Updated: 112 = 55+

22 01 2021

The tally of known lese majeste cases has now shot past 50 and is heading for 60. These known cases involved almost 100 counts of lese majeste.

The graphic is from Prachatai:

Update: Pravit Rojanaphruk’s comments in an op-ed are fitting: “Draconian, disproportionate, anachronistic, outrageous, barbaric, unjust…”.

So are the BBC’s Jonathan Head’s comments, in the same article, commenting on Anchan’s bail application being rejected :

“This sums up the madness of lese majeste, and the warped reasoning it produces. How many royalists were ‘traumatized’ by the podcasts this lady posted? How many even heard them? Does the judge know?”





Updated: Inhumane junta-style lese majeste

20 01 2021

Clipped from Prachatai

Following the 2014 military coup, the junta set about repressing opponents, wielding Article 112. This mostly involved red shirts, their associates and those considered anti-monarchist. The junta used military courts and secret trials and the tame and royalist judiciary began handing out mammoth lese majeste sentences, some of them in the range 30-50 years.

After the much-hyped 112 hiatus, attributed to King Vajiralongkorn, the anti-monarchism of the past year or so has scared the palace and the regime witless. The result is that old, languishing cases are back on, there are some 54 new cases, and the sentences being meted out are again in stratospheric realms of the unbelievable.

The most recent case, that of the 63 year-old Anchan P., breaks sad records. She’s been declared guilty and was “sentenced to 87 years in prison, with the sentence reduced because of her confession and 3 years spent in prison pending her trial. The net sentence is 43 years and 6 months, the longest sentence ever under Section 112.” It seems that “[c]harges were brought under the lèse majesté law and the Computer Crime Act, but as the offences violated more than one law, the court ruled on the most serious offence, which is lèse majesté.”

In fact, we have a record of a longer sentence: Kamonthat Thanathornkhositjira was convicted and sentenced to 150 years on 33 charges including lese majetse; reduced to 50 years. But she had a long list of charges when she was declared guilty of lese majeste, fraud, falsifying documents and “invoking the royal institution.”

Anchan was by the military when her house was raided on 25 January 2015, and she was taken to a military camp. Her whereabouts was unknown until the sixth day after her arrest.

She was one of the initial six arrests of those associated with the so-called Banpot network. The Banpot 6 became the Banpot 8, then the Banpot 10 and Banpot 12 as the military dictatorship expanded arrests. Later, a further two were arrested, making it the Banpot 14. Some reports are that 16 people were eventually charged.

Ten of the alleged Banpot group were sentenced on 14 July 2015, by a military court. Two were acquitted of lese majeste charges but found guilty of supporting the network. Two others decided to defend the case, which meant long delays and “lese majeste torture.” The authorities prefer a guilty plea and it seems it took this long to get one from Anchan.

Anchan’s lawyer has filed an appeal and requested bail but “Anchan is now detained in the Central Women Correctional Institution, awaiting the court’s decision.”

If the sentence holds and she gets no remissions, Anchan would be aged about 107 years on her release. Quite a punishment for sharing material on social media that the authorities felt maligned a king.

This kind of sentencing should make the current regime an international pariah. Forget questions of human rights, this is an inhumane regime. On lese majeste, there is no justice as it is a political charge for the purposes of political repression.

Update: Prachatai reports that on 20 January, the Court of Appeal refused Anchan’s bail request:

According to the ruling, the reasons for the objection are due to her high prison sentence, the defendant also had confessed, her actions had brought derogation to the institution of monarchy which “affected the mind of people who are loyal” and which that the lèse majesté case relates to the security of the kingdom.





Bail after almost 4 years in prison

11 11 2018

On 2 February 2015, police announced the initial 6 arrests of the so-called Banpot network for lese majeste. The arrests had taken place days previously, with those arrested held incommunicado by the military.

The Banpot 6 became the Banpot 8, then the Banpot 10 and Banpot 12 as the military dictatorship expanded arrests. Later, a further two were arrested, making it the Banpot 14. On on 25 January 2015, Anchan P., then 58, was one of those arrested and charged with lese majeste.

On 24 January 2016, the first of the plaintiff’s witnesses testified. The witness was Pol Lt Col Olarn Sukkasem from the Technological Crime Suppression Division, known for having given prosecution evidence in numerous lese majeste cases following the 2014 coup. The second witness hearing was scheduled before the military court on 16 May 2016. You get the picture of delays, awaiting the defendant’s guilty plea.

So far, only 7 of 11 prosecution witnesses have been heard.

On 2 November 2018, it was reported that Anchan, a former official at the Revenue Department was bailed using as collateral savings certificates  and government bonds totaling 500,000 baht. This occurred despite prosecution objections. She is said to face 29 separate lese majeste charges.

The Prachatai report adds that bail has been previously refused despite numerous applications.

As Prachatai points out,

… while Banpot was accused of producing more than a hundred clips, he faced only one charge under Article 112, Anchan, alleged by the police to be involved in “managing the finances of the Banpot network”, faced 29 charges for separate acts of sharing Banpot’s clips on Facebook and uploading them on YouTube.





Banpot lese majeste cases continue

11 03 2016

On 2 February 2015, police announced the initial 6 arrests of the so-called Banpot network for lese majeste. The Banpot 6 became the Banpot 8, then the Banpot 10 and Banpot 12 as the military dictatorship expanded arrests. Later, a further two were arrested, making it the Banpot 14.

Ten of the alleged Banpot group were sentenced to jail on 14 July 2015, by a military court. Two were acquitted of lese majeste charges but found guilty of supporting the network. Two others decided to defend the case, which we said, a year ago, would probably means the torture of many months awaiting trial as the authorities attempt to convince them that a guilty plea is required.

Prachatai reports that on 24 January 2016, the first plaintiff witness testified in the court case against Anchan P. The witness was Pol Lt Col Olarn Sukkasem from the Technological Crime Suppression Division, known for having given prosecution evidence in numerous lese majeste cases following the 2014 coup. The second plaintiff witness is scheduled to testify to the military court on 16 May 2016. We will post on this case under Anchan P.

Anchan has been held in jail, without bail for more than a year.

When Anchan was first arrested she was 58 years old and was about to retire after working for the Revenue Department for more than 30 years. Because she has become a lese majeste suspect, she will not get any pension and benefits for her three decades of service.

The military raided her house and arrested her on 25 January 2015, and she was taken to a military camp. Her whereabouts was unknown until the sixth day after her arrest.

The Department of Special Investigation pressed lese majeste charge with 29 offenses on Anchan. The military prosecutor accused Anchan of publicising the Banpot clips on YouTube and Facebook, by using various usernames, such as anchana siri, Malee root, un un and Petch Prakery. The clips were uploaded from 12 November 2014 to 24 January 2015.