Lese majeste case against Bundith Arniya

30 07 2013
A couple of days ago,  Prachatai posted a story regarding the lese majeste case facing Bundit Aneeya, who they say is “a 73-year-old freelance writer and translator,” and who is “to face the final verdict of the Supreme Court in his lèse majesté case” on 21 August. This is a case that PPT has had posted for some time, but for which we had very little information.

This is the information PPT has had posted, since mid-2009:

Bundith is a well-known translator, mainly of books about socialism. He was charged over comments he made on 22 September 2003 when he apparently objected to the display of the king’s photo in a meeting and distributed documents apparently promoting democracy.

He was arrested and later released on bail. Eventually he was charged with lese majeste and sentenced to 2 years and 8 months in jail. However, he was put on probation because he had no criminal record and was already 64 years old and unwell.

The secretary of the Privy Council, the plaintiff in the case, is said to have appealed the case to a higher court, not wanting Bundith to have probation. This appeal was apparently being heard in the closed courtroom.

According to information received by PPT, over the period since the initial allegations, he has been detained seven times and beaten.

Prachatai’s account is a little different and adds information. For example, it says nothing about the source of appeal. If our account is correct, then this direct involvement by the palace is significant.

Prachatai says that Bundith was “sentenced to four years in March 2006 for defaming the monarchy by distributing politics-related documents at an academic seminar. He is currently out on bail since the case has not reached the final judgement….He could face up two years and eight months in prison if the Supreme Court stands by the guilty verdict.”

He was apparently charged under Article 112 “after Gen.Wassana Phermlarp, a former member of the Election Commission and General Secretary of the Anti-Money Laundering Office filed charges with the police in 2003, accusing him of making defamatory speeches at the seminar.”

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