear police charges in Bangkok, Thailand, Monday, Sept. 17, 2018. Thanathorn and two other senior party members were charged by police in August for allegedly violating a section of the law that makes it a crime to send false information or information that damages the country's stability carrying a maximum five-year prison sentence. Police had acted on a complaint filed by the ruling junta. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
The leader of the new political party named Future Forward party, Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit arrives at the Technology Crime Suppression Division to hear police charges in Bangkok, Thailand, Monday, Sept. 17, 2018. Thanathorn and two other senior party members were charged by police in August for allegedly violating a section of the law that makes it a crime to send false information or information that damages the country's stability carrying a maximum five-year prison sentence. Police had acted on a complaint filed by the ruling junta. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
The leader of the political party named Future Forward Party, Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit arrives at the Technology Crime Suppression Division to hear police charges in Bangkok, Thailand, Monday, Sept. 17, 2018. Thanathorn and two other senior party members were charged by police in August for allegedly violating a section of the law that makes it a crime to send false information or information that damages the country's stability carrying a maximum five-year prison sentence. Police had acted on a complaint filed by the ruling junta. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
The leader of the political party named Future Forward Party, Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit arrives at the Technology Crime Suppression Division to hear police charges in Bangkok, Thailand, Monday, Sept. 17, 2018. Thanathorn and two other senior party members were charged by police in August for allegedly violating a section of the law that makes it a crime to send false information or information that damages the country's stability carrying a maximum five-year prison sentence. Police had acted on a complaint filed by the ruling junta. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
The leader of the new political party named the Future Forward Party, Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit arrives at the Technology Crime Suppression Division to hear police charges in Bangkok, Thailand, Monday, Sept. 17, 2018. Thanathorn and two other senior party members were charged by police in August for allegedly violating a section of the law that makes it a crime to send false information or information that damages the country's stability carrying a maximum five-year prison sentence. Police had acted on a complaint filed by the ruling junta. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

BANGKOK — Leaders of a new Thai political party that strongly opposes military rule appeared before police Monday to hear charges over a Facebook video broadcast that authorities allege violated the law.

Future Forward party leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit said he and the two other party members asked to submit written statements to police in 45 days and refused to provide statements because it was the first time they had seen details of the charge.

Acting on a complaint filed by the ruling junta, police in August charged the three with violating a section of the law that makes it a crime to spread false information or information that damages the country's stability online. They face a maximum five-year prison sentence if convicted.

The charge involves a June 29 Facebook live video posted on the pages of Thanathorn and the party. Thanathorn said in the video he criticized the ruling junta for recruiting veteran politicians to join political parties that support it.

The Thai junta has kept a tight lid on dissent since it seized power from an elected government in a 2014 coup, repeatedly detaining critics and delaying promised elections. It most recently said elections would be held next year.

Critics accuse the junta of rigging the electoral system so that it can maintain control of the country even after the election.

Thanathorn said he views the police charge as intimidation by the ruling junta to silence its opponents and limit free speech. He said he will not stop being critical of the junta.

"We can't stop ourselves from righteously expressing our opinions. If we do that it would mean that we're afraid," Thanathorn said after he met with officers of the Technology Crime Suppression Division. "And if we're afraid, the junta wins."

The junta has eased some restrictions on political activities to allow parties to conduct basic functions ahead of planned elections but they are still barred from campaigning.

The Future Forward party is a new grouping featuring young politicians

Must Read

Thailand hands out prenatal vitamins for Valentine's Day

Feb 14, 2017

Just in time for Valentine's Day, the Thai government is handing out pills it calls "very magical...

Thai gov't panel approves coal plant in popular tourist area

Feb 17, 2017

Thailand's prime minister says a government committee has approved construction of an 800-megawatt...

Amy Yang wins LPGA Thailand by five strokes

Feb 26, 2017

Amy Yang rarely wavered with a big lead during the final round of the Thailand LPGA tournament,...

Thai customs seizes 21 rhino horns worth $5 million

Mar 14, 2017

Thai authorities say they have seized 21 unusually large rhinoceros horns worth almost $5 million...

Thai elephant hospital, short of money, at risk of closing

Mar 17, 2017

What is believed to be the world's first elephant hospital says it may have to close because of...

About Us

Thailand Tribunal is the country’s next generation of digital news portal, bringing you non-stop news on the happenings in the country and all over the world.

Contact us: sales[at]thailandtribunal.com