Further updated: Nitirat academic attacked

29 02 2012

Leading Nitirat academic Worachet Pakeerut was set upon, punched and injured by two unidentified men in a parking lot at Thammasat University. The Nation reports that Worachet was talking to a fellow academic from Mahidol University “when two men sneaked from behind to deliver several punches in his face.” He commented: “I was hit and everything happened so suddenly that I could not even remember the profile of my attackers…”.

A Nation photo

Metropolitan Police are said to be investigating but “had not drawn conclusion on the motive behind the attack.” PPT thinks the motive is as clear as day: Worachet was attacked as a royalist warning to him and Nitirat to shut up. The kind of intimidatory tactic is one that has been commonly used in the past, most usually by dark elements within the security forces.

Interestingly, editor of Fa Diaw Kan magazine Thanapol Eawsakul witnessed the attack and saw “two attackers fleeing by a motorcycle.” That motorcycle was also seen by activist Sombat Boonngamanong who “tweeted that the motorcycle license plate was Mo Tho 684.” That should make it somewhat easier for police, assuming that they actually want to track down the aggressors.

This kind of attack is reminiscent of the dark days of authoritarian regimes, usually associated with the military when engaged in regime-maintaining violence, and is very worrying as there have been earlier instances of hate speech targeting Nitirat and Worachet. The nature of this kind of political attack is exemplified in The Nation’s own report, which is misleadingly stated:

Worachet is the core leader of Nitirat academic group spearheading a campaign to amend the lese majeste law. He is seen as a controversial figure due to his outspokenness in opposing the coup. His political views are often favouring the pro-Thaksin [Shinawatra] camp.

In fact, in earlier days, Worachet was a leading anti-Thaksin critic writing chapters in books attacking Thaksin edited by Chirmsak Pinthong. He was also anti-coup in 2006. That he has now suggested discussions of reforms of the draconian and internationally condemned lese majeste law, sees some – and apparently The Nation reporter and editors – as somehow simply “pro-Thaksin.” This kind of loose and/or politicized reporting makes the media culpable in political violence.

Update 1: Readers should look at Prachatai’s stories following this event. The first story refers to the despicable comments of ASTV/Manager readers. In fact, none of this is surprising and is pretty much par for the course. The second story is a statement from Human Rights Lawyers Association, Union for Civil Liberty, Human Rights and Development Foundation, Campaign Committee for Human Rights, Environmental Litigation for the Wants, Cross-Cultural Foundation, Center for Protection and Recovery of Local Community Rights, Community Resources Center deploring the attack. They state that they are “gravely concerned that the reason behind the attack could stem from the lecturer’s taking the lead as a core member of the Nitirat Group.” They add that the incident will “spur a climate of fear in society.” Of course, that is exactly what the attack is meant to do. The groups condemn the attack.

Update 2: Both the Bangkok Post and The Nation report that the two men who attacked Worachet have surrendered to the police. The “twin brothers told investigators that they are members of the anti-Nitirat group that opposes any move to amend Section 112 of the Criminal Code, the lese majeste law.” Meanwhile, in the Bangkok Post it is reported that: “Members of the Nitirat law group at Thammasat University say they will continue with their activities to disseminate their opinions, in the spirit of academic principle, despite the attack…”. The Thammasat University rector “condemned the attackers…”.


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11 responses

18 08 2012
Taking aim at Nitirat « Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] change and amending the lese majeste law, have good reason to be suspicious following the attack on Worachet in February by thugs who happen to be weapons “enthusiasts” and have been photographed […]

18 08 2012
Taking aim at Nitirat « Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] change and amending the lese majeste law, have good reason to be suspicious following the attack on Worachet in February by thugs who happen to be weapons “enthusiasts” and have been photographed as […]

29 01 2013
“Reforming” lese majeste « Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] who do wish to abolish the law. Others, for reasons of political limitations, powerful threats and extant fears of attack, demand thoroughgoing reform rather than going the extra […]

29 01 2013
“Reforming” lese majeste to save the regime « Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] who do wish to abolish the law. Others, for reasons of political limitations, powerful threats and extant fears of attack, demand thoroughgoing reform rather than going the extra […]

9 10 2014
Rewarding the anti-democrats II | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] and Kaewsan Atibhodhi when they cheered two thugs who had beaten up Nitirat’s Worachet Pakeerut. Worachet had once written in books edited by Chirmsak, criticizing Thaksin, but that counted for nothing when Chirmsak went after him as a political […]

9 05 2017
Unleashing barbarism | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] This followed an attack by two thugs on a motorcycle on Worachet, who was beaten up. Prayuth had led a coterie of right-wingers and royalists in criticizing and chastising Nitirat and Worachet for proposing changes to the lese majeste law. […]

9 05 2017
Unleashing barbarism | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] This followed an attack by two thugs on a motorcycle on Worachet, who was beaten up. Prayuth had led a coterie of right-wingers and royalists in criticizing and chastising Nitirat and Worachet for proposing changes to the lese majeste law. […]

23 08 2018
Thugs protecting thugs | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] junta’s rigged election, it seems like Gen Prawit is so pissed that it has caused some to use trusted and tried measures that use threats and actual violence to silence […]

23 08 2018
Thugs protecting thugs | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] junta’s rigged election, it seems like Gen Prawit is so pissed that it has caused some to use trusted and tried measures that use threats and actual violence to silence […]

1 03 2019
Loyalism and royalism | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] This royalist logic, fomented by Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha when he was Army chief, alleges that wanting any changes to Article 112 is an attach on the monarchy itself. Warped royalism soon leads to violent royalism. […]

1 03 2019
Loyalism and royalism | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] This royalist logic, fomented by Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha when he was Army chief, alleges that wanting any changes to Article 112 is an attach on the monarchy itself. Warped royalism soon leads to violent royalism. […]