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Group tells EU council of rights violations

Meeting in Paris reported on Facebook; new anti-coup group backs 'Free Thais'

An anti-coup group led by politicians from the ousted government has met with officials of the European Union's Human Rights Council to complain about alleged human rights violations in Thailand, according to a group leader.

The recently-formed Free Thais for Human Rights and Democracy (FT-HD) reported on its Facebook post yesterday that Jaran Ditapichai, the group's European coordinator, led other representatives to meet with unnamed officials of the EU Human Rights Council in Paris on Thursday afternoon.

The group also presented a report on the current human rights situation in Thailand and requested advice from the EU officials, according to the FT-HD's post.

The report did not identify any of the European officials the FT-HD claimed its representatives had met.

There was no reaction from the ruling National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) yesterday.

Jaran said the EU officials, who deal with the Human Rights Council foreign affairs, had asked the FT-HD representatives whether the NCPO would "return democracy to the Thai people soon" and his answer was that he did not think it would happen in the near future.

He told the Europeans that he believed the ruling junta would do so after it was sure that it could prevent the Pheu Thai Party and politicians loyal to former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra from returning to power.

The FT-HD was formed recently by former Pheu Thai leader Charupong Ruangsuwan and former politician Jakrapob Penkair, who are both close to Thaksin.

The group will also be meeting the French envoy on human rights on July 10, according to the FT-HD's Jaran.

Meanwhile, a new group that calls itself the Front for the Free Thai Movement against Dictatorship has become active on Facebook. Its post said that it would join the fight to "have democracy back as soon as possible".

The new group expressed support to the FT-HD and claimed to be independent.

In a related development, the Foreign Ministry has revoked the passports of fugitive red-shirt leader Wutthipong Kachathamkhun, alias Koti, and red-shirt academic Somsak Chiamthirasakul.

Foreign Ministry spokesman, Sek Wannamethee yesterday confirmed previous reports that the two men's passports had been revoked on the grounds that they were now wanted under arrest warrants over lese majeste charges.

The ministry had also revoked a passport of red-shirt labour activist Janya Yimprasert on the same grounds, he said.


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