Chasing red shirts internationally

23 09 2014

Pavin Chachavalpongpun, himself in trouble with the military dictatorship in Bangkok, has an important op-ed at The Japan Times. In it, he points to the actions of the military junta hunting political opponents inside Cambodia.

As is well known, there are many opponents of the royalist junta who have gone into hiding outside the country.

Pavin refers to the case of Ekaphop Luera (or Tang Acheewa), accused of lese majeste prior to the military coup, but who fled to Cambodia.

Ekaphop has now had to leave Sihanoukville for an undisclosed location. He says he “knew he had to run to avoid being captured by agents of the Thai military.”

Ekaphop is being tracked and hunted by the military junta even while “under the protection of the Cambodian office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).”

Pavin worries that this “protection” does not “necessarily guarantee his safety, particularly after the recent rapprochement between Thailand and Cambodia.” This naturally raises concerns about others who have fled Thailand.

Ekaphop states that:

the Thai military sent officers to monitor his movement in Cambodia, even to rent a room next door while he was hiding in Sihanoukville. Earlier the Thai Army arrested a Cambodian friend of Ekapop who crossed the border into Thailand to conduct business. He was interrogated and forced to disclose the whereabouts of Ekapop. Now the Thai Army has received a “green light” from the Cambodian authorities to abduct Ekapop and take him home, even if it infringes Cambodian sovereignty.

And, Pavin adds, Ekaphop is “not the only target.” He says “[o]ther fugitives have complained about similar harassment from the Thai military with the consent of the Cambodian government.” He says: “[t]heir lives are in danger.”

The junta came into existence as an illegal regime. Today it continues to operate outside the law, domestic and international.


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