Scholars demand freedom from NCPO harassment

Scholars demand freedom from NCPO harassment
WRITER: POST REPORTERS

A coalition of university lecturers yesterday called on the government to end its "suppression of academic freedom and independence" or face an intensified campaign.

Led by Anusorn Unno, dean of the faculty of sociology and anthropology at Thammasat Univerity, the network of lecturers made its demand in a petition submitted to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, also chief of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO).

The petition was signed by 323 lecturers in Thailand and abroad and was accepted by Suksawat Suwannawong, chief coordinator of the Government House public service centre.

The move followed a recent police summons of two academics in Chiang Mai to hear charges of violating the NCPO ban on holding political rallies involving more than five people.

Chiang Mai University history professor Attachak Sattayanurak and law associate professor Somchai Preechasilapakul, among other academics, on Oct 31 held a press briefing titled "A university is not a military camp" in response to Gen Prayut's remarks, which blamed university lecturers for instigating dissident thoughts against the NCPO among students.

In an interview, Mr Anusorn said the coalition was demanding Gen Prayut end what they called harassment of lecturers and students who express political opinions in good faith. They also want the ban on holding political activities lifted and a guarantee of academic independence.

He said the group would take its campaign to the next level if the government fails to listen. The network will be keeping an eye on how the police handle case against the two Chiang Mai academics when they report to officers today, he added.

The academic said a criminal charge punishable by a jail sentence against the lecturers who offer political views different from those of the junta is a violation of rights and civil liberties and an act of intimidation.

He also dismissed criticism the academics were politically driven, saying their opinions are based on genuine concerns for the country.

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เนื้อหาข่าวที่รวบรวมในเว็บไซต์นี้ เป็นการรวบรวมเพื่อการศึกษาวิจัยเท่านั้น อันเป็นประโยชน์ต่อสาธารณะ มิได้นำไปเพื่อการค้าแต่อย่างใด

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