Lese majeste and the crushing of justice

8 07 2016

In a couple of posts, about a year ago, PPT referred to the “development” of “legal” notions that seemed to amount to a new “law” that we dubbed “lese dictateur.” This “law” was protecting The Dictator, General Prayuth Chan-ocha.

At the time, we did not link this “law” to the Bike for Dad shenanigans and the clutch of lese majeste cases that resulted from very odd claims about an “assassination plot.”

Bike for dad

At the time of the Bike for Dad event, celebrating the king and and supposedly organized by  and showcasing Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn, it was never made clear who the target of the “plot” was.

We do know that the event resulted in the “death” in custody of two men who had been close to the prince. In neo-feudal Thailand, the deaths of Suriyan Sujaritpalawong and Police Major Prakrom Warunprapha were never adequately investigated or explained.

It was never made clear how the “plotters” – referred to by the media and regime as “terrorists” – had committed lese majeste. Rumors were that the “target” was The Dictator himself. If that was so, then it was unclear how lese majeste was a charge.

In other words, the Bike for Dad deaths and plot were shrouded in neo-feudal and military junta-imposed secrecy and a fog of rumor.

Prachatai reports that this in not going to change. The trial, in a provincial military court, of the alleged “plotters” will be held in secret:

Citing national peace and order, a military court has given the green light to the prosecution’s request to hold the trial of six lèse majesté suspects in secret. They are alleged to have been involved in a Bike for Dad terrorist plot and making lèse majesté comments behind bars.

The “Military Court in Khon Kaen approved the military prosecutor’s request to hold a secret trial for Prathin Chanket and five other suspects charged with lèse majesté, arguing that a public trial would affect national peace and order since the case contained sensitive messages…”.

The secret trial will begin on 4 August 2016.

This trial now revolves around the six suspects being accused of, “some time between August 2014 and February 2015, the defendants uttered three lèse majesté messages to two witnesses.” (They still face cases under other laws for a “terrorist” plot.)

That, apparently, is the totality of lese majeste aspect of the allegations.

Remarkably, according to Thai Lawyers for Human Rights, “during that time [when they committed the alleged lese majeste], the defendants were being detained separately at a prison in Khon Kaen Province.”

It is understood they were being held as defendants in another murky case brought by the military dictatorship, claiming they plotted separate anti-coup actions in 2014, when they were arrested and jailed.

As might be expected from persons already incarcerated, all the defendants therefore denied the lese majeste allegation.

Prayuth’s authoritarian Thailand is a lawless place where justice is crushed under the military boot.


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