Burin Intin

BurinBurin Intin was arrested about 27 April 2016. He was taken from the police by soldiers and detained at a military base before the military court granted the first custody permission to the authorities to detain him. He was indicted for lese majeste and computer crime charges on 22 July 2016, almost three months after being detained.

On 27 January 2017, Burin was sentenced to 11 years and 4 months in jail on two lese majeste charges.

Said to be a member of the Resistant Citizen group, Burin was arrested as the military junta cracked down on dissidents. He was dragged before a military court to be detained for an initial 12 days as the police “investigated” the case before laying charges. The military regime stated that it had been monitoring Burin after he posted anti-junta comments online.

In fact, Burin had been campaigning online for the release of the eight from the Neo-Democracy and  Resistant Citizen groups. He reportedly posted a 40-minute video clip titled ‘I want to be kidnapped’ with the hashtag ‘Release our kidnapped friends’,” referring to the Facebook 8. He had joined several protests and was initially arrested with 15 others and taken to the Phaya Thai police station.

The military junta soon declared that Burin had committed lese majeste in his “private chats” on Facebook.

It was soon revealed that at least some of his chats were with Patnaree Chankij, the mother of activist student Sirawith Seritiwat, who has been charged with lese majeste in another bizarre case. The conversation was referred to by police using these (translated)  words:

In the [Facebook] chat, Mr. Burin who used his Facebook account named “Burin Intin” had posted messages obviously deemed defamatory to the monarchy. During the chat, Mr. Burin had also wrote “Don’t criticise me for saying all these”, and a reply had come from a Facebook account “Nuengnuch Chankij writing ‘Ja’.

On 11 May 2016, the Military Court in Bangkok also allowed police to detain Facebook 8 protesters Harit Mahaton and Natthika Worathaiwich on lese majeste accusations, along with Burin, who had been one of their supporters.

Burin, a welder from northern Thailand, was indicted on 22 July 2016.

Having been held for almost nine months, on 24 January 2017, Burin changed his plea before the military court to guilty on lese majeste and computer crimes charges. It is a common tactic of the thug-authorities to drag out lese majeste cases until they get a guilty plea. This tactic is a form of torture.

Burin has stated that, on “the night when he was detained at the military base in Bangkok, army officers demanded his Facebook password, but he resisted by keeping his mouth shut.” He claims that he was then beaten:

a heavily-built man in plain clothes, with a knitted hat, gave Burin four hard slaps on the head, while an interrogation officer threatened him by saying “You surely won’t survive. You won’t be able to get out [of this place]. If you won’t tell me [your password], I will take you somewhere where you will face even harsher treatment.”

Burin insists he did not give up his password yet police “used conversations claimed to have been obtained from Burin’s Facebook inbox as supporting evidence to press charges against him.”

None of this mattered, and he was jailed.

Media accounts of Burin’s case:

Bangkok Post, 28 January 2017: “Court hands ‘resistant citizen’ 11 years

Prachatai, 27 January 2017: “Anti-junta activist gets 11 years, 4 months in jail for lèse majesté

Prachatai, 25 January 2017: “Supporter of anti-junta activists confesses to lèse majesté

Prachatai, 22 July 2016: “Activist’s mom indicted for lèse majesté

Prachatai, 11 May 2016: “Military court detains two junta critics, their supporter for lѐse majesté

Bangkok Post, 8 May 2016: “Regime defends lese majeste arrest

Thai Lawyers for Human Rights, 7 May 2016: “Detained mother of pro-democracy activist charged with lèse-majesté

Bangkok Post, 30 April 2016: “Protester charged with lese majeste

Khaosod, 30 April 2016: “Lese Majeste Filed Against Two Facebookers, Anti-Junta Activist