Seeking to strangle protest II

6 08 2020

As several posts have indicated, regime efforts are continuing to limit criticism of the regime and monarch.

A few days ago, it is reported that prosecutors have brought computer crimes charges – a replacement lese majeste charge – against 26 year-old political activist Karn Pongpraphapan. He is due to front the Criminal Court on 14 September, accused “over comments about the monarchy that allegedly caused public disorder and affected the [k]ingdom’s security.” Prosecutors say “that Karn is sued over 2 public Facebook posts during 2 – 4 October 2019. One post compared the fates of monarchies in Russia, France, Germany, Greece and Laos. The second post commented on the hashtag #ขบวนเสด็จ (#RoyalMotorcade), a popular hashtag used to criticize the Thai monarchy at the time.”

Karn has denied all the charges and he has been bailed.

He “was arrested at his house on 7 October 2019 by the Technology Crime Suppression Division (TCSD)…. His smartphone and laptop were seized.”

This case can be read as a threat to young protesters, making Karn an example. This is something that was previously seen in the lese majeste conviction of Jatuphat Boonpattaraksa.

Related, with Arnon Nampa’s recent audacious speech on the monarchy to activists on Monday, as expected, Khaosod reports that, on Wednesday, Vice Minister of the Office of the Prime Minister Apiwat Kantong has “filed a police complaint accusing a leader [Arnon] of a recent Harry Potter-themed political rally of defaming the monarchy.” That’s code for lese majeste.

Apiwat claimed: “His speeches infringed upon the monarchy, revered among all Thais…. He distorted the truth, and made disparaging, mocking, and instigating remarks that invited others to criticize the monarchy in a public space.” He added: “Arnon and the unnamed person who is supporting the protest broke the Emergency Decree as well as many criminal laws,” Apiwat said. “He wanted to damage the monarchy and create division in the country.” In other words, he is claiming (another) lom chao plot.

Around the same time, “[p]olice … summoned five organisers of student-led protests against the government, saying they had violated a coronavirus emergency decree that forbids large gatherings…”. This included Arnon who was “being summoned over an earlier protest in July outside the army headquarters.” Police stated that “they were looking into what took place at Monday’s protest…”.



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