Sirichai’s two lese majeste charges

15 01 2021

Clipped from the Bangkok Post

The Bangkok Post has a detailed account of Sirichai “New” Natueng’s arrest and the now two lese majeste charges against him.

PPT posted yesterday on the then breaking news and the first case against him. In that case, he faces both a lese majeste charge and another of vandalizing property under Article 358 of the Criminal Code. In this case he “allegedly spray-painted text about taxes and the abolition of Section 112, ironically one of the offences he was accused of committing, over an image of royals and the nameplate of the university’s Rangsit campus in six spots in the area in total. The incident took place on Jan 10.”

The report also provides more details on the police action against him. It states that he was first taken into custody by Khlong Luang police at 9pm on 13 January. Sirichai said “he had asked to exercise his right to a lawyer but police denied his request.” Thailand’s police seem unconstrained by law or constitution.

Two hours later he was able to talk to his lawyer but that call “was cut short by police who seized his phone.” He was then transported to the Border Patrol Police Region 1 base, “but after 10 minutes police took him back to his dormitory for a search.” Sirichai states that no warrant was presented until after the search.

The Post reports that Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) posted seven observations. We reproduce some of this:

First, the court approved his arrest warrant for the lese majeste charge even though the persons in question are not protected by the law….

Second, the court approved a nighttime search warrant, specifically from 9pm onward. The Criminal Procedures Code allows a search to be done only from sunrise to sunset with a few exceptions — when it is a continuation of a search that has begun during the daytime, when it is a severe emergency, or when arresting a serious crime suspect, which requires special permission first.

Third, police only allowed him to talk to lawyers only briefly and he could not be later contacted.

Fourth, the police refused to reveal where they detained him. Instead, they lied to his friends who showed up in his support and moved him to various places. They explained later the disclosure of the place might obstruct the search…. It is illegal detention and a short-term forced disappearance — a critical violation of rights….

Fifth, police [sh]ould not take him to Border Patrol Police headquarters. By law, a suspect must be detained at the office of interrogators.

Sixth, police began the search without showing a warrant. They showed them only after the search was done. They did not make records at the place of search. Instead, they made them hours after the evidence was brought back to the police station, making it impossible to verify whether the items were really from the suspect’s room.

Seventh, it marked the first lese majeste case that a court approved an arrest warrant for since Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha issued a statement on Nov 19 he would enforce all laws to deal with demonstrators. Up until now, the court denied police requests for arrest warrants. Other suspects were simply summonsed to acknowledge charges and then freed.

Later at 12pm on Thursday, Pratunam Chulalongkorn police of Pathum Thani Province “arrived at the Thanyaburi Court and informed Mr Sirichai of another lese majeste charge for the same incident, which also covered their jurisdiction…. They did not seek to detain him and it now depends on prosecutors whether to charge him in court.”



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