Updated: Army chief accuses red shirt leaders of lese majeste

12 04 2011

The Bangkok Post reports on the outcome of the Army’s “war room” exercise that was, in part, meant to catch red shirt speakers out. As the report last Saturday expressed it,

Gen Prayuth [Chan-ocha] said he was concerned that some red-shirt demonstrators might attack the high institution and incite violence and therefore the army war room was set up.

The war room … will 24-hour monitor the situation and all speeches delivered at the rally stage by UDD core leaders. Legal action will be taken against all law violators.

Prayuth accuses

The outcome is reportedly that the “army on Tuesday filed a complaint against United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship co-leader Jatuporn Prompan and two others [Wichian Khaokham, a Puea Thai MP for Udon Thani, and Suporn Atthawong, a UDD member], saying they might have committed lese majeste in connection with their speeches made at the red-shirt rally at the Democracy Monument on Ratchadamnern Avenue on Sunday, April 10.”

Importantly, this complaint has been filed at the Samranrat police station, on behalf  of army chief Prayuth.

These same three are also subject to earlier terrorism charges from May 2010 and are on bail. The police are now required “to examine tapes of the three’s speeches to see if they constituted lese majeste.”

Not to be left out of the lese majeste action, the political police at the Department Special Investigation (DSI) and its chief Tharit Pengdit “said at a press conference that his office had listened to tapes of speeches of Mr Jatuporn and 13 other red shirt leaders and found they might have lese majeste contents.” This leads the DSI to submit a “a request to the Office of the Attorney General asking it to consider revoking bail for Mr Jatuporn and other persons who have been freed on bail.”

PPT will shortly add the three names to our ever-lengthening list of those accused of lese majeste who are being investigated. We doubt these political charges will cause any particular rethink at the U.S. State Department, where lese majeste seems viewed as somehow apolitical.

Update: One of Jatuporn’s speeches is here:



5 responses

13 04 2011
The Army’s election campaign: Vote monarchy! | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] seems PPT’s earlier post on lese majeste charges against red shirt leaders has underplayed the extent of Army chief Prayuth […]

14 04 2011
The war with red shirts | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] When red shirt leader Jatuporn Promphan made a fiery speech on 10 April, attacking the army for killing protesters while claiming to be protecting the monarchy (see the speech and read about Army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha’s heated response here). […]

14 04 2011
Thaksin, monarchy, loyalty | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] might be considerable debate over what that means, but he is acting to head off the royalist election strategy, lead by the Army, of making a vote against Puea Thai Party a vote for the monarchy. Part of the strategy also […]

15 04 2011
Using lese majeste to repress opposition | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] “insisted yesterday that Jatuporn Prompan, a Puea Thai MP and red shirt leader, had made inappropriate remarks about the monarchy at a recent red shirt […]

6 02 2012
The military amnesiac « Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] When we picked our collective selves up off the floor, we were reminded of Prayuth’s own highly politicized use of lese majeste back in April 2011. Here’s what we wrote back then: […]

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