On 15 December 2015, the Military Court of Bangkok sentenced the 49-year-old accountant and single mother to 19 years in jail for offenses under Article 112 of the Criminal Code, lese majeste law, Article 116, sedition law, and Article 14 of the 2007 Computer Crime Act (importation of illegal online contents).
As is usual, her sentence was halved for a guilty plea that are forced on all those about to head to the biased royalist courts or the ridiculous military courts.
In the media event soon after she was arrested, Chayapa was presented as having been arrested for “fabricating and disseminating news” about a “second coup.”
PPT has earlier posted that stories of internal discord within the military had spooked the dictatorship although we noted that some reports about the source of the rumors seemed highly unlikely.
The police told a press conference that Chayapa was arrested in Samut Prakan’s Muang district by the military “for questioning under martial law.” The military court only issued a warrant after her arrest. She was accused of being a Facebook account holder using the name of “Chanisa B” where the police and military claim the first “news that there would be another coup by the same group of people who staged the latest coup last year” was posted.
The military dictatorship is convinced that the “news” caused “the public to panic.” There’s no evidence for this at all. Police also stated:
Apart from posting the “second coup” coup news, Mrs Chayapa was also found to have posted messages deemed insulting to the monarchy in violation of Section 112 of the Criminal Code and the Computer Crime Act.
The police claim that “Mrs Chayapa confessed to the charges.” The police invariably make such claims in these media circuses. It is not clear that she has “confessed” to lese majeste accusations.
The police then made another regular claim in such political “crimes.” They say that a network and conspiracy was involved. They claim that “[d]ata extracted from her computers revealed that Mrs Chayapa had contacted a man called Jack who was in Australia.” The police purport that “Jack” was “in the same group as anti-government activist Manoon or Anek Chaichacha, alias Anek Sanfran, a suspect in the bombing of the Criminal Court at Ratchadapisek.” Police and the military make this claim against Anek in order to make lese majeste an act of “terrorism.”
They also claim that Chayapa was “in contact” with Chatwadee Rose Amornpat, who is “also wanted by police on lese majeste charges.”
When she got to “court,” it sentenced her to 19 years imprisonment during a deposition hearing without informing her lawyer. Her lawyer reported that Chayapa pleaded guilty during the deposition hearing because she was “stressful about the court procedures and did not received consultation from her family [or lawyer]…”.
Chayapa was only informed by the authorities on 14 December 2015 that she was going to court and they did not inform Chayapa’s lawyer. She appeared and they sent her to jail, unrepresented. This is how “justice” operates under the military junta.
Media accounts of Chayapa’s case:
Khaosod, 16 December 2015: “Woman Convicted of Sedition for Facebook Rumor”
Prachatai, 15 December 2015: “Single mom gets 9 years, 6 months imprisonment for lese majeste”
Bangkok Post, 24 June 2015: “Woman nabbed for disseminating coup news online“