Future Forward's Piyabutr to hear charges Wednesday

Foreign embassies to send observers

Future Forward Party secretary-general Piyabutr Saengkanokkul will acknowledge the computer crimes and contempt of court charges brought against him on Wednesday. (Photo by Somchai Poomlard)

Future Forward Party (FFP) secretary-general Piyabutr Saengkanokkul says he will acknowledge the computer crimes and contempt of court charges brought against him, in relation to a video clip of him reading a party statement on the Constitutional Court's decision to dissolve the Thai Raksa Chart Party in early March.

Mr Piyabutr wrote on his Facebook page that he had been on holiday with his wife abroad, and that on Wednesday he would go to hear the charges filed against him at the Technology Crime Suppression Division (TCSD) headquarters, located in the Government Complex on Chaeng Wattana Road.

FFP spokeswoman Pannika Wanich also confirmed that Mr Piyabutr is due to return to Thailand on Tuesday, and that he is planning to hear the charges on Wednesday.

She said representatives from several foreign embassies have asked to observe the procedure, they did when FFP leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit reported to Pathumwan police station on April 6. The foreign Affairs Ministry later criticised the embassies for doing so.

Col Burin Thongprapai, a legal officer for the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), filed a complaint against Mr Piyabutr for contempt of court and importing information that may undermine national security or public order into a computer system, which is a violation of the Computer Crimes Act.

Earlier on April 3, Mr Piyabutr wrote on Facebook he had been summoned by the police as a witness to give a statement about a case brought against the party's webmaster, who was accused by the NCPO on March 7 of breaking the Computer Crimes Act for posting a clip that shows Mr Piyabutr reading a statement on the disbandment of the Thai Raksa Chart Party.

"Since I could not see the police on that day, I asked to delay the meeting, but instead I found out that now I have been asked to report as a suspect, not a witness," Mr Piyabutr wrote.

The statement read by Mr Piyabutr said that efforts have been made over the past 13 years to use the law as a political tool, raising questions about the independence of government bodies as well as the use of the Constitutional Court for political gain, which often leads to further clashes between conflicting parties.

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