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

African States Push to Keep Boko Haram Offline

Central African telecoms ministers working with Nigeria to block all videos posted by Boko Haram in effort to blunt Nigerian militant group's propaganda More

Falling Oil Prices, Internet-Savvy Youth Pose Challenge for Gulf Monarchies

Across the Gulf, younger generations are putting a strain on traditional politics More

Philippines Call Center Workers Face Challenges

Country has world’s largest business process outsourcing, or BPO, industry, employing some one-million workers More

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.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More