Updated: More on latest lese majeste witch hunt

8 01 2012

A couple of days ago PPT posted on the latest summons in the ongoing repression associated with lese majeste. The young woman involved is Natthakarn Sakuldarachat. She will face police investigators in about a month.

In the Bangkok Post, Voranai Vanijaka has a good account of the case and the terrible harassment “Kan Thoob” – Joss Stick – has faced.

PPT won’t go into the details in Voranai’s story. Rather, we just highlight a few points. The account begins:

Hate mail and threats are the least of her worries. Being shunned by society that has forced a young girl to become persona non grata should be considered cruel and unusual punishment. She had to change her name. She was turned away from three universities despite passing the entrance exams. She’s hounded by the press and society. It has been more than three years, and the witch hunt continues.

That witch hunt has been managed by yellow shirts:

Her real name and the name she changed to were revealed to the public by Manager Online, owned by Sondhi Limthongkul, leader of the yellow shirt People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD).

Those revelations were meant to encourage ultra-royalists to engage in the campaign of harassment. It is not the first time that the yellow-shirt media has encouraged vigilantism. Voranai correctly observes that:

Sondhi and his media organisation brought her to trial. The court of public opinion delivered the guilty verdict. PAD supporters and others continue to punish her relentlessly.

In recent days it has again been Sondhi’s Manager that has “outed” her one more time:

Recently Manager Online learned that Joss Stick is studying at Thammasat University’s Social Administration Department. The media and the people who have been hounding her demanded to know why Thammasat accepted the girl’s enrollment.

At one point in the account, Voranai asks a very pertinent question: “When army chief Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha suggested a social boycott of lese majeste offenders, is this what he had in mind?”

Probably it is. This is what lese majeste repression has come to in Thailand. Punishing even minors for their thoughts and words. And the palace’s silence – in this and in all recent cases – makes it complicit in a very dirty and nasty campaign.

Update: Prachatai has two stories on this case. See “Kan Thoop’s police summons postponed to 11 Feb” and “Matichon Interview with ‘Kan-thoop’.

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