Three years to get a correct decision

It isn’t often that a military court gets anything right. In legal terms, a military court is simply an arm of the junta, doing its bidding. However, a report at Prachatai suggests that it got one decision legally right.

When the military dictatorship was established following the coup in May 2014, it issued orders for dozens of people to “surrender” themselves to the regime.

Most did go to a military jail for a short time. Some were jailed for years. A few went on the run and were hunted down. Others went into exile and some were not able to report, being overseas or in hospital and the like.

Jitra Kotchadej, a trade unionist and well-known activist, was one of those who could not report to the military thugs. She was in Sweden at the time.

When she returned to Thailand, she “was arrested … on 13 June 2014 by  the Thai Immigration officers. The police later requested the military court to remand her in custody, but Jittra was released on bail on the same day.” She was accused of failing to abide by the military junta’s orders.

She was acquitted by the court on 6 July because she had “submitted a letter to the Royal Thai Embassy and the NCPO [the junta], explaining that she would report to the junta on her return to Thailand.”

That acquittal is good news but it took almost three years to get to it. In most normal political systems, she would not have been charged or dragged to the courts, let alone a military court. But Thailand is anything but normal.

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