2015 was something of a record year for lese majeste cases, charges and allegations. We say this despite a recent article in the Bangkok Post was potentially misleading.
Nothing could be further from the truth for the data seem to be only for cases in civilian courts. Under the junta, however, all cases now go to a military court.
That said, 2012, under the Yingluck Shinawatra government, pressured by the military and monarchy, represented an inglorious record under an elected government.
At the website of iLAW, a rights advocacy group, 62 persons have been charged with the lese majeste under the junta. We think this is also an underestimate of those accused/charged and those convicted.
The real figure is in excess of 110. Lese majeste cases associated with to crackdowns on palace-connected persons number around 30 to 40 alone. On average, when sentenced, the length of jail time has increased substantially.
Under the military, even criticizing the lese majeste law is dangerous and can land critics in jail.
On new lese majeste cases, Prachatai reports on what might be the first case in 2016.
One of the men accused of being a part of a plot to assassinate unnamed persons at an unknown spot in December, is now charged with lese majeste.
Thanakrit Thongngernperm has been transferred from Khon Kaen Provincial Prison to the 11th Military Base in Bangkok.
He is alleged to have defamed the monarchy while talking to other inmates in Khon Kaen Prison.
The military and police earlier “accused Thanakrit of being one of the nine suspects in a terrorist plot around Bike for Dad, a cycling rally to honour … the King on 11 December 2015.”
Of course, Thanakrit is the accused who has already been in jail for more than a year and is accused of being involved in the “assassination plot” while in jail.
Lawyers say that all nine alleged “plotters” have been charged with lese majeste.