Suriyan Kokpuey was charged in a lese majeste case that began in early October 2010. Suriyan is a shoe repair man who was charged with making a hoax call saying there was a bomb at Siriraj Hospital, where the king has been “hospitalized” for more than a year.
Suriyan is identified in the media as a “red shirt.” He was denied bail when he appeared in court.
A report says Suriyan, aged 29, is from Yasothon. Police claim that as well as the bomb at Siriraj Hospital, and making offensive remarks against the monarchy.
Police requested “that the suspect had been detained for almost 48 hours, but the investigation had yet to be completed, as 15 more witnesses still had to be interrogated and the suspect’s fingerprints had to be examined against police criminal records. As this is an important case, involving offences against national security and the monarchy, and carrying severe penalties, the police asked for the suspect to be further held on remand and objected to bail, fearing that he might flee or tamper with the evidence. The suspect reportedly made no objections, and had no relatives to request bail. He then was sent to Bangkok Remand Prison.”
The picture montage above is all PPT can locate. Suriyan appears in the group photo with investigating police and in CCTV captures said to be near a phone booth that is alleged to have been used for the hoax call.
On 14 February 2011, the Criminal Court found Suriyan guilty of lese majeste and causing panic under Section 392 of the Criminal Code, and gave him jail sentences of 6 years and one month respectively. As is usual, because he entered a guilty plea, his jail term was halved.
It is reported that Suriyan’s parents are poor and were unable to find money to bail their son. At first, they were afraid that their son might get 10 years or so. His mother insisted that her son was not interested in politics, and had hardly joined any rallies; only his father had occasionally joined the red shirt rallies.
Another case of lese majeste being used for political repression. In this case, as a warning to poor red shirts.
Suriyan was due to be released 23 August and was finally released after a pardon on 24 August 2012.
Media reports on Suriyan’s case:
Prachatai,29 August 2012: “Two lèse majesté convicts released“
Huffington Post, 24 August 2012: “2 Thai prisoners pardoned for insulting monarchy“
Prachatai, 23 August 2012: “Release of two lèse majesté convicts today delayed“
Prachatai, 18 February 2011: “Shoe repairer gets 3 years for making bomb threat against Siriraj Hospital”
Prachatai, 8 October 2010: “Shoe repairer charged with lèse majesté and denied bail”