A former spokesman for ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, Jakrapob Penkair had to resign as a minister in the pro-Thaksin government in May 2008 after being accused of slandering the king in a talk at Bangkok’s Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand (FCCT) on 29 August 2007. His case was pushed by members of the Democrat Party-led government from December 2008.
On 13 January 2009, some 1,000 pages of evidence and 4 DVDs had been collected by police and sent to the Attorney General. Jakrapob maintained his innocence and on 5 March 2009 Jakrapob was informed that his pre-trial court hearing had been postponed for 30 days. His hearing was further postponed to 15 June 2009, when Jakrapob stated that he was overseas. In fact, he had fled in April.
On 4 September 2009 it was reported that the prosecution agreed to a fifth deferral on a decision on whether to indict Jakrapob. This was at the request of Jakrapob’s lawyer, who said “his client was on important business abroad.” On 22 March 2010, the case was sent forward for consideration for prosecution.
It seems the investigations expanded beyond his FCCT speech for thereare two cases under investigation. They are: คดีพิเศษที่ 410/53 (lese majeste) and คดีพิเศษที่ 496/53 (lese majeste). The former relates, it seems to comments made overseas and the latter to a newspaper story in 2009.
While he remained overseas, in March 2012, it was reported that the public prosecutor had decided in September 2011 that it would not indict Jakrapob. The Attorney General’s Office sent its decision to the police chief. It was not clear whether the police chief had formally dropped the case.
A Transcript of Jakrapob’s FCCT speech: Jakrapob at the FCCT
Video links to Jakrapob’s FCCT speech: a series of short YouTube clips, begin with “Pa Penn talks about Pa Prem”
Media reports on Jakrapob’s case:
Prachatai, 31 March 2012: “Public prosecutor drops lèse majesté charges against Jakraphob Penkair“
Matichon, 3 January 2011: “เปิดบัญชีคดีพิเศษ”ดีเอสไอ” 33 คดีเข้าข่ายหมิ่นเบื้องสูง“
The Nation, 23 March 2010: “Review completed on lese majeste case involving Jakrapob”
Bangkok Post, 4 September 2009: “Prosecution defers Jakrapob case”
asiaoneNews, 30 April 2009: “Cambodia not sheltering Thaksin” (includes a report on Jakrapob’s case)
Deutsche Press-Agenture, 5 March 2009: “Lese majeste case postponed in Thailand”
Reporters Without Borders, 6 February 2009, “Jakrapob Penkair: Red and Yellow”
Bangkok Post, 13 January 2009, “Jakrapob case continued 8 weeks”
Asia Times, 13 June 2008, “‘Crusading spirit’ adrift on Thai winds”
Xinhua, 30 May 2008: “Thai PM’s Office Minister resigns over lese majeste charge”
New Mandala, 29 May 2008, “An update on Jakrapob Penkair and alleged insults to the king”
Bangkok Pundit, 30 August 2007, “Jakrapob at the FCCT”