Prachatai rports reports yet another huge lese majeste sentence, with the Military Court sentencing 49 year-old accountant and single mother Chayapa Chokpornbutsri to 19 years imprisonment on lese majeste, computer crimes and sedition charges. She was sentenced in the absence of legal advice.
Sasinan Thamnithinan, a lawyer from Thai Lawyers for Human Rights, states that on 15 December 2015, the Military Court of Bangkok sentenced her. As is usual practice, her 19 years was halved because Chayapa was convinced by her captors to plead guilty.
Chayapha, a red shirt from Samut Prakan, was accused of lese majeste during a police media conference on 24 June 2015 after having been arrested under martial law on 23 June 2015.
In the media event soon after she was arrested, Chayapa was presented as having been responsible for “fabricating and disseminating news” about a “second coup.” She is reported to have used a pseudonym to post an image of a military tank with the message saying a counter-coup was on its way.
At the time of her being paraded as a “political criminal,” the police made another regular claim in such political “crimes.” They said a network and conspiracy was involved. They claimed that “[d]ata extracted from her computers revealed that Mrs Chayapa had contacted a man called Jack who was in Australia.” The police purport that “Jack” was “in the same group as anti-government activist Manoon or Anek Chaichacha, alias Anek Sanfran, a suspect in the bombing of the Criminal Court at Ratchadapisek.” Police and the military make this claim against Anek in order to make lese majeste an act of “terrorism.” They also claimed that Chayapa was “in contact” with Chatwadee Rose Amornpat, who is “also wanted by police on lese majeste charges.”
When she got to “court,” it sentenced her to 19 years imprisonment during a deposition hearing without informing her lawyer. Her lawyer reported that Chayapa pleaded guilty during the deposition hearing because she was “stressful about the court procedures and did not received consultation from her family [or lawyer]…”.
Chayapa was only informed by the authorities on 14 December 2015 that she was going to court and they did not inform Chayapa’s lawyer. She appeared and they sent her to jail, unrepresented. This is how “justice” operates under the military junta.