Banner 112

27 10 2021

Prachatai and Thai Lawyers for Human Rights report that two Burapha University students – Watchara (last name withheld) and his roommate Wirachat (last name withheld) – have been arrested and charged with lese majeste for hanging a banner from their dormitory balcony that was considered to attack the monarchy.

Watchara was arrested on 23 October 2021 outside his dorm “on an arrest warrant issued by the Chonburi Provincial Court. According to Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR), he never received a summons before being arrested…. He was taken to Saensuk Police Station and held there overnight.”

On 24 October 2021, Wirachat “who was informed that an arrest warrant had also been issued for him, reported to the police.” He was also held overnight.

Earlier, on 13 October 2021, the two, with another student,” were taken to Saensuk Police Station after they hung the banner from their balcony on the evening of 12 October 2021. They were questioned without a lawyer present before being released without being charged.”

That release lasted about 10 days before they were again taken in.

TLHR reported that a police report stated that an informant told them where Watchara lived, wanting “a reward for assisting in his arrest.” At the police station, efforts were made to “take DNA samples from both students, but their lawyer declined the request as there is no reason to do so in this case.”

Wirachat’s supporters showed their support, “holding banners saying ‘Feudalism shall fall; the people shall prosper’ and other messages demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha’s government, access to Covid-19 vaccines, repeal of Section 112, and monarchy reform.” Another group “poured dog food in front of a group of police officers.”

Police “opposed to bail on the grounds that the charge has a severe penalty and is related to national security.” However, the two were “later granted bail using a security of 150,000 baht each, which was covered by the Will of the People Fund, a bail fund for those facing charges for political expression. The court also set them the condition that they do not repeat their offense.”

Abolish 112

26 10 2021

Between July 2020 and September 2021, “at least 1,458 people are now facing charges for participating in pro-democracy protests…”. Further, “at least 145 people are facing [lese majeste] charges…” [but see below]. In addition, “[a]t least 111 people are facing sedition charges under Section 116 of the Thai Criminal Code, while at least 1,171 people are facing charges for violating the Emergency Decree.” And, a handful continue to face charges under Article 110, accused of trying to harm the queen.

Clipped from the linked report

Thai Lawyers for Human Rights report that, “as of 14 October, 23 people are currently in detention for participating in protests: Parit Chiwarak, Jatupat Boonpattararaksa, Anon Nampa, Huad, Thawee Thiangwiset, Chitipat, Chakri, Panupong Jadnok, Nat, Nawapol Tonngam, Wachirawit Limthanawong, Pawaris Yaemying, Paitoon, Suksan, Naruebet, Pichai, Jittakorn, Tha, Sith, Thu, Benja Apan, Kachen, and Kajornsak.”

The Citizens for the Abolition of 112 has been organized to seek people’s signatures to support the abolition of Article 112. Their campaign begins on 31 October, with a press briefing held on 24 October in front of the Supreme Court.

Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul “said the group aimed to abolish Section 112 of the Criminal Code, generally amend the laws regarding defamation and slander, and abolish prison sentences for defamation.” She said:

On Sunday 31 October 2021, I ask everyone to gather at Ratchaprasong intersection. The activity will run from 16.00 to 21.00. If we succeed in gathering signatures this time, what will happen is that the Section 112 will be abolished. The defamation law system will be completely amended, with only fines instead of prison sentences…. This is the mission that all Thai people must carry out together….

The group says “that at least 151 people have been charged with Section 112 between November 2020 and 19 October 2021 for their actions and online statements.” Remarkably, Parit faces at least 21 charges. If found guilty on all charges and given the maximum sentence, Parit will go to jail for 315 years.

It pointed out the obvious: “The existence of Section 112 is like a threat to the rights and liberties of the people…”. It added that 112 “distorts the judicial system. … It makes the authorities choose to limit their role in protecting the rights of suspects such as the right to bail and the right to an open and fair trial…”.

Students vs. the feudal regime I

24 10 2021

As Pravit Rojanaphruk points out in a Khaosod op-ed:

A year has passed since the students-led monarchy reform movement descended to the streets of Bangkok and beyond in large numbers. One year on, over 140 have been charged with lese majeste crimes, or defaming the monarchy. It’s punishable by a maximum imprisonment term of 15 years. Around half a dozen of them are currently … incarcerated….

Scores of others face hundreds of other charges. Some are in jail, others have bail, others await more charges.

While the media face censorship and with “self-censorship are the norm, combined with self-denial or silence to due fears of repercussions or political expediency,” the students continue to push for change.

Thai PBS reports that the Chulalongkorn-Thammasat football match procession will be different this year. The executive committee of Chulalongkorn University’s Student Union is unanimous in canceling the Phra Kieo coronet, Chulalongkorn University’s emblem. Why? They see “it to be representative of a feudal culture and a symbol of inequality.”

As the most royalist of universities, with many connections with the monarchy and royal family, the message is clear.

In his  article in support of other students who suffer feudal repression – lese majeste – Pravit calls on the media to support them:

The press could continue to watch and simply report about more prosecutions as more youths take the risks, are taken to jail, repeatedly denied bail, and refrain from questioning the anachronistic law . Such stance means the Thai press continue to be part of the problem for their lack of courage and commitment to greater press freedom.

It means the mostly young political activists feel the need to express themselves publicly on the streets or on social media, despite the risks as they regard the current situation as not just abnormal but unacceptable, untolerable and undemocratic…..

The least that journalists and media associations can do is to call out publicly and say we need to talk about the lese majeste law and something needs to be done about it. Even if they do not support the abolition of the law, there are crucial details worth reforming: the severity of the law which is disproportionate and more.

In fact, from our observation, the media has not been comprehensive in reporting of these arrests and charges and the reporting is so sporadic that we feel the regime and its supporters have cowed the mainstream media.

The students deserve better. Thailand deserves better.

Chonthicha’s 112 case

23 10 2021

PPT is late getting to this, supplied by a reader. The details remain the same, but days refer to dates past:

สวัสดีค่ะ เกดขออัพเดตสถานการณ์เรื่องคดีความมาตรา 112 ค่ะ (English below)

วันพรุ่งนี้ 15 ตุลาคม เวลา 9.00 ลูกเกดจะเดินทางไปสภ.ธัญบุรี เพื่อแสดงตัวและสอบถามรายละเอียดเกี่ยวกับคดีความที่เกิดขึ้นจากการขึ้นปราศรัยเกี่ยวกับการปฏิรูปสถาบันกษัตริย์ค่ะ และมีความเป็นไปได้ที่เกดจะถูกแจ้งข้อหาด้วยมาตรา 112 และนำตัวไปฝากขังค่ะ

ย้อนกลับไปเมื่อวันที่ 11 กันยายนที่ผ่านมา เกดและเพื่อนๆได้ร่วมกันจัดกิจกรรมที่หน้าศาลจังหวัดธัญบุรี เพื่อเรียกร้องสิทธิในการประกันตัวให้กับเพื่อนๆของพวกเราที่ถูกขังก่อนการพิจารณาคดีมาตรา 112

วันนั้น เกดได้ตัดสินใจขึ้นปราศรัยถึงความฝันในชีวิตคือ “การปฏิรูปสถาบันกษัตริย์” ถึงแม้จะรู้ดีว่าเรากำลังสู้อยู่กับอะไร และรู้ดีว่าการตัดสินใจในครั้งนี้ จะทำให้เราต้องถูกดำเนินคดีด้วยมาตรา 112 และอาจจะถูกฝากขังก่อนการพิจารณาคดีอย่างไม่ยุติธรรม แต่เราก็ได้ตัดสินใจอย่าง “กล้าหาญ” เพื่อที่จะแสดงความเป็นกัลยาณมิตรผู้หวังดีต่อประเทศชาติและสถาบันกษัตริย์ ด้วยหวังอย่างบริสุทธิ์หัวใจว่า ผู้มีอำนาจจะรับฟังเสียงเตือนระยะสุดท้ายนี้ ก่อนที่จะสายเกินไป

หลังจากกิจกรรมในครั้งนั้น ช่วงกลางเดือนกันยายนที่ผ่านมา ทาง สภ.ธัญบุรีได้มีการออกหมายเรียกดำเนินคดีในข้อหาพรก.ฉุกเฉินฯและอื่นๆ กับประชาชนทั้ง 9 คน โดยเกดทราบว่าตัวเองเป็นหนึ่งในผู้ต้องหา เนื่องจากเป็นรายชื่อแรกในหมายเรียกของคนอื่นๆ แต่อย่างไรก็ตาม เกดไม่เคยได้รับหมายเรียกใดๆจาก สภ.ธัญบุรี ทนายจึงได้พยายามสอบถามไปทางเจ้าหน้าที่ตำรวจ ซึ่งได้รับเพียงคำชี้แจงว่า ส่งหมายเรียกให้ทุกคนแล้ว ยกเว้นลูกเกด ชลธิชา แจ้งเร็ว ที่ไม่ได้ออกหมายเรียก

หลังจากนั้น ได้มีตำรวจติดต่อมาหาทนายเพื่อแจ้งว่า ได้มีการดำเนินคดี 112 กับลูกเกดด้วย และหากลูกเกดมาปราฎตัวที่โรงพัก ก็จะนำตัวไปฝากขังในคดี 112

และเช่นเคยค่ะ เกดก็ยังไม่เคยได้รับหมายเรียกในคดี 112 จาก สภ.ธัญบุรี

วันพรุ่งนี้ เวลา 9.00 เกดตัดสินใจที่จะเดินทางไปสภ.ธัญบุรี เพื่อสอบถามถึงคดีดังกล่าว และแสดงเจตจำนงค์ว่าเราไม่ได้มีพฤติการณ์ในการหลบหนี ดังจะเห็นได้ว่า ในช่วงที่ผ่านมา เกดก็ยังคงใช้ชีวิตตามปกติ ยังคงทำงานสอนหนังสือ ยังคงลงพื้นที่ช่วยเหลือพี่น้องประชาชนในจังหวัดปทุมธานีที่กำลังประสบปัญหาอุทกภัยเช่นเคยค่ะ

ที่สำคัญ เกดยังได้มาแสดงความบริสุทธิ์ใจถึงโรงพัก ถึงแม้ว่าเจ้าหน้าที่ตำรวจจะไม่เคยส่งหมายเรียกใดๆ ไม่ว่าจะเป็นในข้อหา พรก.ฉุกเฉินฯ หรือ มาตรา 112 ก็ตาม ดังนั้น สภ.ธัญบุรีจึงไม่มีเหตุผลชอบธรรมใดๆหลงเหลืออยู่แม้แต่น้อย ที่จะต้องนำตัวเกดไปฝากขังค่ะ

แต่หาก ในวันพรุ่งนี้ สภ.ธัญบุรี ยังคงดื้อดันที่จะนำตัวเกดไปฝากขัง ก็ขอให้สังคมไทยรู้ว่า สิ่งนี้ไม่ใช่กระบวนการยุติธรรม แต่มันคือคดีนโยบายที่มีจุดประสงค์เพื่อการกลั่นแกล้ง การปิดปากประชาชนที่ต้องการสื่อสารถึง “การปฏิรูปสถาบันกษัตริย์” พวกเขาต้องการทำลายความฝันของเรา

ดังนั้น เกดจึงไม่มีความจำเป็นที่จะต้องอ้อนวอนขอความเมตตาจากตำรวจและผู้พิพากษา เพื่อที่จะได้มาซึ่งสิทธิในการประกันตัวและสิทธิในการต่อสู้คดีอย่างเป็นธรรม

และหากผู้มีอำนาจในกระบวนการยุติธรรมสั่งขังเราในเรือนจำอีกครั้ง เกดก็จะเดินเข้าเรือนจำด้วยรอยยิ้มอย่างสง่างามและสมศักดิ์ศรี เพื่อตอกย้ำว่าไม่ว่าพวกคุณจะกลั่นแกล้งหรือพยายามทำทุกวิถีทางเพื่อเหยียบย่ำเราให้จมดิน แต่มันจะไม่มีทางเกิดขึ้น เกดไม่มีวันกลัว ไม่มีทางที่ยอมแพ้ถึงความฝันที่จะเห็น “คน=คน”


ชลธิชา แจ้งเร็ว


From Prachatai

At 9 AM tomorrow (15 October 2021), I am going to present myself at Thanyaburi Police Station to inquire more information related to legal case following the speech I made on 11 September that addressed on monarchy reform. There is a possibility that I will be charged with Article 112 (lese-majeste) and will be brought further for pre-trial detention.

This possible legal charge stem from the peaceful gathering on 11 September that my friends and I participated in front of the Thanyaburi Provincial Court, where we called for the right to bail of other fellow activists and friends who are charged with lese-majeste and have been denied of their bail requests repeatedly.

On that day, I decided to put myself on the stage and said one of the callings that I wish it will happen in my life-time, which is the reform of monarchy in Thailand. Even though I am fully aware of what we are fighting against and the consequence that may follow in a form of lese-majeste charges and unjustly pre-trial detention, but I have made a decision – a “courageous” decision (even for myself) with good faith for the country and the monarchy in a pure hope that people in power would listen our concerns before it’s too late.

After the event, during the mid-September, the Thanyaburi Police Station issued warrants alleging nine individuals for violating Emergency Decree and few other offences. I become aware later that my name was listed as the first name in the warrant list. However, I have never received any of the warrants from Thanyaburi Police Station regarding this case. As a result, the lawyer team has been trying to seek more clarity from relevant police officer, but the police only replied back with vague information that all the warrants were issued and sent to all individuals except for Lookkate for whom they have not issued a warrant yet.

Later on, a police officer contacted lawyer team stating that there will be a legal proceeding of lese-majeste charge against Lookkate, and that if Lookkate present herself at police station, she will be put under pre-trial detention.

And as usual (with the current practice of Thai police), I still haven’t received any warrant for lese-majeste from Thanyaburi Police Station.

Therefore, at 9 AM tomorrow, I am going to present myself at the Thanyaburi Police Station to seek information related to this legal case and to show my intention that I have no desire to flee the country or avoid this legal proceeding. In the past weeks, I still do my normal routine, going to work, meeting and helping affected people from the flood in Pathum Thani province and etc.

Most importantly, I show my true sincerity by presenting myself at the police station, even though the police officer never sent any warrants to me. Therefore, the Thanyaburi Police Station has no legal justification to detain me or file my case further for pre-trial detention.

In the case that the Thanyaburi Police Station will insist on detaining me, it will only show to Thai society and international community that this is not justice system. This is just another strategic lawsuit (SLAPP) to silent any people that dare to talk or raise concerns for the reform of Thai monarchy. They want to destroy our dreams.

I have no need to call for mercy from police officers or judges in order for me to have my right to bail or right to fair trial. This is not justice system.

If people in power inside the justice system will approve detention order, I will walk to the prison with my smile and full dignity to state that no matter how you threaten or belittle us, there is no way that you can destroy us. That will never happen, we will never surrender. We will fight for our dreams – the dream that all people are equal in this country.

And yes, you will never win against us.

(Chonthicha Jaengrew)

For more on Chonthicha, see here (in Thai).

Call for 112 repeal

14 10 2021

Prachatai has a long report on a 9 October rally by the gender equality activist group Feminist’s Liberation Front Thailand, continuing the wide-ranging calls for democracy and equality and “for the resignation of Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha, constitutional amendments, and monarchy reform to create a democracy for all.”

We recommend reading the whole account. As readers would expect, we were particularly struck by the ongoing emphasis on lese majeste. Here’s some snips:

Clipped from Prachatai

Thanapat, a member of the activist group Thalufah, gave a speech on the repeal of Section 112, or the royal defamation law, while dressed in a red Thai Chitralada dress. He said that there is a right and freedom to dress as one chooses, and therefore the government has no right to dictate how people dress.

Thanapat said that many people are currently imprisoned on royal defamation charges, even though what they said was criticism of the monarchy, especially when it comes to using the national budget. He asked whether what these people said was wrong, since they spoke out because they want national budget to be used for the benefit of the people. He also said that he believes that if everyone joins in the fight, then Section 112 will be repealed in the future, not just amended.

“When you want to stay in this country, on the same land as the citizens, then you have to listen to the citizens’ voice, both those who dissent and those who love you. Don’t pick and choose. Don’t lock up just dissenters. I don’t see people who stage coups locked up too,” Thanapat said.

Thanapat noted that the late King Bhumibol once said that the monarchy can be criticized, but one has to point out where the monarchy went wrong, meaning that people should be able to criticize the monarchy since the King said so himself.* He added that those who criticize the monarchy are using information and facts, which is good for the monarchy. However, Section 112 has been used not only to silence critics, but has also been used by those with a personal conflict or who wish to bully someone else, such as the case where an older sibling filed charges against their own younger sibling.

Thanapat said that it has now become apparent that using royal defamation charges against critics does more harm than good, and the best way out is to repeal the law.

“I want to see Thailand able to criticize everyone in good faith, for everyone to have the same law to be able to protect themselves , not one person above others, because we are a democracy,” Thanapat said.

*PPT believes this is a misunderstanding of the dead king’s speech, which was a criticism of then Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

Thanathorn’s 112 charge

13 10 2021

Thai PBS reports that the “Nang Loeng police [has] submitted its case file, on a lèse majesté charge against Progressive Group leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, to the Office of the Attorney-General today [12 October 2021].” The Bangkok Post also reports it.

Lawyer Krisadang Nutcharat, said that the police decided to charge his client:

over his livestream lectures on the government’s vaccine [mis]management, which contained remarks allegedly deemed to offend the monarchy, as he was questioning the government’s AstraZeneca vaccine strategy, most of which produced by Thai firm Siam Bioscience, which is owned by a subsidiary of the Crown Property Bureau.

The 112 charge was initiated by Apiwat Khanthong, “chairman of the government-appointed committee investigating the spread of disinformation about the execution of the prime minister’s and cabinet ministers’ duties.”

Meanwhile, Thanathorn also “reported to Phahonyothin police station this morning to acknowledge a second lèse majesté charge, also in connection with his Facebook livestream lectures.”

Thanathorn described the charges against him and other activists as “unjust, urging the public to protect them and to condemn this injustice.”

In Thanathorn’s livestream, titled “Royal Vaccine: Who Benefits and Who Doesn’t?” he “urged the government and the firm to publicly reveal the vaccine-production agreement to prove the procurement was being done in a transparent manner.”

Siam Bioscience, still as opaque as ever, seems to have failed monumentally given that millions of AstraZeneca doses are being imported from other countries.

Lese majeste has seen some mad cases in this past, but this one seems to suggest that criticizing or questioning any royal company is now off limits. Bizarre.

Artist faces another 112 charge

10 10 2021

According to Thai Lawyers for Human Rights, “Chiang Mai University student and performance artist Withaya Khlangnin is facing another royal defamation charge [they mean lese majeste] for staging a performance in front of the university on 1 May 2021 to demand the release of detained activists.”

At this rally, Withaya poured red paint over himself, and climbed onto a Chiang Mai University sign that featured the near compulsory photo of King Vajiralongkorn.

Clipped from Prachatai

TLHR reports that police have decided that Withaya’s performance contravenes Article 112. This is because it allegedly:

involved climbing onto the university sign, above which was a portrait of the King and a sign saying “Long live the King.” Withaya also poured red paint all over himself, which the police said was unsightly, and spilled paint over the university sign and the image of the King. The police also said that the gestures Withaya used during the performance, such as standing with a paint bucket over his head, and lying down with one foot pointing up at the portrait of the king, was disrespectful.

Withaya heard the charge at Phuping Rajanivej Police Station on 5 October 2021, “dressed as Luffy from the Japanese manga One Piece, and staged a short performance before going to meet the inquiry officer.”

He “was released after his meeting with the inquiry officer. He has to report to the police again in 12 days, and has to submit further testimony in 20 days.”

According to Prachatai, Withaya is already facing two Article 112 charges.

Another student on 112 charge

9 10 2021

Prachatai reports that “[s]tudent activist Benja Apan was arrested [on] … 7 October … on a lèse majesté charge in connection with the 10 August 2021 protest and has been denied bail.”

During that protest:

Benja read out the 2nd United Front of Thammasat and Demonstration Declaration, stating that the 2014 coup led by Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha has led to a regime which benefited only the elite. The statement also criticised the government’s mishandling of the Covid-19 pandemic and called for the government properly handle the pandemic, revitalise the economy, repeal the 2017 Constitution which allows the junta government to prolong its stay in power, push forward reforms in state structures and the monarchy, and also return to the people their dignity.

Clipped from Khaosod

She met police at the Lumpini Police Station on Thursday afternoon “to hear a charge of violating the Emergency Decree for participating in the 3 September protest at the Ratchaprasong intersection.” However, the police “found” an outstanding Article 112 arrest warrant along with charges for violations of the Emergency Decree and the Communicable Diseases Act, for participating in the 10 August 2021 rally.

The police said they would take Benja to the Thong Lo Police Station, but she refused. Despite further exhortations, she was eventually grabbed and carried by two women police officers who carried her to a police vehicle which took her to the Thong Lo Police Station.

She was denied bail and detained at Thong Lo Police Station overnight. She was taken to court on Friday morning for a temporary detention hearing. Judge Netdao Manotamkij “denied Benja bail on the grounds that the offense carries a serious penalty, and that she has previously committed the same offense. The inquiry officer also opposed bail.”

Benja has been taken to Central Women Correctional Prison. She is facing 6 charges under Article 112.

A report on lese majeste

6 10 2021

The International Federation for Human Rights says that the recent “wave of arrests, detentions, and prosecutions for royal defamation could result in several pro-democracy activists receiving prison sentences ranging between 120 and 300 years…”.

It has released a new report with Thai Lawyer for Human Rights and Internet Law Reform Dialogue titled Second wave: The return of lèse-majesté in Thailand “documents how the Thai government has used and abused Article 112 of the Criminal Code (“lèse-majesté”) to target pro-democracy activists and protesters in relation to their online political expression and participation in peaceful pro-democracy demonstrations.”

Patsaravalee charged under Article 112

2 10 2021


Prachatai reports, via Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR), that student activist “Patsaravalee Tanakitvibulpon has been indicted on a royal defamation charge [Prachatai means lese majeste] related to a speech she gave at a protest on 24 March 2021, in which she said that the monarchy must reform itself in order to survive.”

TLHR says that on 30 September 2021, the “public prosecutor at the Southern Bangkok Department of Criminal Litigation … decided to indict Patsaravalee … under Section 112 of the Thai Criminal Code … and a violation of the Emergency Decree charge resulting from her participation in the 24 March 2021 protest at the Ratchaprasong Intersection.”

At that rally, Patsaravalee, or Mind, “gave a speech calling for the King to conduct himself in a manner that befits the head of the state.” She argued that the king’s “expansion of power will endanger the … monarchy, and that even though an absolute monarchy can be created, it can also fall in the next reign.”

In her speech, she issued three demands: “having a single, inseparable armed force, ending intervention in any political groups by the monarchy, and quickly returning public assets which have been transferred to the King’s personal ownership.”

The public prosecutor “claims that Patsaravalee’s speech falsely accused the King of trying to expand his power and creating an absolute monarchy, that he transferred the army to himself, used his power to interfere with politics, and took national treasures for his own, accusations which damage his reputation and cause hate against him.”

All her accusations seem entirely reasonable based on the reported actions of King Vajiralongkorn.

Patsaravalee was granted bail by the South Bangkok Criminal Court with a surety of 200,000 baht, “with the conditions that she must not participate in activities which damage the monarchy and must not leave the country.”

She was the only speaker at the rally charged with lese majeste. As is now usual, the complaint against her was made by ultra-royalists. She now faces three lese majeste charges.

According to TLHR’s numbers, since November 2020, “144 people are currently facing charges under Section 112 for their participation in the pro-democracy movement, 12 of whom are under 18 years of age. Several activists are also facing numerous counts, such as Parit Chiwarak, who is facing 20 counts, Anon Nampa, who is facing 14 counts, Panupong Jadnok, who is facing 9 counts, and Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul, who is facing 8 counts.”

%d bloggers like this: