A politically contorted judgement

25 02 2020

Criticizing the Constitutional Court can easily lead to prison as the court is protected by laws that prevent even reasonable criticism. In this context, the Bangkok Post story on a “group of 36 law lecturers at Thammasat University … issu[ing] a statement voicing disagreement with the Constitutional Court’s decision to disband the Future Forward Party (FFP) over a campaign loan” caught our collective attention.

From Ji Ungpakorn’s blog

The lecturers disputed several aspects of the Court’s judgement. Most significantly, they contended that “a political party does not meet three legal criteria that constitute a public organisation and should thus be legally defined as a juristic entity. As a juristic entity, a political party can lawfully obtain a loan.”

They also disputed the Court’s view that “the loan’s low interest rate and late-repayment fee” were an “unusual” business practice. The lecturers pointed out that “a lender and borrower were free to agree on the rate.”

That point mirrors Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha’s defense of his father’s big land deal in 2014: “Prayut said the company has the right to buy his father’s land at whatever price they see fit.”

The lecturers contend that the loan “did not qualify as a ‘donation or other benefits’ as the court ruled…”.

They also observed that “Section 72, which was used to disband the FFP, did not apply in this case since it deals with money acquired from illegitimate sources or suspected illegitimate sources such as the drug trade or criminal activities.”

They make excellent points, but the Court and regime will remain confident that their double standards and politically contorted judgement cannot be reversed.



One response

5 03 2020
Students rising, EC responds | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] Court’s politicized judgement opened the way for the junta’s Electoral Commission to lay criminal charges against the […]

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