Taem indicted on 112 charge

5 08 2022

Taem is the pseudonym of a “mentally ill former military conscript [who] was indicted on a lèse majesté charge on Wednesday for allegedly destroying pictures of … the King, in Trakan Phuet Phon district of the north-eastern province of Ubon Ratchathani on November 6th last year…”. He was also indicted for causing damage to state property  – i.e., destroying the royal portraits.

Thai PBS, using Thai Lawyers for Human Rights reporting, states that the 32 year-old “has denied the charge.”

Under police questioning, “Taem claimed that he did not intend to destroy the King’s pictures, but he did so because he heard a voice form ‘high above’ ordering him to do it, not knowing that they were the King’s pictures.” He said that “he started hearing voices after he was hospitalised for being hit hard in the head by a higher-ranked army officer.”

The police knew Taem had been receiving treatment for mental illness.

At first, the investigating police did not charge Taem under Article 112, “but this move was rejected by superiors at the Region 3 Provincial Police Bureau, who argued that destroying the King’s pictures was highly inappropriate and amounts to offending the monarchy.”

When first arrested, Taem was accused of damaging a portrait of the king in front of the Trakan Phuetphon district high school. He was detained while standing in front of a portrait of the king at a bus station, and later confessed to damaging three portraits of the king at various locations around the district.

He had to sign an arrest record before he was able to consult with a lawyer. He was released without bail on 8 November.

After this indictment, Taem was released on 90,000 baht bail and has been ordered to appear before the court for a hearing on 19 September 2022.

TLHR reports that “at least 10 people with histories of mental illness have been indicted on lèse majesté charges since the May 2014 coup and six of them have received prison sentences.”


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