50 years for red shirt

31 03 2015

In yet another lese majeste report, Prachatai tells us that a 58 year-old man it calls TS and known as “Yai Daengduad” (ใหญ่ แดงเดือด) has been sentenced by a military court sentenced to 50 years in jail for his alleged offenses.

Such a lengthy sentence is almost unheard of, even in the ridiculous realms of royalist Thailand and its notorious lese majeste law.

Tried in secret, the red-shirt businessman – TS has seen his name in the Thai-language media, but has requested that his name not be used. The yellow-shirted social media has had him all over their pages – was “accused of posting content defaming the monarchy on Facebook…”. His ludicrous sentence was halved to a still massive 25 years because he pleaded guilty. All those now charged with lese majeste know that they are likely to be found guilty by military courts, so a guilty plea is required in order to reduce the sentence.

The secret military trial found him guilty on five counts and gave him 10 years on each count.

The court claimed the trial needed to be secret “because the case is related to the revered [sic.] Thai monarchy and might affect public morale…”. We are entirely baffled by the latter claim. Probably the court fears that accounts that are critical of the monarchy will be confusing to a citizenry considered gullible.

While the sentence is one of the harshest ever, the military court stated: “The defendant insulted the beloved and revered Thai monarchy…. The sentence handed down by the court is already light…”.

TS was accused of posts between July and November 2014, that criticized the sufficiency economy idea often attributed to the king, compared the Bhutanese monarchy to Thailand’s, linked the coup leadership to the king, alleged “an important wealthy family involved with illegal opium business,” and discussed the king’s health.

We have the impression that, like The Dictator, his military courts would prefer execution for those who think differently.


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