Another lese majeste jailing

4 11 2014

Prachatai reports that yet another victim of the draconian lese majeste law has been incarcerated.

Akradet E. was a third-year engineering student at Mahanakorn University of Technology when a Facebook “friend” alleged he had posted remarks against the monarchy. The charges followed an online dispute with a Facebook “friend” over political ideology.

The complaint was made in March 2014 and he was arrested on 18 June when more than 10 police officers raided his dormitory at Mahanakorn and confiscated several electronic devices.

He was denied bail five times before he was sentenced.

The Criminal Court states “there was no justification to change the refusal of bail since the defendant was an educated adult who knew of his acts and detention would prevent possible flight.” This is common in lese majeste cases, although there is scant evidence presented for this risk in Akradet’s case.

On 11 September, the public prosecutor indicted him on charges of having violated lese majeste and computer crimes laws. Akradet was accused of using a Facebook username “Uncle Dom also loves the king” and of posting lese majeste comments. The charge under Article 14 of the Computer Crimes Act was about importing illegal content into a computer system.

On 30 September 2014, after first pleading not guilty, Akradet entered a guilty plea following a “reconciliation talk” with military.

The Court read its verdict on 4 November 2014, sentencing him to 5 years in jail, halved for his guilty plea.

Remarkably, the judge in the case stated that posting a public comment on Facebook represented a grave and “serious threat” to the monarchy. Because of this ludicrous interpretation – or is it a recognition of the monarchy’s rapid decline – the judge refused to suspend the sentence.



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