Tanet Nonthakot

112Tanet Nonthakot was arrested on 2 July 2014 and accused of sending an email to “Emilio Esteban,” said to be residing in Spain and who ran the Stop Lèse Majesté blog. Charged with lese majeste, Tanet was convicted on 25 June 2015.

In 2009, Nat Sattayapornpisut and Suwicha Thakor were arrested and found guilty of lese majeste and offenses under the Computer Crimes Act for contacting Estaban in 2009. The Stop Lese Majeste website no longer exists, but this did not prevent 10 military officers and plainclothes policemen raiding Tanet’s house in 2014 and arresting him on the orders of the military junta.

He was initially detained at a military camp for 7 days and was later transferred into police custody after he agreed to confess to sending the email to Estaban. Police charged him under Article 112 and Article 116 (for instigating unrest) of the Criminal Code and Article 14 (3) of the Computer Crimes Act.

As is standard in lese majeste cases, the Criminal Court in Bangkok dismissed a bail request by Tanet. Reportedly HIV positive, his poor health was rejected as a reason for bail. As usual, the court claimed the suspect is charged with a serious crime related to national security. The judge stated that Tanet was accused of “distributing false information that could affect public sentiment and aimed to harm the reputation of the beloved Thai monarchy. This is related to national security. The suspect has conducted a serious crime and might escape. Although the suspect claimed that he is in poor health and need to be taken care of by physicians, the proof is not sufficient [a medical certificate]. Therefore, the court cannot allow temporary release…”.

The criminal court, operating in camera, sentenced Tanet to three years and four months in jail, reduced from 5 years for “useful testimony.” The verdict and the trial were conducted in secret “as the content of the case is sensitive to national security…”.

Tanet admitted sending the link, but claimed that he did so when suffering paranoid schizophrenia and his lawyers submitted a doctor’s certificate as evidence of this illness. One report states that Tanet has a history of mental illness. A psychologist at his trial testified that Tanet suffered from a mental health illness but that he was fit to stand trial and was aware of his actions when the alleged offense took place. The judge ruled that the defendant should have to prove that he was unable to control himself when he sent the email.

This case should embarrass every Thai and should shame those in the palace who allow the continued use of this feudal law, most recently by the military junta. Of course, we recognize that these are the very people who demand the law be in palace to protect their “freedom” to abuse, control and exploit with impunity. And, Tanet is not the first person with a mental illness to be convicted under this horrid law.

Media accounts of Tanet’s case:

AFP, 25 June 2015: “Mentally Challenged Thai Man Jailed for Lese Majeste

Prachatai, 25 June 2015: “Mentally ill man jailed 3 years for sending lèse majesté link

Prachatai, 14 October 2014: “Thai court dismisses bail request of lèse majesté suspect with health problems

Prachatai, 22 August 2014: “Man charged with lèse majesté for sending links to Stop Lèse Majesté blog

5 responses

27 06 2015
Mentally challenged Thai man jailed for lese majeste | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] Tanet Nonthakot is the second person in the last month suffering from a mental health condition to be convicted under Thailand’s notorious lese majeste legislation – one of the world’s strictest. […]

27 06 2015
Mentally challenged Thai man jailed for lese majeste | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] Tanet Nonthakot is the second person in the last month suffering from a mental health condition to be convicted under Thailand’s notorious lese majeste legislation – one of the world’s strictest. […]

30 06 2015
Rose on the lawless country with the king as head of state | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] lese majeste law, a controversial royal defamation law, despite having a history of mental illness. Tanet Nonthakot, 45, from northeastern Phetchabun province, is the second person in the last few months suffering […]

30 06 2015
Rose on the lawless country with the king as head of state | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] lese majeste law, a controversial royal defamation law, despite having a history of mental illness. Tanet Nonthakot, 45, from northeastern Phetchabun province, is the second person in the last few months suffering […]

15 04 2020
Another lese majeste casualty | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] In mid-2012, Thitinant Kaewchantranont was accused of lese majeste and convicted on 21 May 2014. Tanet Nonthakot was arrested on 2 July 2014 and accused of lese majeste, and convicted on 25 June 2015. In Chiang […]