More lese majeste secrecy

10 06 2015

112PPT believes that a new case of lese majeste has been reported at Prachatai. We do not think we have heard of the Facebook-related case of  Sasiwimol previously.

As with all lese majeste cases, this is a political charge and trial.

In Chiang Mai, back in September 2014, a vigilante Facebook group known as “Facebook Chiang Mai” filed a lese majeste complaint against a Facebook user “Rungnapha Kampichai” at a local police station. Shortly after that, “an individual whose real identity is Rungnapha Kampichai contacted the group, saying that the facebook account under her name does not belong to her.” Police then searched Sasiwimol’s house in Chiang Mai and seized her mobile phone and computer.

On 13 February 2015, Sasiwimol was accused “of posting six messages allegedly defaming the Thai monarchy on facebook. Sasiwimol was then brought to military court and Chiang Mai Women’s Correctional Institute for detention. She remained under custody since.”

On 9 June 2015, the 29 year-old mother of two and hotel employee appeared before a military court ion the lese majeste charge.

Sasiwimol’s case is “normal” in the bizarre world of Thailand’s lese majeste law not only because she was denied bail but because the military court conducted its hearing in secret. According to the court, this was because “the case is related to the revered [sic.] Thai monarchy and might cause instability and affect public morale.”

This is only a slight twist in the lese majeste story, which usually cites some weird notion of “national security,” and suggests that all lese majeste cases should be tried in secret courts because, by definition, they involve the monarchy.

All cases of lese majeste should also impact public morale because the public should be dismayed that the courts act for a feudal institution, implementing a law that is feudal and cruel and imposing restrictions, conditions and sentences that amount to torture.

Sasiwimol refused to plead guilty, stating that “she has never participated in any political demonstration and that she is not interested in politics.” Bail was denied because of the alleged “severity of the case.”

The next hearing will be on 8 July 2015.


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