Updated: Chiranuch back in court

13 02 2012

Update: The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) is calling for court observers at the resumption of the trial of Chiranuch Premchaiporn, director of the Prachatai website, who is being prosecuted under the Computer Crime Act after her arrest in March 2009. The trial of her case, after it was delayed for a variety of reasons, will again resume on February 14 to 16, 2012 at the Criminal Court in Bangkok.

PPT re-posts this letter from Chiranuch Premchaiporn, charges under the Computer Crimes Act and also facing lese majeste allegations.  The letter is from the FACT website:

Dear friends/colleagues and those who always interested on my trial,

Three years, are the time I have to live my life being accused of committing a crime under Section 14 and 15 of the Computer Crime Act. Still, I have to continue a life like this without knowing an end. For all these time, I would like to thank you for your assistance, support and keen interest on the trial observation always.

The police arrested me at Prachatai Office on 6 March 2009 while the prosecutor filed the case to the Criminal Court on 31 March 2010. On the latter date, I was detained in the court basement for four hours before THB 300,000 bail was guaranteed by my sister’s career (she is a nurse in the government hospital) as an exchange for my … temporary release. The court then arranged a meeting on 31 May 2010 to investigate the witnesses, collect the evidence as well as decide on the hearing dates. At first, the hearings were scheduled for eight consecutive days in February 2011 but could only continue for four days with five prosecutor witnesses’ presence. The rest of the witnesses said they were not available on the mentioned dates required the judges, prosecutors, and the lawyers’ team to set up a new hearing schedule from September to October 2011. Due to a large time gap; the composition of the judges in the second period were changed with regards to the annual shift occurred in the bureaucratic system. In September, the hearings of the prosecutors’ witnesses were completed and the hearings of the Defense witnesses had started including that of myself. In October, massive flooding in Bangkok prevented the continual court trial, Mr. Danny O’Brien from Committee to Protect Journalists who was traveling all the way from San Francisco being the only witness allowed. At the hearing, an interpreter provided by the court was unable to give an accurate interpretation. The lawyers’ team, as a result, [h]as decided to submit the testimony written by Mr. O’Brien beforehand and would like to postponed the rest of the hearings to 14-16 February, 2012.

One week left, when the hearing of the Defense witnesses should come to the final round. This time, the court trial will continue from 14-16 February 2012 at Court Room 910, the Criminal Court on Ratchadapisek Road with five respectful witnesses:

Professor Sawatree Suksri from Department of Criminal Law, Thammasat University: an expert on Computer Crime Law.

Professor Jittat Fakcharoenphol, Ph.D, Department of Computer Science, Faculty of Engineering, Kasetsart University: an expert on IT Technology

Doctor Kitibhoom Chutasmith, Director of Bhusing Hospital, Sri Sakhet Province: Prachatai Webboard user

Mr. Wanchat Bhadungrat, Founder of Pantip.com

Assistant Professor Pirongrong Ramasoota Rananan, Associate Dean, Department of Graduate Studies, Faculty of Communication Arts, Chulalongkorn University: a scholar in Mass Media who researched on the Internet Content Regulations

At the moment, the hearings are expected to proceed with the witnesses shown on the below list:

14 February 2012 (All Day): Professor Sawatree, Professor Jittat and Doctor Kitibhoom

15 February 2012 (Morning session): Mr. Wanchat Bhadungrat

16 February 2012 (Afternoon Session): Assistant Professor Pirongrong

For those interested to attend the trial observation, the court usually runs the morning session from 09.00-12.00 and the afternoon session from 13.00-16.00. Interpretation service is also available for international observers Please feel free to contact Ms. Kheetanat Wannaboworn KWANNABOWORN@gmail.com or 084-899-0509 to inform of your requirement.

Besides my court trial, Somyot Pruksakasemsuk, Founding Editor of “Voice of Thaksin” will also undergo his trial on 13 February 2012, SongKla Province. Somyot has been charged under Article 112 of the Criminal Code as the Publisher and Advertising Editor of the mentioned magazine for the presence of an article written by “Jit Phollachan” (alias) while the article was claimed to contain defamatory contents to the King and the Royal Family. Each month, Somyot needs to travel to different provinces around Thailand depending on the witnesses’ House Registration (even though all of them are working in Bangkok); so far, Somyot’s trials were held in SaKaew, Petchaboon, and Nakhon Sawan with different judges every time. Somyot used to apply for bail for seven times and all of them had been rejected. For this reason, his son, Mr. Panitan Pruksakasemsuk who is currently a sophomore at Faculty of Law, Thammasat University decided to call for his father’s Rights to Bail on Hunger Strike called “Free my dad”. The strike will begin at 4pm, 11 February 2012 and will continue for 112 hours. I really hope to receive your attendance again at the trial observation and hope to have your support as well on Somyot’s Rights to Bail.

With Respect,

Chiranuch Premchaiporn


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