Immigration Police and Khon Kaen University have denied that the termination of the employment contract, work permit and visa of David Streckfuss are related to his political activism in Thailand.
Khon Kaen University’s International Affairs Division also denied allegations of police pressure, telling ThaiPBS World that the termination was due to his failure to fulfill his duty regarding student exchange programs.
Streckfuss’ contract with the university commenced in August last year, according to the source. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he allegedly failed to arrange student exchange programs, leading to the contract termination.
Streckfuss is an American scholar, who has been based in Thailand’s northeastern province of Khon Kaen for over 30 years. He is a contributor to the Isaan Record, an online news outlet which reports on the people of the northeast. He is an independent scholar, whose work includes human rights and Thai politics.
In 2010, he wrote a book titled “Truth on Trial in Thailand,” which included an analysis of the use of the country’s controversial lèse majesté law.
On Friday, a Facebook post, written by one of his colleagues at the Isaan Record, Hathairat Phaholtap, was shared widely, stating that Streckfuss’ visa was abruptly cancelled last month.
According to Hathairat, an authority at Khon Kaen University had said the university was allegedly pressured by the immigration police to terminate the contract, leading to the work permit and visa troubles.
Streckfuss reportedly helped organize an event in February, featuring writers and activists in the Northeast. This was reportedly deemed ‘too political’ by the police.
Immigration Division 4 also told ThaiPBS World that it has no policy to pressure Streckfuss, as claimed by Hathairat, insisting that the police had not interfered in the University’s decision to terminate Streckfuss’ employment.
Pol Maj Gen Kritsada Kanchana-alongkorn, the division commander, said Streckfuss had applied for a new visa on April 1st. The application is being processed and the result will be announced, tentatively, on Sunday (April 18th).
Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)