25 May 2024

Thailand’s Constitutional Court has dismissed a complaint, by 61 Palang Pracharat MPs, demanding six opposition MPs be stripped of their parliamentary status for their participation in a panel discussion on unrest in the South and the Constitution and their subsequent filing of criminal charges against the Fourth Army Region commander.

The six opposition MPs named by the Palang Pracharat MPs are Pheu Thai party leader Sompong Amornvivat, Prachachart party leader Wan Mohamad Noor Matha, Future Forward leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, Pheu Chart list MP Songkram Kitertpairote, Palang Puangchon Thai MP Nikhoom Boonviset and Future Forward secretary-general Piyabutr Saengkanokkul.

They were accused of failing to protest when one of the panellists, Mrs. Chalita Bundhuwong of Kasetsart University, proposed that Section 1 of the Constitution should be amended.

Section 1 specifies that Thailand is an indivisible sovereign state.

After the panel discussion, held in Pattani on September 29th, criminal charges were filed against all the MPs, except Mr Piyabutr, by Maj-Gen Burin Thongprapai, director of the Army Judge Advocate General’s Department.

Piyabutr held a news conference about the charges, saying that Maj-Gen Burin would be summoned by his House committee for an explanation.

The Constitutional Court ruled that the filing of criminal charges, against Maj-Gen Burin and the Fourth Army Region commander Lt-Gen Pornsak Poonsawat, was the normal exercise of their rights and Piyabutr merely held a news conference in line with the performance of his duty.

The court, therefore, decided to dismiss the complaint by the Palang Pracharat MPs.