The military-monarchy regime’s judiciary

21 09 2022

Prachatai reports on more outlandish efforts by the royalist judiciary to “protect” the monarchy:

For the past 9 months, the Criminal Court has been refusing to issue summonses for documents requested by lawyers representing activists charged with royal defamation [Article 112] for the 19 September 2020 protest to be used as evidence, delaying the witness examination process.

Defense lawyers “have not been able to cross examine prosecution witnesses, as the Court has refused to issue summonses for documents requested by the defendants to use as evidence in the cross examination process. Some documents were the subject of a summons, but the defendants have yet to receive them.”

A Bangkok Post picture

The lawyers requested six documents from several agencies, “including records of King Vajiralongkorn’s travels, records of the Royal Offices and of the Crown Property Bureau’s budget spending, and documents relating to a court case filed by the Ministry of Finance against King Prajadhipok and Queen Rambai Barni.”

Of course, these requests are seen by royalists as provocative, damaging, and threatening. The royalist courts can’t ask because they fear this will lead to even more criticism of the monarchy. They may also be frightened to request them.

Yet the defence needs the documents “because the public prosecutor [has] indicted the activists on the grounds that their speeches about the crown’s budget and King Vajiralongkorn’s alleged stay in Germany are false…”.

As everyone knows, if the documents were provided, the defendants would be shown to be correct and truthful. The courts don’t want that.





283 minors charged

17 09 2022

Thai Lawyers for Human Rights maintains a database on political charges. In a recent report compiled from the database is about juveniles/minors prosecuted since 2020.

It calculates “at least 283 youths from 211 cases have been prosecuted for political expression and protest.”

From August 2021 to the end of October 2021, in the Din Daeng area, “[a]t least 210 youth from 104 cases were charged…”.

There are 17 in 20 cases charged under Article 112 with lese majeste. The majority of these have been indicted.

TLHR provides a month-by-month account of this effort to shut down young rebellion.





Jatuporn gets bail II

15 09 2022

Thai Lawyers for Human Rights reports on Jatuporn Sae-Ung’s case and bail.

It adds some detail on the royalist court’s decision:

Having examined 14 prosecutor’s witnesses and two defendant’s witnesses during June 2022, the Bangkok South Criminal Court acquitted Jatuporn of all charges with the exception of those brought under Section 112 of Thailand’s Criminal Code and the Public Assembly Act. Considering the totality of circumstances at the time of the fashion show on 29 October 2020, the court ruled that Jatuporn intended to impersonate, mock, and dishonor the Queen. This was tantamount to defamation against the Queen.

It also adds commentary on Jatuporn’s important statement to the court:

Jatuporn affirm[ed] … her belief to the court stating that dressing up in Thai National Dress is a right that any individual can choose to do so and if one chooses to dress up, it is not a crime. The fact that her dressing up on the day of the incident is a violation of section 112 is purely a vague interpretation by the plaintiff and her witnesses.

“Your honor, today I am wearing Thai national dress, is there something wrong with me here? I do not intend to mock anyone.”

A lawyer commented:

“In a polarized society, Lèse-majesté law becomes a tool used to harm those who think differently. In this case, the individual who accused her (Jatuporn) was of the opposite political view.”





Jatuporn gets bail I

14 09 2022

Clipped from Coconuts Bangkok

It is reported that activist Jatuporn Sae-ung, sentenced to two years in prison for, the court believed, defaming the monarchy by dressing up as Queen Suthida , has been released on bail.

Thai Lawyers for Human Rights confirmed that an appeals court had set a bail of 300,000 baht.

Jatuporn, 25, was due to be released sometime on Wednesday afternoon or early evening, after being held since Monday.

The activist will be free on bail while the appeals court deals with her case.

The report states that Jatuporn’s:

… conviction is the latest in a wide-ranging crackdown by the Thai authorities to stifle the pro-democracy movement, which staged massive protests in mid-2020 that sparked a public debate on the role of Thailand’s all-powerful monarchy in society.





Updated: Mimicry 112

12 09 2022

Clipped from Coconuts Bangkok

112Watch reports that on On 12 September 2022, a royalist court sentenced transgender activist, Jatuporn Sae-Ung, to 3 years on a 112 charge, reduced to 2 years in prison for her cooperation with the court. She stood accused of dressing to mimic Queen Suthida on 29 October 2021 during a political demonstration known as the “Runway for the People.” She dressed in what is now termed a traditional Thai costume of pink silk. She walked on the red carpet while other protesters prostrated in front of her, an act deemed to be insulting the monarchy under the Article 112.

The Court considered her act to violate the so-called dignity of the monarchy and, hence, lese majeste.

Jatuporn is seeking bail to appeal.

UpdatePrachatai has the long story on Jatuporn’s case. The Bangkok Post has a story too.





Singing lese majeste

3 09 2022

Clipped from Prachatai

Citizen reporter Sao Nui was arrested on the evening of 1 September 2022 “for singing a song composed by the band Faiyen during a protest on 23 August 2022.”

After her arrest, she was taken the Narcotics Suppression Bureau where she was held overnight. After some debate over a police request for her to be detained, the court granted bail on 2 September.

As well as lese majeste, she was charged under the Computer Crimes Act for singing “Lucky to have Thai people.” Prachatai explains that the song “relates how Thai people are made to love the King through many means and the punishment the people will face if they do not love the King.”

Sao Nui and another citizen reporter, Worawet, already faced 112, sedition, and resisting an officers’ order charges for a Thaluwang royal motorcade poll at Siam Paragon on 8 February 2022.





Royalists courts play royalist politics II

2 09 2022

Arnon Nampa, facing up to a dozen lese majeste charges, and himself a lawyer with long experience of defending political prisoners, has asked the Judicial Commission, an in-house board meant to keep the judiciary in order, and the Chief Justice of the Criminal Court “to investigate Attakarn Foocharoen, Deputy Chief Justice of the Criminal Court, whom he accuses of meddling in his [lese majeste and computer crimes] court case without having any authority to do so.”

The case goes back to a protest on 8 November 2020 calling for monarchy reform. Anon received a letter on 4 August 2022,” calling an additional [previously unscheduled] hearing, and stating that the witnesses examined in the previous hearing were not related to the event at issue.” That letter was “signed by Attakarn and dated 21 July.” Attakarn is not a member of the committee considering the case, and “[b]y law, it is the responsibility of the judge who oversees the case to plan the trial process and approve what witnesses shall be heard.”

Arnon reckons “Attakarn’s intervention would infringe the judge’s independence.”

Legal niceties and the law itself seldom impinge on lese majeste cases.

Arnon (L). Clipped from The Nation

Arnon “insisted that the trial must be free from interference by Court administrators.” It was revealed that Attakarn had used his position to intervene in “many other political cases…”.

The justice system, always worrisome for its corruption, has been blatantly politicized and instrumentalized since the dead king’s intervention in 2006. The judges now at the top of the judiciary have been eager to serve king and regime.





Lese majeste repression

24 08 2022

Readers may find a recent report on “civic space” in Thailand, by the CIVICUS coalition, of interest. It begins:

Civic space in Thailand is rated as ‘repressed’ by the CIVICUS Monitor. Civil society has documented a range of violations in recent years by the government, including the use of criminal defamation, lese-majesté (royal defamation), and other restrictive laws against activists and journalists as well as harassment, physical attacks, and allegations of enforced disappearances of activists. There has also been a crackdown on peaceful protests, the arrests and criminalisation of protesters, and the use of excessive force by the police….

The authorities have continued to use Section 112 of the Criminal Code to charge, detain, and convict critics for royal defamation. Commonly known as the lese majeste law, the statute criminalises any criticism of the king or the royal family and carries a punishment of up to 15 years imprisonment.

Read it all for a refresher on how the royalist-military regime has engaged in widespread political repression.





The attacks on 112 exiles

16 08 2022

The Japan Times has an op-ed on attacks on Pavin Chachavalpongpun in Kyoto and Aum Neko in Paris. It uses these cases to speak more broadly to attacks on dissidents overseas by several regimes.

On Pavin’s case:

Appearing at the Kyoto District Court in May to deliver a statement, Pavin, 51, who is living in exile in Japan, asked the defendant sitting in front of him, “I don’t even know you. I want you to tell me who asked you to attack me, and what was the purpose?”

The culprit, 43, is an unemployed Japanese man. According to the indictment, the man broke into Pavin’s apartment in the city of Kyoto in the early hours of July 8, 2019, and injured him and his partner with tear gas while they were asleep. The man pleaded guilty to the charges of intrusion and causing injuries and was sentenced to one year and eight months in prison on June 8 this year….

The defendant said his motive was that a “senior colleague had repeatedly asked” him to carry out the attack. He did not reveal the name or identity of his “senior colleague.”

On Aum;s case:

Aum when in Bangkok

An attack targeting a Thai national also took place in Paris in November 2019. Aum Neko, 28, was suddenly beaten by a group of men upon leaving a restaurant with an acquaintance. Three Czech nationals in their 20s were arrested and sentenced to prison terms in November 2021, but their roles and motives remain unclear.

Both Pavin and Aum face lese majeste charges.

Instilling fear into dissidents is meant to silence them. For Pavin and Aum, that seems unlikely.

 

 





Port Faiyen slapped with 9 years on 112

15 08 2022

Thai PBS reports that on 15 August 2022, the royalist Criminal Court has sentenced Parinya Cheewinpatomkul aka Port Faiyen, to 9 years in prison for breaching Article 112 and computer crimes in three Facebook posts.

Port, aged 37, is a former member of the Faiyen band. Following the 2014 military coup, the Faiyen band fled to Laos and eventually received asylum in France. Port’s illness convinced him not to travel to France and he returned to Thailand for medical treatment. For a time, to protect him, there was an illusion created that he was in France. When he returned to Thailand, he deactivated his Facebook account, and it took the authorities some time to track him down. He was arrested sometime in early March 2021 and charged with lese majeste.

He has now been found guilty for critical posts on social media, which according to Thai PBS were “about the 2016 Turkish coup d’état attempt.” The report seems unwilling to say more about the other posts (see below) but states that there were “three Facebook posts he made in 2016” that led to the charges.

We assume that this was when he was in Laos.

Port was given a three-year sentence for each post. This was commuted “to six years for his useful testimony.”

According to Thai Lawyers for Human Rights, and roughly translated by PPT (see the originals here for an accurate rendering in Thai), the three messages were:

Message No. 1, 27 April 2016:

The monarchy (with lèse majesté laws with severe penalties to protect it) is one ignorant thing. Anyone who claims to be against superstitions but informs on people who disagree with Article 112, that person is a liar and a cruel person.

Message No. 2, 16 July 2016:

There is no king to sign a coup d’etat #Turkey #Turkish coup {he posted a news story]

 Message No. 3, 30 July 2016:

The song of the monarchy institution, monarchy institution, monarchy institution, monarchy institution. It’s a fucked-up institution. What institution hits people’s heads, ordered people killed? Support the coup, what institutions do not criticize? It uses dictatorship to dominate society. It works through the courts, soldiers, police, damn it. Monarchy institution, monarchy institution, monarchy institution. Fucked institution. What institutions monopolize good deeds, takes tax money, trampling on the poor? What institution is the richest? Cheating and robbery. Teaching people to be self-sufficient. It’s never enough, greedy, obsessed with power, you bastard dog.

The melody and the hook have been written for months. but just finished composing the whole song a few days ago The guitar part has been recorded. If you’re lucky within this year, you might be able to hear it. (Unfortunately, within the next year) P.S. I don’t know what institution. There are many institutions. It can be interpreted broadly, haha.

Parinya had denied all the charges against him during the investigation and trial.

TLHR reports that his lawyers will appeal and Port was released on bail with a 300,000 surety.








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