Monday, April 08, 2019

Thailand's dictatorship strikes back

Last month, Thai voters gave the finger to the country's military dictatorship, electing - against all odds - a majority opposition coalition to throw out the junta. But now the military has struck back, charging a major opposition leader with (of course) "sedition":

The leader of a new party that has challenged Thailand’s military government has been charged on Saturday with sedition, the latest legal action facing the rising star after a disputed March election.

The sedition charge, which was filed by the junta, was the second criminal case opened against Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, 40, since he formed the progressive, youth-oriented Future Forward party last year.

The 2015 case resurfaced after the Future Forward party made a surprisingly strong showing in the 24 March election, coming in third with 6.2m votes.


Police told Reuters the complaint dated back to 2015 when Thanathorn, who was running his family’s car parts empire at the time, allegedly “provided assistance” to a leader of protesters against the 2014 military coup who violated a junta ban on gatherings of more than five people.

I don't think you'll find a better example of how sedition laws are a political weapon used by establishments to keep themselves in power. Which is precisely why anyone who values democracy should support getting rid of them. Fortunately we've already done that in New Zealand.