Lese majeste in the south

28 02 2013

Prachatai has a post on a mysterious case of lese majeste being conducted in Pattani province. PPT had basic details of this case posted previously.

It is now reported that the “Pattani Provincial Court is proceeding with an in camera lèse majesté trial against a Malayu Muslim man, who is accused of putting up banners about the country’s conflict with a picture of Her Majesty the Queen in 2009.” This is alleged to have involved a number of banners being put up in public areas such as pedestrian bridges in the province on 12 August 2009, the queen’s birthday and “Mother’s Day.”

Prachatai states that the defendant has asked that his name not be revealed.

This man was “arrested without charge under special laws in late August 2009. He claimed that he was hit by army officers and was threatened to force a confession to charges he wasn’t aware of. After he confessed, the military later informed him that he was being investigated on a lèse majesté charge. Later the defendant was able to get bail with a 300,000 baht guarantee.”

Prosecution witnesses are reported to include “forensic expert” and GT200-loving “Pornthip Rojanasunand and former national police chief Priewpan Damapong” who are said to have “already testified in the case, which began in December 2011.” There are slated to be 109 witnesses appearing in the secret trial.

Prachatai reports that further “hearings will take place on February 28, March 1 and March 6, 2013.”

As noted in the report, the only previously known in-camera lese majeste trial was that of Darunee Charnchoensilpakul. In that case, the court “gave national security as the reason for the closed-door [trial].” An appeal was made to the Constitutional Court on the constitutionality of this trial in secret. A ruling was sought on whether the prosecutors’ request for the trial to be held in camera under Section 177 of the Criminal Procedures Code contravenes Sections 29 and 40 of the constitution. In a remarkable demonstration of the injustice inherent in the Thai courts on lese majeste, the Constitutional Court’s contorted verdict was that Darunee’s secret trial was constitutional!


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