Another Facebook lese majeste case

25 12 2014

Police and military have cooperated to arrest and charge “a businessman for posting lese majeste messages on Facebook account.”

Prachatai reports that, allegedly using two Facebook accounts under the name “Yai Daengduad” (ใหญ่ แดงเดือด), the “man, whose name begins with T and surname begins with S,” was “accused of  posting three messages deemed defaming the King…”. A businessman and university graduate, TS is said to be 58, and lives in Bangkok.

In the posts deemed to be his, one on “25 July, mainly criticized the King’s sufficiency economy. It also compares Bhutan monarchy to Thailand’s.” A second post is said to have provided a behind-the-scenes account of the 2014 coup, posted on 13 September. A third post in early November is alleged to have been about the “fate of ‘Uncle Somchai’…”. Uncle Somchai is a fictional character who police now say is the king. The report quotes them:  “The use of Uncle Somchai is widely known among Internet users and red shirts that it means His Majesty the King.” Therefore, the police and other royalists consider that defaming Uncle Somchai is an act of lese majeste.

The military arrested the man and his wife on 18 December and detained TS and interrogated him at a Bangkok military base for five days before handing him over to police. His wife was detained for one night. The military states that, under interrogation, “the man confessed and was forced to provide passwords to email and social network accounts.”

On 25 December, the police “submitted the custody petition to the military court. The family of the suspect also submitted 400,000 baht bail request.” Prachatai reports: “as expected, [the military court] denied the bail request, saying that the charges carry high penalty and that the suspect might flee.”



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