Prachatai has just posted news that Chiranuch Premchaiporn, their editor, has just been detained at Suvarnibhumi Airport. At this time, very little information is known, other than there is an arrest warrant for her from the Khon Kaen provincial court, and after primary details have been reported, she will be taken, via car, to the Khon Kaen police station. The charge against her is not yet known. Chiranuch was returning from the Internet at Liberty 2010 conference in Hungary when she was arrested.
In a separate case, Chiranuch has been charged with ten counts of violating the 2007 Computer Crimes Act. Read about those accusations, for which the trial will begin in February, here.
PPT is very concerned about Chiranuch’s case and well-being, and will post information as it becomes available.
Update 1: The Nation has posted a short account that says the charge against Chiranuch is lese majeste. It also states she was returning from Finland and that she has been taken to Khon Kaen.
Update 2: Prachatai’s report on Chiranuch getting bail is reproduced here:
At about 1 am on 25 Sept, Chiranuch Premchaiporn was granted bail after placing 200,000 baht in cash as a guarantee. She denied all charges during police interrogation.
She has to report to the police at Khon Kaen Police Station on 24 Oct.
Over a dozen readers of Prachatai in Khon Kaen gathered at the police station to give her moral support.
Sunimit Jirasuk, a local businessman in Khon Kaen, filed the charges with police against Prachatai and Same Sky websites in April 2008 for readers’ comments posted on both websites about the case of Chotisak Onsung [also see here] who refused to stand up for the royal anthem in a cinema and faced police charges.
The provincial court issued an arrest warrant for Chiranuch at the request of police on 8 Sept 2009.
http://freejiew.blogspot.com/ has been set up to tweet updates about Chiranuch’s case. Jiew is her nickname.
There’s also a report at Reporters Without Borders, calling her arrest “unacceptable.”
Update 3: It seems that Chiranuch was arrested without a summons being issued. See this Prachatai report:
According to Matichon, Pol Lt Col Chachpong Pongsuwan, investigator at Khon Kaen Police Station, said that a lèse majesté charge had been lodged against Chiranuch Premchaiporn since 2008. The case has been vetted by the Provincial Police Board Region 4, and is now being prosecuted by a department of the National Police Bureau. A summons is not necessary in this case because the offence carries a severe penalty.
It seems there is confusion in the various reports as to whether this is a computer crimes case or a lese majeste allegation. It seems the policeman cited above sees the two as essentially the same, and that is effectively how the Abhisit Vejjajiva regime has used the two laws.
Update 4: Chiranuch says: “Finally, I’m free by bail out. Thanks for all support.”
Also check the origins of the case here, where Article 116 (2) of the Thai Criminal Code is cited. It “stipulates that anybody who publicizes verbally or in writing or by any other means in a manner which is not constitutional or not in good faith to affect changes in laws or government by force, to incite unrest among the public, or to persuade people to violate the laws, is subject to a maximum of 7 years imprisonment.”
Update 6: The Bangkok Post has a useful summary account of the events in Chiranuch’s case.