The Palang Pracharat party has questioned the authority of Future Forward secretary-general Piyabutr Saengkanokkul, in his capacity as chairman of the House Committee on Laws, Justice and Human Rights, over his move to summon a senior officer of the southern Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC) for questioning after the officer accused 12 politicians and academics of committing sedition.

Palang Pracharat deputy spokesperson Ms. Thipanan Sirichana said today (Monday) that Piyabutr's move to question Maj-Gen Burin Thongprapai, a legal expert of the southern ISOC, could be considered an abuse of authority to prevent the army officer from resorting to the courts.

The 12, who include Future Forward party leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, were accused of inciting public unrest, in violation of Section 116 of the Criminal Code, for controversial comments made during a public forum held in Pattani province on September 28.

The public may doubt the transparency and impartiality of the House committee, said Ms. Thipanan, who suggested that Piyabutr should let another committee or agency, with no vested interest, deal with the matter.

Asked whether there was any connection between Maj-Gen Burin's accusation against the 12 and the self-inflicted gunshot wound by the chief judge of Yala provincial court, Mr. Khanakorn Pianchana, the deputy spokesperson, said that some people raised the prospect of a possible link between the two in an attempt to discredit the justice system.

She insisted that the party supports an investigation into the judge's self-wounding before people jump to the belief in everything claimed by the judge, especially the meddling in his case by a senior judge as claimed in his written statement, reportedly sent to Mr. Piyabutr before he shot himself last week. She urged Piyabutr to stop using the judge's purported statement in a way which can be seen as attempting to discredit the judiciary.

Pheu Thai deputy spokeswoman, Sunisa Thivakorndamrong, said that all parties concerned should take part in overhauling the justice system to make it truly independent and free from interference.

Spokesman for the southern forward command of ISOC, Maj-Gen Thanathip Sawangsaeng, today stressed the need for the authorities to lodge a complaint with the local police against the 12 politicians and academics who took part in the public forum.

Failing to take legal action against the 12 will subject the authorities concerned to possible punishment under Section 157 of the Criminal Code for failing to perform their duty, said the general adding, however, that the court will be the final arbiter.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)

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