In recent posts, based on current lese majeste cases and deaths in military custody, we concluded that Thailand is administered by thugs, scoundrels and liars. Sadly, we must add that the military junta and its enforcers are also as mad as hatters.
This story at Prachatai is so bizarre and if one considers the direction being taken, so frightening that we reproduce it in full. The essence of the story is that a 77 year old has been charged with sedition for presenting a flower to an anti-coup activist:
The authorities arrested and pressed sedition charge against a 77-year-old teacher for giving flowers to support an anti-junta activist.
According to Free Thai Legal Aid (FTLA), the FTLA lawyers on Monday 10 am, 26 October 2015, submitted a bail request for Preecha Kaewbanpaew, a 77-year-old retired teacher, to the Military Court of Bangkok.
At around 2 pm, the Military Court granted bail to the retired teacher with 150,000 baht bond, confiscating his Government Saving Bank’s Lottery and 1,000 baht cash as surety.
According to Winyat Chatmontri, the General Secretary of the FTLA, Preecha is charged with Article 116 of the Criminal Code, the sedition law, and the violation of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO)’s Order No. 7/2014 for participating in a political gathering of more than five people.
Winyat told Prachatai that the retired teacher was charged for giving flowers to support Pansak Srithep, a pro-democracy activist and the father of a boy killed by the military during the 2010 political violence, while the activist was leading a three-day march called “I Walk Therefore I Am” on 15 March 2015 to campaign against the use of military courts to try civilians. The march was organised by Resistant Citizen, an anti-junta activist group which started.
He also joined the march briefly from the Democracy Monument to Thammasat University, Tha Prachan Campus.
Preecha was only informed about his charges and that there was an arrest warrant against him when he was arrested by the immigration officers and sent to Chana Songkhram Police Station in Bangkok on Sunday, 25 October 2015, while he was about to travel to Laos for sightseeing.
He was detained at Chana Songkhram Police Station for a night for interrogation.
Similarly to the retired teacher, Pansak and three other activists from the Resistant Citizen Group are also accused of sedition and of violating the junta’s political gathering ban for their anti-junta activities
Article 116 of the Criminal Code or the sedition law states that whoever makes apparent to the public by words, writing or any other means anything which is not an act within the purpose of the constitution or which is not the expression of an honest opinion or criticism (a) in order to bring about a change in the laws or the government by the use of coercion or violence, (b) in order to raise confusion or disaffection amongst the people to the point of causing unrest in the kingdom, or (c) have people violate the law, shall be punished with imprisonment not exceeding seven years.
It seems that flowers have a power that the military junta cannot abide. They really are demonstrating that they are barking mad.