Sarawut (family name withheld)

112Sarawut (surname withheld), an optometrist in Chiang Rai was charged with lese majeste before a military court, accused of defaming Prince Vajiralongkorn.

On 11 October 2016, the Military Court of Chiang Rai granted police permission to detain the 32-year-old father. He was also charged under the 2007 Computer Crimes Act.

Though Sarawut’s lawyer told the court judges that his client has to take care of his young sons, yet a bail request with a land title deed valued at 400,000 baht as surety, was denied citing flight risk and the severity of the charges.

The investigation of Sarawut’s case began when soldiers from the 37th Military Circle of Chiang Rai filed a complaint under Article 112 against Sarawut on 21 July 2016.

After the complaint was filed, the police confiscated Sarawut’s electronic devices with a search warrant on 26 August 2016.

On 26 October 2016, a military court again denied bail. Earlier, Sarawut’s relatives and lawyer had offered a land title as bail surety along with cash, amounting to 500,000 baht in total. As usual, the military court denied bail, blathering about “the severity of the charges, flight risk and fear that the suspect might commit further crimes.”

On 17 November 2016, the Military Court of the northern Chiang Rai Province granted bail to Sarawut.

He again appeared before the military court on 29 December 2016, and was indicted and held in custody.

When Sarawut again appeared before a military court on 7 February 2017, he vowed to prove his innocence. It seems he has been granted bail.

His next appearance before the court on 11 April 2017.

Media accounts of Sarawut’s case:

Prachatai, 7 February 2017: “Opthamologist accused of lèse majesté deny charges

Prachatai, 7 January 2017: “Optometrist indicted for lèse majesté

Prachatai, 18 November 2016: “Lèse majesté suspect arrested for posting images of Crown Prince released

Khaosod, 27 October 2016: “Military court denies bail for lèse-majesté suspect again

Khaosod, 11 October 2016: “Military court detains man for posting images of Crown Prince