Updated: DSI needs a silent Jatuporn

27 12 2010

It is no coincidence that on the very day that petitions have been filed on behalf of the seven red-shirt leaders seeking their release on bail that the Department of Special Investigation seeks to have red shirt leader Jatuporn Promphan locked up.

Those seeking bail have been locked up since May, and have certainly been forcibly silenced. And, if the case of Veera Musigapong is anything to go by, one of the bail conditions – if they get it – will be that they have to remain silent on politics.


Jatuporn is on bail due to his status as a parliamentarian, and he has certainly been defiant and outspoken. Most recently he has been associated with several leaked documents that show DSI investigations pointing at army responsibility for many of the murders of protesters in April and May (see here, here and here as examples). The only surprising thing about these leaks is that the DSI is apparently saying this. As a political police their public face has been one of complete denial.

One piece of fallout for the Abhisit Vejjajiva government has been the continuing pressure from the Japanese government. Yesterday a “senior Japanese embassy official on Monday met Thai Minister attached to the Prime Minister’s Office Ongart Klampaiboon urging the Thai investigators to speed up their probe into the death of a Japanese cameraman killed in April during the Red Shirt protests.” The leaked documents indicate he was killed by the army.

In the face of the leaked reports and very reliable observations regarding political interference in the judicial process, the government relies on mumblings the legal process needing to be followed and how the government wanted to find the “truth.” Of course, in the royalist regime’s Orwellian world, truth is pretty much a manufacture: Minister Ongart Klampaiboon carefully added: “The investigation should carried out cautiously to avoid any adverse impact on any particular party…”. PPT assumes he means the government and military.

So it is that DSI boss Tharit Pengdit seeks to have Jatuporn’s bail withdrawn. As The Nation explains it, Tharit has “claimed that Jatuporn, … who is charged with terrorism had broken the bail conditions set by the court. Jatuporn allegedly posed a threat to the safety of witnesses and tampered with evidence and witnesses. In addition, he allegedly threatened the state investigators and obstructed their work. Moreover Jatuporn had confused the public by wrongly claiming its investigators of preparing an investigation report of the killing of six people sheltering at Wat Pathumwanaram near Ratchaprasong on May 19 and the death of Hiroyuki Muramoto, Japanese cameraman working for Reuters news agency, the petition said.” In the MCOT News report, “Tharit said whether the document leaked by Mr Jatuporn was genuine or not, the DSI viewed his move as violating the law.”

In other words, Jatuporn must be silenced, and the way to do this is to have him jailed. Tharit tried to have bail revoked earlier in the month but this move failed. So he is trying again.

The Bangkok Post includes some details of the court hearing: “The court began considering the request at 2pm. During the hearing, Mr Tharit gave testimony to justify the request. Defence lawyers were allowed to attend the session and cross-examine Mr Tharit, but were not allowed to bring defence witness to testify. The court later said it would make a ruling on the DSI’s request tomorrow at 11am.” It has not been unusual in recent years for the courts to refuse to hear defense witnesses.

Helpfully for the courts and DSI, “Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban said he personally felt Mr Jatuporn had acted inappropriately with the on intention of creating unrest in the country while on bail.”

Meanwhile, and understandably, Jatuporn is reported to have “lashed out at Mr Tharit’s move to revoke his bail, saying the DSI chief was trying to gag him…”. He added that this “was the DSI’s fourth attempt to have his bail withdrawn following his disclosure of what he said was fresh evidence about the government forces’ crackdown on red-shirt demonstrators in May.”

He added that he hoped “court would give him justice so he could ensure the truth came out. He said he had a team of lawyers ready  present a case to confirm the authenticity of his documents if the court allowed the examination of evidence. He said would reveal the documents in parliament.”

DSI and the government certainly want to stop Jatuporn.

Update: DSI and the government can claim a partial success in getting the courts to shut up Jatuporn. The Bangkok Post reports that the “Criminal Court on Tuesday dismissed the Department of Special Investigation’s(DSI) request to withdraw bail for United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship core member Jatuporn Prompan.” That’s the reason for “partial” as they didn’t get him locked up. However, the court has “prohibited Mr Jatuporn from any involvement in a political gathering of five and more people and from disseminating political information which may cause damage to legal cases involving UDD protests.” This means that Jatuporn can only speak of matters political in parliament. Another red shirt leader is effectively silenced by a repressive regime.



2 responses

28 12 2010
Silencing Jatuporn | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] headline is the same as that at the Bangkok Post’s website. When PPT posted on the attempt by the Abhisit Vejjajiva government and its political police to silence red shirt […]

12 01 2011
Red shirts rattle the regime (again) | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] Silencing Jatuporn remains critical for the regime. From The Nation: Rajaprasong business protest […]

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