— Red Shirt Legal Counsel Robert Amsterdam Calls for International Action in Response to Illegal Military Coup
LONDON, May 23, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Following the declaration of an illegal military coup by the Royal Army of Thailand on Thursday, legal counsel representing the pro-government Red Shirt movement has demanded evidence that activists who had been arrested were safe and not subject to torture or inhumane prison conditions.
“We demand immediate proof from the current junta that Red Shirt leaders and others who were detained remain safe and unharmed,” said Robert Amsterdam, who serves as legal counsel to the Red Shirts, warning that violations of human rights by the coup leaders would be held accountable.
Following the formal declaration of the military coup, which comes only days after the Thai Army announced martial law, soldiers have moved swiftly to detain both Red Shirt activists as well as government officials. Currently there are reports that so far the Army has detained Red Shirt activists Jatuporn Prompan, Nattawut Saikua, Thida Thavornseth, Weerakarn Satitniramai, Weerakarn Musikapong, Korkaew Pikulthong, and Weng Tojirakarn (unconfirmed).
The Army is also reported to have arrested the Minister of Justice Chaikasem Nitisir, Warathep Ratanakorn (Prime Minister’s Office), Deputy Minister of Education Sermsak Pongpanich, Minister of Transportation Chatchart Sithipan, and Deputy Minister of Finance Tanusak Lekuthai. Members of the Pheu Thai party have also been illegally detained by the coup leaders, including Pol. Lt. Gen. Wiroj Pao-in, Poomtham Wejchayachai, Choosak Sirinuin, Wan Mohamad Noor Matha, and Prompong Nopparit.
Amsterdam emphasizes that the Army has no legal authority to govern and has acted in violation of both local and international law.
“Make no mistake, this is an illegitimate military coup that must be penalized with the full strength of sanctions and diplomatic measures to ensure the safety and security of the Thai people,” said Amsterdam. “Given the Thai Army’s human rights record, we are extremely concerned for the safety of the political prisoners, and we urge the international community to remain on high alert.”
Robert Amsterdam serves as international counsel to the United National Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) of Thailand. More information can be read at http://robertamsterdam.com/thailand.