24 July 2024

Move Forward party-list MP Rangsiman Rome reported to the Bang Khun Non police this morning (Friday), to acknowledge a criminal defamation charge filed against him in connection with claims he made about Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan and the Five Provinces Bordering Forest Preservation Foundation in 2020.

In his speech in 2020 he had accused Gen Prawit Wongsuwan, a deputy prime minister, and the Five Provinces Bordering Forest Preservation Foundation of being a network holding the key to vital political deals and government stability.

Rangsiman, who is also deputy secretary-general of Thailand’s Move Forward party, told the media at the police station that he had assigned his lawyer, Krisadang Nutcharat from the Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR), to explain to the police why he had failed to respond to the police summonses on two previous occasions.

He reiterated today that the police attempt to have him arrested and detained was part of an effort to have him disqualified and stripped of his parliamentary status.

After acknowledging the charge, Krisadang said that the next step is the submission of the case to the public prosecutors and that he has already arranged surety to apply for bail for the embattled MP.

Rangsiman was also accompanied to the police station by Move Forward Party Leader Pita Limjaroenrat and a few other party MPs.

At a parliamentary debate last month, the MP, who was an political activist before joining the now-defunct Future Forward Party and then the Move Forward Party, shed light on the human trafficking scandal involving Rohingya refugees from Myanmar about six years ago.

The news that Rangsiman had been charged with defamation pushed #SaveRome into the top-trending hashtags on Thai Twitter today. Many Twitter users expressed support for the MP, while others also criticised an “undemocratic society” where people are punished just for speaking the truth.