Anchan Preelerd

AnchanAnchan Preelerd was arrested on by the military when her house was raided on 25 January 2015, and she was taken to a military camp. Her whereabouts was unknown until the sixth day after her arrest.

On 2 February 2015, police announced the initial six arrests of those in the so-called Banpot network. The Banpot 6 became the Banpot 8, then the Banpot 10 and Banpot 12 as the military dictatorship expanded arrests. Later, a further two were arrested, making it the Banpot 14. Those arrested were charged with lese majeste and other crimes. Anchan was in this group.

Ten of the alleged Banpot group were sentenced to jail on 14 July 2015, by a military court. Two were acquitted of lese majeste charges but found guilty of supporting the network. Two others decided to defend the case, which we said, a year ago, would probably means the torture of many months awaiting trial as the authorities attempt to convince them that a guilty plea is required.

The Department of Special Investigation pressed lese majeste charge with 29 offenses on Anchan. The military prosecutor accused Anchan of publicising the Banpot clips on YouTube and Facebook, by using various usernames, such as anchana siri, Malee root, un un and Petch Prakery. The clips were uploaded from 12 November 2014 to 24 January 2015.

That “lese majeste torture” turned out to be a year before the court heard the first witness. On 24 January 2016, the first plaintiff witness testified in the court case against Anchan P. The witness was Pol Lt Col Olarn Sukkasem from the Technological Crime Suppression Division, known for having given prosecution evidence in numerous lese majeste cases following the 2014 coup. The second plaintiff witness is scheduled to testify to the military court on 16 May 2016.

When Anchan was first arrested she was 58 years old and was about to retire after working for the Revenue Department for more than 30 years. Because she has become a lese majeste suspect, she will not get any pension and benefits for her three decades of service.

She was finally sentenced on 19 January 2021, almost six years after her arrest, Anchan was sentenced to a mammoth 87 years in prison, with the sentence reduced because she finally agreed to plead guilty because she had already spent three years in prison pending her trial. The “reduced” sentence was 43 years and 6 months, said to be the longest sentence ever under Article 112.

She is appealing. If the sentence holds and she gets no remissions, Anchan would be aged about 107 years on her release. Quite a punishment for sharing material on social media that the authorities felt maligned a king.

Her bail request was refused on 20 January 2021.

Media accounts of the Anchan’s case:

Prachatai, 8 July 2021: “UN body petitioned over record-breaking prison sentence in lèse-majesté case

Prachatai, 21 January 2021: “Bail denied for the longest Lèse-majesté prisoner

Prachatai, 20 January 2021: “63-year-old woman sentenced to 43 years in jail on 29 lèse majesté offences

Thai PBS, 20 January 2021: “Thai woman handed record four-decade jail term for lese majeste

The Nation, 19 January 2021: “Record 87-year lèse majesté sentence condemned by global rights bodies

Khaosod, 19 January 2021: “For Sharing ‘Anti-Monarchy’ Audio Clips, Woman Gets 43 Years in Jail

Prachatai, 11 March 2016: “A year after arrest, 1st witness testify in lese majeste case against Anchan

The Shillong Times, 15 July 2015: “Thai military court jails ten for insulting monarchy

NDTV, 14 July 2014: “Thailand Court Jails 10 From ‘Anti-Monarchy’ Network

VOA, 14 July 2015: “Thai Court Jails 10 for Online Videos Insulting Monarchy

AFP, 14 July 2015: “Thai court jails 10 from ‘anti-monarchy’ network

Khaosod, 14 July 2015: “10 Jailed for Running Anti-Monarchy Broadcasting Network

Straits Times, 14 July 2015: “Thailand’s military court jails 10 people for insulting monarchy with audio, video recordings

AP, 14 July 2015: “Thai court jails 10 for online videos insulting the monarchy

Prachatai, 14 July 2015: “Military court sends 8 to jail for 5 years for lèse majesté

Prachatai, 9 February 2015: “Police identify Banpodj, arrest 2 more for lèse majesté

Prachatai, 2 February 2015: “Police arrest 6 suspects in the alleged online lese majeste network