The Bangkok Post (31 March 2010) reports another case of proceeding with cases of lese majeste and under the Computer Crimes Act. Chiranuch Premchaiporn, the webmaster at the independent and excellent Prachatai online news website and web board “was granted bail this afternoon after the prosecutors eventually filed a lawsuit against her under Thailand’s Computer Crimes Act.”
PPT presumes a direct link between these cases – the other was of Jakrapob Penkair – and the current struggle the military-back Abhisit Vejjajiva government has with red shirt opponents. The impression PPT has is that the government is under great pressure and is willing to use all the “weapons” it has.
The Post reports that “Chiranuch had to wait nearly four hours before the bail was approved with 300,000 baht endowment, calculated by her sister (a nurse)’s salary, for the charge of not self-censoring web-board posts fast enough for government censors.”
The charges against her relate to “allowing comments posted by readers of Prachatai’s online discussion alleged to be lèse majesté. If found guilty, she could get 50 years imprisonment, however, the practical maximum term for her could be as long as 20 years.” That’s 50 years! Recall that Suwicha Thakor was originally sentenced to 20 years.
She is scheduled to appear in court on 31 May after first being arrested in March 2009. PPT urges the international community to watch this case carefully and urges all interested and concerned parties to write to the Thai embassies and consulates in their areas.