Lese majeste-like arrest

21 02 2020

While lese majeste arrests are no longer permitted in Thailand, other laws are used to arrest those the regime and palace believe are insulting the king or monarchy.

The most recent case is reported by Prachatai.

Thai Lawyers for Human Rights is quoted on the case of a Twitter user arrested under the Computer Crimes Act, allegedly for tweets, images and satirical messages about King Vajiralongkorn. Taken before a court, he has been refused bail.

On 19 February, TLHR received complaints from a Twitter user “anonymous_” (@ ssj_2475), who identified himself as a 20-year-old living in Chonburi. Apparently without a warrant, at about 10.30 am, some 10 uniformed and plainclothes police had searched his family home, confiscating two phones, and took him and his parents to the Pattaya police station. The action apparently related to his tweets about the king. At the station, the parents were separated from him.

The police demanded “cooperation” and demanded phone passwords on threat of prosecution. They then identified more than 30 messages from his Twitter account, many of which were related in various ways to the monarchy. He was taken before a court the next day.

Police officers claimed the arrest was in pursuit of a “movement against the monarchy.”

An aspect of this case will be how the police link the arrested man to the posting of anonymous tweets.

Lese majeste may not be used much these days, but other laws are used to “protect” the monarchy.



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