The inhumane acts of the military courts continue. “Inhumane” is a polite terms for yet another case of a mammoth sentence for lese majeste. Prachatai reports that another person has been sentenced to decades in jail for allegedly “insulting” the monarchy. In Thailand, a Facebook post is now a far more serious “crime” than murder, human smuggling and myriad other real crimes.
The report states that “in northern Thailand sentenced a hotel employee with two children to 28 years behind bars for posting messages alleged as defamation to the Thai monarchy on facebook.”
Thai Lawyers for Human Rights state that the “military court of the northern province of Chiang Mai on Friday afternoon, 7 August 2015, sentenced Sasiwimol (surname withheld due to privacy concerns), a 29-year-old employee of a hotel in the province, to 56 years in jail for allegedly posting seven lese majeste messages under the Facebook identity ‘Rungnapha Kampichai’.”
The military court handed out 8 years for each of the seven lese majeste counts. The royal loonies on the military bench then declared that “since the defendant pleaded guilty as charged,” the sentence was halved to 28 years.
Sasiwimol had initially pleaded not guilty, which always incurs the wrath of the royalist military, courts and prosecutors, but yesterday she retracted her pretrial statements and pleaded guilty. The military court then set about its punishment in the name of the king, ignoring her plea:
Prior to the ruling, Sasiwimol submitted a letter to the court, requesting the judges to reduce the jail sentence because she has never committed any crime and is a mother of two daughters aged seven and five. The military court judges dismissed the request and reasoned that the jail sentence is already light since case is severe because it is related to the revered Thai monarchy and gravely affected public sentiment of Thai people.
Sasiwimol was, in September 2014, a victim of the royalist vigilante Facebook group Facebook Chiang Mai, which filed the lese majeste complaint that eventually led to the charges against her.
Shortly after, an individual whose real identity is Rungnapha Kampichai contacted the group, saying that the Facebook account under her name does not belong to her.
Since 13 February 2015, she has been held in custody with bail refused at least four times.