Yuttapoom Martnork

Yuthapoom MartnokA quite bizarre case, far more bizarre than is usual for such cases of lese majeste, involves Yuttapoom Martnork. In May 2010, his brother accused him of lese majeste in an apparent case of sibling rivalry.

Remarkably, the police took the case up, despite plenty of evidence that the brothers were in dispute. In addition, the the alleged “crime” occurred in private, in the family home, with brother Thanawat as only accuser and witness, while other relatives say Yuttapoom is innocent. Yuttapoom claims his elder brother falsely accused him in a bid to seize the car-cleaning-liquid business they ran together. The accuser now controls the business.

The prosecution accuses him of “making defamatory comments against members of the royal family while watching TV news, and writing an insulting word against the monarchy on a compact disc.” Media operating in Thailand cannot publish the content of the alleged insults because doing so would also be a violation of the lese majeste law.

The defendant, who always insisted he was not guilty, was denied bail three times.

Chiranuch Premchaiporn states: “It’s a bizarre case that shows lese majeste can be used not just as a political weapon, but in any kind of conflict — even one involving a family…”.

On 13 September 2013, some sense prevailed in the court and Yuttapoom was acquitted for lack of evidence. The question remains of how it was that he spent time in jail and was denied bail.

Timeline:

6 May 2010: Yuttapoom’s elder brother presents a CD to officials.

19 November 2010: Yuttapoom surrenders himself to officials.

19 September 2012: The prosecutor of the Office of Attorney General submits a complaint tothe court, citing Article 112. Defendant denies the charges before the court. The court scheduled a first hearing for 12 November 2012. Bail requested and denied for fear of flight.

24 September 2012:  The Court of Appeal upheld the denial of bail citing “that the defendant was charged according to the Title 1 offence against security of the kingdom, Chapter 1 offence against the King which was a serious offence, the defendant might escape if he is release.”

26 March 2013:  The Court of Appeal again upheld the denial of bail “given that it is a serious charge, the defendant might escape if he is release.”

13 September 2013: Yuttapoom acquitted.

Media reports of Yutthapoom’s case:

The Guardian, 14 September 2013: “Thai man accused by brother of insulting king cleared after year in jail

Reuters, 13 September 2013: “Thai court frees man accused by brother of royal insult

AP, 13 September 2013: “Thai court acquits man accused of defaming king

Bangkok Post, 12 September 2013: “Lese majeste law makes family feud a battle royal

Bangkok Post, 20 August 2013: “Man in court after own kin accuses him

PPT, 22 May 2012: “Regularizing restrictions on free speech

Prachatai, 26 October 2012: “Latest lèse majesté defendant denied bail

7 responses

23 08 2013
Two lese majeste cases | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] Yutthapoom Martnork […]

23 08 2013
Two lese majeste cases | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] at the Bangkok Post, the quite bizarre case of the brother of Yutthapoom Martnork accusing him of lese majeste in an apparent case of sibling […]

12 09 2013
Friday’s lese majeste case | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] Yuttapoom Martnork is due in court to hear a verdict on Friday in his most bizarre of lese majeste cases. […]

13 09 2013
Yuttapoom free | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] reports that the court has acquitted Yuttapoom Martnork of lese majeste accusations brought by his estranged brother. Apparently the court considered that […]

13 09 2013
Yuttapoom free | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] reports that the court has acquitted Yuttapoom Martnork of lese majeste accusations brought by his estranged brother. Apparently the court considered that […]

14 09 2013
Tied in knots on lese majeste | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] A family feud between two brothers led one of them to take the other to court on a lese majeste charge for activities in the confines of a private home. Only in Thailand, some might say. […]

14 09 2013
Tied in knots on lese majeste | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] A family feud between two brothers led one of them to take the other to court on a lese majeste charge for activities in the confines of a private home. Only in Thailand, some might say. […]