Democrat Party leader and former royalist prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva is maintaining a personal battle against red shirts. In a recent article at The Nation, there was comment about Abhisit’s ongoing court battle to cripple red shirt leader Jatuporn Promphan.
That article begins with an absurd claim:
Abhisit is carrying the Democrat [Party] banner, which for more than six decades has been a symbol of the opposition against dictators in military and civilian guises.
Of course, this whole sentence is a fabrication. The Democrat Party was formed specifically to promote the political interests of the royalist and the palace. It has engaged in acts that Australians have a neat term for: political bastardry. At its beginning, it falsely accused Pridi Phanomyong of involvement with the still unexplained death of King Ananda Mahidol. It also supported and collaborated with the military in its coups in 1947 and 1957-1958. PPT is not at all sure which “dictators” it opposed and which of those were in “civilian guise.” Even in the events of 1992, the party wasn’t an unequivocal opponent of the military and its May crackdown.
For some reason, the balmy article believes that Abhisit and Jatuporn “should have been great allies in advancing the political system.” Jatuporn actually has credentials for opposing military regimes, in 1992 and again post-2006. Jatuporn has been jailed for his activism, while Abhisit has supported and ordered violent military crackdowns and enjoyed being hoisted to the prime ministership by the Army and palace in 2008. For most of the period since 1992, Abhisit has led a comfortable and elite lifestyle, with his politics mainly limited to Oxford-style debating in parliament. He hasn’t engaged in any people-based activism.
So it is that as Jatuporn makes emotion-laden charges against Abhisit, the scion of the elite engages in litigation against Jatuporn, seen as one of the most popular and influential red shirt leaders.
Whether this amounts to “a dark abyss of possible mutual destruction” remains to be seen. Certainly Abhisit and other royalists seek to destroy Jatuporn and have him incarcerated yet again
Among a mass of legal cases brought by Abhisit and other Democrats, two libel cases have real potential to send Jatuporn to jail.
Abhisit recently won a defamation case against Jatuporn and gave him a suspended jail term as it was his first offense. While Jatuporn has appealed the conviction, any other conviction in a myriad of cases against him could see Jatuporn jailed.
At The Nation the cases against Jatuporn are listed:
- Terrorism case: Jatuporn granted bail. (Currently being probed by the Department of Special Investigation.)
- Libel case: Jatuporn in 2009 gave a press interview accusing then prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva of inappropriate conduct during an audience with the King. The Criminal Court on July 10 found Jatuporn guilty of libel and handed down a six-month jail term suspended for two years due to it being his first offence.
- Libel case: Jatuporn in 2009 made an accusation against Abhisit in relation to an attack on Abhisit’s vehicle at the Interior Ministry and Abhisit’s involvement in the dispersal of red-shirt protesters in 2009. (Currently in the court-hearing process.)
- Libel case: At a rally, Jatuporn accused Abhisit of seizing His Majesty the King’s power and of involvement in chaos at the Din Daeng Triangle, Petchaburi Road and in Pattaya. (Currently in the court-hearing process.)
- Libel case: Jatuporn accused Abhisit of ordering the killings of people and of evading conscription. (Currently in the court-hearing process.)
- Libel case: Jatuporn read a court verdict on his TV programme allegedly causing viewers to misunderstand that Teepsurang Pukditanakul, the wife of Constitution Court judge Jaran, is a bad person. (Currently in the court-hearing process.)
As part of his anti-Jatuporn campaign, Abhisit is also preparing to sue Defense Minister Sukumpol Suwanatat for his role in re-opening the case against Abhisit on conscription.The interesting footnote in this story is the unsourced statement:
A highly placed source at the Defence Ministry told The Nation that it was not uncommon for the son of an influential person to have such documents forged for him.
“Actually it’s rather normal for Thai men who have influential fathers,” the senior Army officer said, adding that he felt sorry for Abhisit because nobody would have heard about or even bothered about these documents if he had not entered politics.
The implication is that Abhisit’s vendetta is about protecting privilege and double standards. Abhisit seems determined to get Jatuporn behind bars, as he did during his term as prime minister. He an elite perspective that the upstart red shirt needs to be taught who is (still) boss. All of the cases indicate that Abhisit and his allies are determined to punish political opponent Jatuporn, not so much for his speech but for daring to oppose the amart-royalist ruling class.