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

This US Epidemic Keeps Getting Worse

One in 4 Americans suffers from this condition More

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends 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.
Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thoughti
X
George Putic
May 26, 2015 9:26 PM
Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.

VOA Blogs