Lese majeste conviction in Korat

17 12 2010

Prachatai reports that Papatchanan Ching-in on 16 December 2010 was found guilty of lese majeste. Papatchanan or Daeng, has been on PPT’s list of pending cases on lese majeste since April 2009. Unfortunately, her case is now moved to be added to the list of those convicted.

Her case is related to her involvement with a red shirt protest that attacked General Prem Tinsulanonda, president of the Privy Council in Nakhon Ratchasima, where Prem maintains a residence. She was said to be one of the leaders of the protest group that also attacked the People’s Alliance for Democracy and the government by burning a mock coffin at the  Tao Suranari statue on 7 April 2009. The coffin reportedly included an attached message referring to Prem by a royal prefix meant to mock Prem and PAD leader Sondhi Limthongkul. The coffin also carried images of Prem and Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva.

It is reported that “Col Weerapattarapol Bunchiaw, a military officer attached to Army Region 2 at the province, filed charges with the police on 9 Apr 2009. On 10 Apr 2009, PAD members in the province also filed charges for lèse majesté and violations of national security under Criminal Code Articles 113, 114 and 115, and defamation under Article 326.” Papatchanan denied the charges at the time and was released on bail.

Prachatai now reports that the Nakhon Ratchasima Provincial Court has sentenced Papatchanan to three years in jail: “According to the court, during a protest on 7 April 2009, Papatchanan and other red shirts brought a mock coffin with a message which read ‘Phra Ong Than’ in the top line, and ‘Gen Prem…’ and ‘Died 8 April 2009’ in the following lines. Papatchanan poured gasoline on the coffin and burned it. The court said that the word ‘Phra Ong Than’ referred to HM the King who is most revered by the people. The defendant, therefore, was found guilty under Sections 83 and 112 of the Criminal Code for conspiring with others to commit the crime of lèse majesté.”

Papatchanan reportedly “appealed the case and her bail request was granted by the court.”

Police have still not been able to find or arrest any of the other red shirts allegedly involved in the protest.

Her crime appears to have involved referring to General Prem by the same royal prefix in a way that mocked “what was believed to be PAD leader Sondhi Limthongkul’s slip of the tongue when he routinely appeared on his ASTV programme on 3 Apr 2009, saying, ‘…the yellow shirts come out to protect Gen Prem, as Phra Ong Than is President of the Privy Council’.” See this clip:

Interestingly, this conviction occurs in the middle of the scandal associated with the comments of Prem and other senior royalists that deride the heir to the throne, Vajiralongkorn.



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17 12 2010
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