Thammasat ‘Nitirat’ academic assaulted

BANGKOK, Feb 29 - Law lecturer and leading campaigner of the "Nitirat" group Vorajate Pakeerat said Wednesday that the motive of the two attackers who physically assaulted him might stem from Nitirat's move to seek amendment of Section 112 of the Constitution.

The assault took place at Thammasat University's Tha Prachan campus Wednesday afternoon when the lecturer walked toward the canteen. Two men rushed to punch him several times in the face. Dr Vorajate suffered bruises and his eyeglasses were broken before a fellow lecturer intervened. Both assailants fled the scene on a motorcycle.

Dr Vorajate said he never saw either man and did not know who they were.

The leading Nitirat member said he believed the assault might have resulted from his stance—and that of the Nitirat campaign -- to seek a charter amendment on Article 112.

Dr Vorajate however remained adamant, saying that he was not perturbed by the attack. He pledged to continue the campaign collecting 10,000 signatories supporting a lese majeste amendment to petition the Senate for consideration.

A physician at Thonburi 1 Hospital said the lecturer suffered bruises above his right eyebrow and five-centimetre cut.

Dr Vorajate later brought a medical examination document to file a complaint to police.

Seven Thammasat law lecturers, known as the Nitirat group, have been campaigning to seek amendment on the lese majeste law regarding the monarchy. The controversial move drew ire from many sections in the society.

Thailand's lese majeste law has come under fire as a suppression of free speech. It carries a maximum term of imprisonment of up to 15 years for anyone who is deemed offensive, insulting or threatening the king, the queen, the heir-apparent or the regent.

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra stood firm on Wednesday that her government would definitely not amend Section 112 of the Criminal Code. (MCOT online news)
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