Piya J.

112Piya J. was arrested by police on 11 December 2014 for allegedly defaming the monarchy on Facebook with “defamatory” comments and pictures of the king on 27 and 28 July 2013.

He was convicted on 20 December 2016 and sentenced to 9 years, reduced by a third. Later, on 10 October 2016, he was sentenced to an additional 8 years on a second lese majeste charge associated with these posts, deemed defamatory of the king.

The Technology Crime Suppression Division police arrested Piya in Bangkok and used the draconian and feudal lese majeste and the Computer Crimes Act against him.

As is common in royalist Thailand, it was a bunch of lese majeste vigilantes from Nan and Nakhon Pathom who made the complaint in mid-2013.

Piya was said to have used the Facebook profile of Pongsathorn Bantorn. The police claim Piya, aged 46 and a computer programmer, admitted his guilt while under interrogation. Piya denied the charges. In fact, during the deposition hearing at the Criminal Court he claimed that the account was not his and that it was a fake account using his publicly available profile photo.

The court allowed a secret trial and the only incriminating evidence produced in this case is reportedly an image of the king on a mobile phone. Other computer evidence and IP addresses “were not considered on the case.” According to the report there was only “weak evidence” against Piya. The court, however, accepted “the testimony of Achariya Ruangratpong, one of the plaintiff[s], as primary evidence on the case.” In most courts around the rest of the world, this evidence would be inadmissible or considered hearsay.

A former officer of the Stock Exchange of Thailand, Piya claims that he never participated in any political demonstrations and said that he had no interest in politics.

The second case was heard at the criminal court. The 48 year-old programmer now faces 14 years in jail. Piya states he will appeal on both cases.

Media accounts of Piya’s case:

Prachatai, 10 October 2016: “Facebook user gets additional eight years for lèse majesté

Prachatai, 20 January 2016: “Facebook user gets 6 years imprisonment for lèse majesté

Prachatai, 26 May 2015: “Criminal court holds preliminary hearing of lèse majesté suspect in camera

Prachatai, 9 March 2015: “Programmer suspect denies lese majeste charges at court

Prachatai, 12 December 2014: “Police arrest man for lèse majesté on Facebook

 

4 responses

9 03 2015
Lese majeste witch hunts expand | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] Piya J. is computer programmer who was arrested by police on 11 December 2014 for allegedly defaming the monarchy on Facebook. As is common, it was a bunch of lese majeste vigilantes who made the complaint in mid-2013. […]

9 03 2015
Lese majeste witch hunts expand | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] Piya J. is computer programmer who was arrested by police on 11 December 2014 for allegedly defaming the monarchy on Facebook. As is common, it was a bunch of lese majeste vigilantes who made the complaint in mid-2013. […]

11 10 2016
Court sentences man a second time on lese majeste | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] reports that Piya J., previously sentenced to 9 years (reduced to 6) on a lese majeste charge, has now been sentenced in […]

11 10 2016
Court sentences man a second time on lese majeste | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] reports that Piya J., previously sentenced to 9 years (reduced to 6) on a lese majeste charge, has now been sentenced in […]