News / Asia

    Thai Hunger-Striker Files Charges Against Junta Leader

    Chalad Vorachat, a retired navy lieutenant and serial hunger striker, sits on the steps of the criminal court in Bangkok, June 10, 2014.
    Chalad Vorachat, a retired navy lieutenant and serial hunger striker, sits on the steps of the criminal court in Bangkok, June 10, 2014.
    Reuters
    A Thai political activist who has started a hunger strike in protest against last month's coup filed charges on Tuesday against junta leader Prayuth Chan-ocha and members of the ruling military council for defaming the monarchy and acts of treason.
     
    Chalad Vorachat, a retired navy lieutenant and serial hunger striker, argues in a complaint filed with a Bangkok criminal court that the army intervention based on Thailand's Martial Law Act had a shaky legal basis.
     
    “In order to announce martial law, the country must be at war or there must be a violent conflict. Permission must also be granted by the prime minister and the monarch,” Chalad told reporters outside the court.  “But soldiers pushed ahead with seizing power anyway.”
     
    The court later rejected Chalad's lawsuit, saying he had not personally incurred losses because of the military's action.
     
    Prayuth took power on May 22, saying the army needed to restore order after nearly seven months of political turmoil when protesters occupied areas of Bangkok to try to force out the government of Yingluck Shinawatra and wipe out the influence of her brother, former premier Thaksin Shinawatra.
     
    At least 28 people were killed and more than 700 injured during the months of unrest.
     
    The coup was the latest chapter in a power struggle stretching back almost a decade between the Bangkok-based establishment and supporters of Thaksin, whose stronghold is in the rural north and northeast.
     
    The military rulers scrapped the constitution after the coup and Prayuth has said it will take a year or more before a general election can take place.
     
    Chalad, 71, first went on hunger strike in 1992 against unelected Prime Minister General Suchinda Kraprayoon.
     
    Chalad's action gave momentum to protests which the army eventually put down. Public outage over the violence forced former army commander Suchinda, who had seized power in a 1991 coup, to step down.
     
    This time, based in front of Parliament House, Chalad has been on hunger strike for 19 days, demanding that the constitution be rewritten to make Thailand a truly democratic society.
     
    He also wants to see an elected prime minister in office.
     
    “If there is no prime minister from an election, then let me starve until my life is over,” he said.

    You May Like

    US, Somalia Launch New Chapter in Relations

    US sends first ambassador to Somalia in 25 years; diplomatic presence and forces pulled out in 1993, after 18 US soldiers were killed when militiamen shot down military helicopter

    Brexit Vote Ripples Across South Asia

    Experts say exit is likely to have far-reaching economic, political and social implications for a region with deep historic ties to Britain

    Russian Military Tests Readiness With Snap Inspections

    Some observers see surprise drill as tit-for-tat response to NATO’s recent multinational military exercises in Baltic region

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: James from: Bangkok
    June 11, 2014 2:52 AM
    This protester is in the minority. I am an American and I welcome the coup as the only sane thing to happen to Thailand in years.

    by: Chai putha from: Thailand
    June 10, 2014 10:00 PM
    The man in the picture is one who protests more than 10 issues in the past 30 years. He is no means for Thai people.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Testing Bamboo as Building Materiali
    X
    June 27, 2016 9:06 PM
    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video New York Pride March A Celebration of Life, Mourning of Loss

    At this year’s march in New York marking the end of pride week, a record-breaking crowd of LGBT activists and allies marched down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, in what will be long remembered as a powerful display of solidarity and remembrance for the 49 victims killed two weeks ago in an Orlando gay nightclub.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapides’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora