27 12 2012

Several news stories relate to the judiciary deserve some attention.

First, PPT has criticized several court decisions as royalist politics. However, occasionally some good sense emanates from a court. The Criminal Court has made a useful decision when it “dismissed a libel case lodged by former prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva against red-shirt leader and former MP Jatuporn Promphan…”. The court ruled that democratic politics meant that, “… a verbal attack cannot be regarded as defamation in accordance with the Penal Code…”.That seems to us to be a reasonable point.

Abhisit has fired off at least four defamation cases against Jatuporn and seems likely to appeal this decision. Of course, politicians on both sides of the current political sandwich are equally likely to shout defamation and head for the courts.

Thai politics is full of allegations, some of which are outrageous claims. It makes little real sense for politicians to use defamation laws against each claim yet they tend to see the courts as a political resort when they feel  injured. It is related to what, in the context of lese majeste, David Streckfuss calls the “defamation regime”: “a social and political formation that over time develops a kind of ‘defamation thinking’ and ‘impulse’ that focuses on the insult of the defamatory statement, often at the expense of the truth” (xv).

Second, People’s Alliance for Democracy leaders and acolytes are back in court in on-again, off-again trials that date back to their actions in 2008. In one case, an appeals court has upheld one of the few convictions recorded so far against PAD. In this case, Preecha Treecharoon’s conviction for attempted murder related to his use of “a truck to run over a police officer in charge of crowd control on October 7, 2008, near Parliament.” The court increased his prison term to 34 years.

In the same report, Sondhi Limthongkul, Chamlong Srimuang, Somkiat Pongpaibul, Pipop Thongchai, Maleerat Kaewka and Praphan Koonmee “pleaded not guilty [in two cases] to criminal violations in connection with the 2008 protests at Government House and Parliament.” The charges involve “illegal assembly, breach of the peace, coercion and illegal detention…”. As usual, they sought bail and continuing delays may be expected. Red shirt leaders regularly end up in jail while PAD people almost never sit behind bars.



2 responses

6 05 2013
Defamation | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] time ago, PPT posted on another set of defamation cases. We said […]

6 05 2013
Defamation | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] time ago, PPT posted on another set of defamation cases. We said […]