Further updated: Anniversary of Da Torpedo’s sentencing

28 08 2010

It is one year ago that Darunee Charnchoensilpakul was sentenced to 18 years in jail on lese majeste charges. She has been in jail for more than two years already. She is a political prisoner.

In a case that exposed the mockery that passes for justice on lese majeste, her trial was conducted in a closed court and she received 6 years for each of three comments she made in a political rally in mid-2008. She is appealing the sentence, but as its usual in lese majeste cases, the courts are deliberately slow, waiting for the accused to plead guilty and appear contrite. To date, she has refused this path to a pardon that is granted by the king only when guilt is admitted and the “guilty” party shows proper “respect.”

The last news of Darunee was on 29 July 2010, Darunee requested temporary release  to receive medical treatment. She also argued that Sondhi Limthongkul, a PAD leader accused of the same crime, has always been granted bail until now.” Naturally, Sondhi, being a yellow-shirt gets different treatment. Her request was rejected a few days later, citing the fact that her case carried a severe punishment and her crime was against the revered and venerated monarchy, affecting widely the feelings of loyal people. Because of her long sentence, the court thought she would flee.

PPT asks readers to continue to protest, demanding that Darunee be released. Write to Thai embassies, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and to the prime minister of Thailand.

Update 1: Ji Ungpakorn has posted this on Da’s imprisonment:

Activist C.T. recently visited Da Torpedo in prison. Da is in prison for 18 years on lese majeste charges arising from a political speech made at a rally.

Disgracefully, Amnesty International has refused to recognise her as a prisoner of conscience.

“I visited Da on last Tuesday August 24. After having sent the visit request, I was anxious when the jail officer told me that she hadn’t remembered that I was to visit. I had talked to them for a while and then Da remembered. I waited for another half an hour, I arrived at 9.00 AM.

Around 10.30 AM, I got the go ahead. I found her at the visiting cell, she smiled and apologized for forgotting.[sic] She blamed it on the fact that she had not had much chance to exercise her brain and that made her forget everything easily.

She started talking about the red shirt movement that they should sit and pray with mercy for their enemy. They should review their 3 year fight. Were they on the right track? If they are, why did they lose.? One important thing is that the 3-comrades were not able to lead red shirt movement properly. They hadn’t any strategy and tactic for the movement. They should reconsider themselves. She became a nun as a memorial for the April-May events on July 19 – 23.

She complained about the new zone chief officer who makes concessions to foreign prisoners, such as when a foreign prisoner fights with a local prisoner. Even if the foreigner is wrong, the zone chief officer always forgives them. She felt that it wasn’t right because everyone should under the same rule (not double standards). She said she wanted to complain to department head. However she told me that most of the prison officers work hard but any wrong thing should be corrected.

Back to the politic discussion…. she said she didn’t trust Peu Thai Party, she remembered the bad example from the politicians who joined Phumjaithai and tried to make a coalition government with PTP in the past. She suggested that red shirts should be developing themselves into a long term movement. She still appreciated Thaksin who she likes for his management skills. She stated that if we have any equal or better politician she will choose that person.

For her health. She wasn’t got treatment because her blood clots very slowly and that makes it dangerous for surgery because her health isn’t strong enough. She needs to improve her condition but it looks like that is very difficult.

Soon the time was up … only 20 minutes for visits to her and every prisoner.”


Update 2: Prolific commentator at various political blogs, John Francis Lee is one who has taken up PPT’s call above. We congratulate him for the post he has at Prachatai:

PPT reminds that 2 long years have passed for Darunee behind bars and exhorts us all to raise our voices in protestation of that ongoing injustice…

John Francis Lee
246/3 Thanon Kaew Wai
Mueang Chiangrai TH 57000

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva
Government House
Bangkok TH 10300

Dear Prime Minister Abhisit,

I read that the anniversary of the sentencing of Darunee Charnchoensilpakul has come and gone; that she has been in prison now for two full years already.

You know as well as any of us that Darunee Charnchoensilpakul’s crime is a political one.

Nowhere else in the world would a person be subjected to a secret trial and shunted off to prison for eighteen years – nearly two full decades – for political speech. (I suppose it might happen in North Korea, but do you and does Thailand really want to be numbered among such dictators and dictatorships?)

The mock trial and imprisonment of Darunee Charnchoensilpakul is a great disgrace to Thailand and to HM King Bhumipol Adulyadej personally, who publicly complained on the occasion of his birthday in 2005 that his humanity was diminished by those who, pretending to defend him, in fact use him as a tool, as an inanimate weapon like a stone in a sling, with which to smite their political opponents.

It is time for you and for your government to do the right thing with respect to your opposition of every stripe; for Darunee Charnchoensilpakul to be released, and for Thailand’s rehabilitation in the eyes of the world to begin.

We are all, lovers of Thailand both within and without, waiting for a new spirit of tolerance and unity in Thailand beginning with Darunee, subjected to two full years’ imprisonment for remarks that you well know would be regarded as protected speech in countries that value liberty around the world, in the country of your birth for example.

Please delay no longer, Mr. Prime Minister, and, for the sake of Thailand and its reputation if for no other, see to it that Darunee Charnchoensilpakul is in fact released forthwith.


John Francis Lee



2 responses

29 08 2010
24 09 2010

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