The strange case of the still mostly unexplained lese majeste cases against a person known to be close to Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn and his assistant, and a police officer responsible for some lese majeste investigations gets stranger still.
The Nation reports that there are fears for the safety of these men, held incommunicado and, apparently, lawyer-less in a military facility. It is stated that “special wardens, made up of military officers and guards from the Corrections Department, has been appointed to take care of three suspects detained over in a high-profile lese majeste case.” It is added that the “wardens’ key responsibility is to ensure the three men’s well-being during detention…”. Having thugs in the military “take care” could be code for something else.
Suriyan Sujaritpalawong, Jirawong Wattanathewasilp, and Police Major Prakrom Warunprapha are at a “temporary detention facility at the 11th Military Circle on Bangkok’s Nakhon Chaisri Road.”
In moves that may or may not be legal – but in lese majeste cases, true legalities go out the window – the men have seen their assets seized. In the previous lese majeste case involving persons close to the prince’s palace, assets were also stripped from people like policeman Pongpat Chayapan is raids that were portrayed as revealing their ill-gotten gains but seemed to be more a stripping of unusual wealth gained in unspecified ways.
The report states that the “seized assets are being kept under tight security at the 11th Infantry Regiment…”. Things that make you go hmm.
Meanwhile, Thai Lawyers for Human Rights have stated that Suriyan appears to have been “a victim of enforced disappearance during the 6 days, from 16 October 2015 to 21 October 2015, according to International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance…”. They say that Suriyan was taken by the authorities on the evening of 16 October 2015. The police denied this. Then Suriyan did not appear again until 21 October when the police and military officers paraded him to the Bangkok Military Court.
It is also reported that a total of “13 police have been transferred to inactive posts, as inquiries are underway to determine whether they are also involved in the lese majeste case.” The jails won’t be large enough to accommodate all of these “lese majeste” detainees.