Red shirt leader and on-again, off-again Puea Thai Party member of parliament Jatuporn Promphan was accused by Army chief General Prayuth Chan-Ocha of lese majeste. He laid a complaint of lese majeste with the police following speeches by Jatuporn on 10 April 2011.
Prior to the 10 April anniversary rally by red shirts, commemorating the first attack by the army on red shirt demonstrators rallying in 2010, the Army set up a “war room” that was, in part, meant to catch red shirt speakers out. General Prayuth said he was “concerned that some red-shirt demonstrators might attack the high institution and incite violence and therefore the army war room was set up.” The so-called war room monitored the rally “and all speeches delivered at the rally stage by UDD core leaders.” The Army promised legal action against all law violators; they meant for lese majeste.
The outcome of that monitoring is reportedly that the “army on Tuesday filed a complaint against United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship co-leader Jatuporn Prompan and two others [Wichian Khaokham, a Puea Thai MP for Udon Thani, and Suporn Atthawong, a UDD member], saying they might have committed lese majeste in connection with their speeches made at the red-shirt rally at the Democracy Monument on Ratchadamnern Avenue on Sunday, April 10.”
Importantly, this complaint has been filed at the Samranrat police station, on behalf of army chief Prayuth.
These same three are also subject to earlier terrorism charges from May 2010 and are on bail. The police are now required “to examine tapes of the three’s speeches to see if they constituted lese majeste.”
Not to be left out of the lese majeste action, the political police at the Department Special Investigation (DSI) and its chief Tharit Pengdit “said at a press conference that his office had listened to tapes of speeches of Mr Jatuporn and 13 other red shirt leaders and found they might have lese majeste contents.” This leads the DSI to submit a “a request to the Office of the Attorney General asking it to consider revoking bail for Mr Jatuporn and other persons who have been freed on bail.”
Jatuporn and his co-accused red shirt leaders filed a case against Prayuth at the same police station on 16 April, claiming the Army chief deliberately filed cases that were false and provided false information.
Jatuporn’s bail on terrorism charges was revoked within days of the calling of the 2011 election, and he was kept in jail until 2 August 2011. During this period he stood as a party list candidate for the Puea Thai Party and was elected. His release on bail came after his endorsement as a member of parliament by the Election Commission following the election.
In mid-August 2011, Jatuporn announced that he would not use his parliamentary immunity on any lese majeste charge so that he could prove his innocence. He reported to DSI to acknowledge the charge on 15 August 2011.
Several community radio station principals were also subject to lese majeste cases after re-broadcasting Jatuporn’s comments.
On 11 May 2012 it was reported that DSI had recommended that the lese majeste case against Jatuporn be dropped. It is not known if the cases were also dropped against the radio stations.
Media accounts of Jatuporn’s case:
Bangkok Post, 17 May 2012: “Tarit says Jatuporn decision was not his alone“
The Nation, 11 May 2012: “Lese majeste charges against Jatuporn lifted“
The Nation, 9 May 2012: “Jatuporn not fit for Cabinet seat: Chalong“
Bangkok Post, 17 August 2011: “Jatuporn says he’ll waive immunity“
The Nation, 17 August 2011: “Jatuporn to waive immunity and face lese majeste charge“
Bangkok Post, 5 August 2011: “Speaker will seek ruling on Jatuporn“
Bangkok Post, 17 April 2011: “Army chief faces charges“
Bangkok Post, 12 April 2011: “Complaint against Jatuporn, 2 others“