Silence required

1 12 2015

As the corruption allegations regarding the military’s Rajabhakti Park refuse to go away and look increasingly likely to bring down former Army boss and junta member and Deputy Defence Minister General Udomdej Sitabutr, the junta is cracking down on critical commentary.

One instance was the detention of red shirt leaders. That was a shot at opponents who sought to “politicize” the corruption case. A second instance is reported at the Bangkok Post and at Prachatai.

Remarkably, the military junta has charged a 61 year-old  woman with sedition for Facebook shares and . computer crimes.

Juthathip Verochanakorn appeared before a military court on Tuesday “for allegedly sharing Facebook posts accusing the military of graft in building a multi-million dollar memorial to the monarchy.”

Everyone knows, as the Post has it, that the project “has been engulfed in corruption allegations,” acknowledged by Udomdej and then swept aside by junta whitewashing. Prachatai notes that Udomdej admitted that corruption on the project was “rife.”

Yet for Facebook shares, Juthathip now faces seven years in jail on the sedition charge and more jail time for computer crimes.

Police say “[t]here were around 20 lines of Facebook posts making comments about government corruption and Rajabhakti Park…”. They claim the reports are “false,” but how would anyone judge this based on the military dictatorship’s whitewashing and covering up?

The Post notes that “[p]rosecutions under sedition and computer crime laws have increased dramatically since the military seized power…”.