Thread: I'm extremely concerned about Francis Bunkueanun Paothong, an International Relations student in our faculty at Mahidol University International College (MUIC) /1 #Saveบุญเกื้อหนุน
Police have opened a case against him and another well-known activist, Ekachai Hongkangwan, using Section 110, which states that "whoever commits an act of violence against the liberty of the queen shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or of 16 to 20 years" /2
This case is highly unusual. Legal experts believe it is the first time this section has been used since the reign of Rama 8. /3
The charges are related to an incident on the 14th of October, when protesters shouted protest slogans and flashed the three-finger salute at a motorcade carrying the Queen Suthida and Prince Dipangkorn. /4 #Saveบุญเกื้อหนุน…
Video footage shows that Francis and the other protesters did not act in a way that could reasonably be construed as threatening, and the royal motorcade was able to pass through the crowd unhindered. /5
If the unfortunate incident is anyone’s fault, it is the fault of the police for failing to provide adequate security for the royal motorcade. The fact that they did not has led to chatter and conspiracy theories on social media. /6 #Saveบุญเกื้อหนุน
Francis turned himself in to the police this morning and is currently at Region 1 Border Police Bureau with his lawyer, family and some friends. /7 #Saveบุญเกื้อหนุน
Francis is an intelligent young man with a promising future and was only exercising his right to protest, which is protected by both the Thai constitution and international norms. /8 #Saveบุญเกื้อหนุน
He is an active student at MUIC, and a valued member of the MUIC Model United Nations Club. Earlier this year, he won an award for his participation in the World Health Organization (WHO) Simulation on the topic of “Protecting Refugee and Migrant’s Health during COVID-19.”
Francis is passionate about politics and activism but is level-headed. He recently published an opinion piece in Southeast Asia Globe, where he argued that the Thai student movement should embrace a policy of slow and incremental change. /10…
I urge all human rights groups, media and other interested parties to follow this quite unprecedented case closely, to ensure that Francis’ own liberty is not violated. This charge should never have been made and the case should be dropped immediately. /end

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