Nicholas Farrelly at New Mandala tells us: “Today Thanthawut Taweewarodomkul (ธันย์ฐวุฒิ ทวีวโรดมกุล, details on his case are here) learned his unlucky fate: he was sentenced to 13 years for transgressing Thailand’s draconian lese majeste law and breaching the Computer Crimes Act. A previous New Mandala post on his predicament, with a relevant picture, is available from the archive.”
The Nation simply reports: “The Criminal Court Tuesday sentenced a man to 13 years in jail for offences relating to lese majeste. Thatawut Taweewarodomkul, the webmaster of www.norporchuusa.com, put messages deemed offending to the king on the web site between March 13 and March 15 last year. His pseudonym was Red Eagle. The court found this 38-year old man guilty of violating lese majeste and computer laws.” (**see Update 3 below)
Update 1: AP reports: “A Thai court has sentenced the administrator of an anti-government website to 13 years imprisonment on charges of defaming the monarchy and violating the computer crime act. The Criminal Court on Tuesday gave Thanthawut Taweewarodomkul 10 years on a charge of defaming the monarchy known as lese majeste. He received another three years after being found guilty of breaching a broadly defined Computer Crime Act. The 38-year-old ran a website affiliated with the anti-government Red Shirt movement whose aggressive street protests last year deteriorated into violence and were quashed by the army. Thailand’s constitution guarantees freedom of speech but the government has blocked access to thousands of web pages it considers subversive.”
The Bangkok Post reports: “The Criminal Court on Tuesday sentenced the webmaster of a United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) website to a total of 13 years imprisonment for lese majeste and violating the Computer Crimes Act. The court found Thanthawut Taweewarodomkul, who was in charge of the website <www.norporchorusa.com>, guilty of lese majeste for posting articles which were deemed insulting to the high institution between March 13 and 15 last year. Thanthawut given a 10 year jail sentence for lese majeste and three years for violating the Computer Crimes Act.”
Update 2: Prachatai has reported that Thantawut’s 12-year old son wept when he heard the verdict. Thantawut’s lawyer, one of the lawyers based at the สำนักกฎหมายราษฎรประสงค์, which is taking on many new cases, immediately petitioned for temporary release and offered 1.3 million baht in cash as bond and noted that they would be appealing the case.
On the website of สำนักกฎหมายราษฎรประสงค์, Thantawut’s lawyers have posted accounts of observations of the trial. Well worth a read — and too beautifully written for PPT to attempt a translation. If you read Thai, check them out.
Update 3: Freedom Against Censorship Thailand has a post worth reading where a good point is made: “Let’s get something straight—Tantawut was not the NorPhorChorUSA’s webmaster which makes his conviction spurious in the extreme. We attended some of Tantawut’s trial last month and, from our own commonsense observation, we find his conviction beyond belief. In the trial sessions we attended, Tantawut’s defence clearly proved he was not the webmaster for the NorPhorChorUSA website—he had no administrator or password access to the site. Tantawut was only hired as the website’s designer and provided no content to the site. Police and govt witnesses proved no evidence to the contrary.” The report at FACT concludes: “Shame on Thailand!” PPT is in complete agreement.