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Military Junta

Chaturon not to appear today for court martial process

File photo : Jaturon is arrested on Tuesday.

File photo : Jaturon is arrested on Tuesday.

Former Education Minister Chaturon Chaisang will be the first civilian to face a court martial for allegedly defying the military junta's order to report to them. If found guilty, he will face two years in jail and/or a fine of Bt40,000.

The National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) set up after the military power seizure last week has empowered the court martial process to try civilians on cases relating to the lese majeste laws as well as security-related offences.

The NCPO had summoned Chaturon to report to them last week but he refused to comply with it. He was arrested on Tuesday after emerging from hiding to speak at a press conference at Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand.

Colonel Kittiyuth Kittiyuttayotin of the Judge Advocate General Department said today that officers holding Chaturon's case could not bring the former Education Minister to the court today. This is thought to be due to the arrest being made late Tuesday afternoon thus limiting the preparation time for the required documents.

Martial law stipulates that a suspect must stand trial within seven days, he added.

Vice Admiral Krissada Charoenpanich, chief the Military Judicial Office meanwhile said Chaturon is entitled to a lawyer like in normal criminal cases.

If he pleads guilty, there would be no testimony from witnesses and the judge could deliver the ruling.

If not, the prosecution process which would take some time, he said, but the case will be completed as soon as possible.

During the trial, the court can detain Chaturon a total of 84 days.


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