11 July 2024
MP Rangsiman Rome, of Thailand’s Move Forward Party, is now the subject of an arrest warrant after twice failing to report to police in the past month, in response to officialsummonses. The summonses were issued in relation to a criminal defamation charge, following claims he made during a censure debate in Parliament in 2020 targeting Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan. The embattled MP said that he will meet with the police tomorrow (Friday), while insisting that the arrest warrant is“illegitimate”. Rangsiman also threatened to take legal action against the police for malfeasance and claimed that there is a plot to put him behind bars and remove him from Parliament as a consequence of his controversial censure debate speeches. Rangsiman explained that the first summons was invalid, as it was issued on February 23rd, which was during a parliamentary session. The Constitution protects parliamentarians from being summoned during a session. The second summons required Rangsiman to report to the police on March 11th. Rangsiman said he had written to the police to reschedule due to prior engagement. The police, however, denied the request and subsequently issued the arrest warrant, a move that could potentially cost Rangsiman his MP status. Rangsiman said that, if he were jailed for only one day, his parliamentary position would be lost. The Constitution disqualifies any MP who is sentenced by a court to imprisonment. His speech in 2020 accused Gen Prawit and the Five Provinces Bordering Forest Preservation Foundation of being a network holding the key to vital political deals and government stability. Last month, the Move Forward MP shed light on a former senior policeman, who was in charge of a human trafficking investigation and is now living in a self-imposed exile, duringa parliamentary debate, stirring criticism of the government, the military and the police.