Abolish the feudal law I

20 10 2015

Pundits have been waiting for the military court’s sentencing of Krit Bootdeejean. The reason is that the red shirt was charged with the same lese majeste offense as yellow shirt Niran Yaowapa, an editor of ASTV Manager Online.

Prachatai reports that the “an anti-establishment red shirt,” accused of having “published” a “fake” royal announcement. Niran published the same announcement.

Krit was sentenced to five years imprisonment, reduced to 2 years and half after (the more or less compulsory) guilty plea, with the jail term suspended.

The “fake” statement of the Royal Household Bureau “stated that King Bhumibol had decided to appoint a Regent to act on his behalf.”

The report says that the “sentence was read right after Krit recanted his innocent plea and pleaded guilty.”

The military court’s verdict is the same as the sentence given to Niran.

Some will say that the military’s court finally got something “right” on lese majeste and politics.

We say that it is bizarre that anyone should face a charge and jail, suspended or otherwise, for saying anything about the dysfunctional royals. All lese majeste cases are wrong, feudal and full of royalist nonsense. The law should be abolished.





Slandering for the monarchy

20 02 2015

The lese majeste law is brandished with considerable venom and enthusiasm to jail and silence those accused of “slandering” the monarchy.

In a court decision reported in the Bangkok Post it seems that slandering the royals is unacceptable while slandering for the monarchy is acceptable.

The report has it that the Criminal Court dismissed a defamation case brought by Thaksin Shinawatra against People’s Alliance for Democracy boss Sondhi Limthongkul.

The case goes back to one of Sondhi’s haranguing speeches that Thaksin claims defamed him on 14 October 2008. The speeches were broadcast by ASTV.

Sondhi accused Thaksin “of infringing on the monarch’s powers by trying to buy grassroots people, taking control of the police force and bribing certain senior military officers to weaken the royal institution.”

Of course, each of these claims was nonsense and were meant to provoke hatred of Thaksin.

Yet the court ruled that “Sondhi’s speech was made with the intention of protecting the royal institution and was not deemed defamation…”.

That’s quite a telling “ruling” by the royalist courts.

 





Krit bailed

17 02 2015

Krit Bootdeejean, accused of lese majeste over the dissemination of a “false” Royal Household Bureau statement on the king’s health and the appointment of a regent, has been released on bail.

Bail is highly unusual in lese majeste cases.Krit

Lawyer Winyat Chartmontree said the military court had approved bail after he provided the court with a statement by police that they “had no objection if Mr Krit was granted bail…”. Bail was set at 400,000 baht.

Winyat “said in fighting the case he would try to convince the court that his client had no intention of disseminating the false Royal Household Bureau statement.”

He did not mention the fact that social media has shown that Krit posted the announcement only after ASTV/Manager had put it online. About 4 days ago, ASTV/Manager editor Niran Yaowapha walked out of the court, granted bail, while the court refused bail to the red shirt Krit.

The double standards were so blatant that the military court seems to have had to respond by bailing Krit.





Double standards on lese majeste

13 02 2015

Over the years, there have been double standards demonstrated throughout the judicial system, where the rich and powerful get special treatment from judges.

In terms of politics, red shirts have always been the subject of more severe judicial treatment than have elite-supporting yellow shirts.

The political law that is lese majeste has mainly been directed against those considered opponents of the royalist elite. The witch hunts have resulted in double standards on lese majeste.

A couple of days ago PPT posted on the “fake” royal health/regent statement where only one of the two suspects charged with lese majeste in connection with it was released on bail. The yellow-shirted ASTV/Manager editor Niran Yaowapha walked out of court, while the red shirt who posted the same “fake” announcement remained in jail.

This situation has now worsened, with this most recent example of lese majeste double standards reported at Prachatai.

A military court has now denied bail to red shirt Krit Bootdeejean who is accused of posting a “forged” royal statement despite his supporters posting the same bail that was put up for Niran.

The politicized military court reportedly gave two reasons for denying bail. First, the police failed to show up for the bail hearing. In fact, according to lawyers, police investigators had earlier testified to the court that the police would not oppose bail.

Second, as is usual – but not in Niran’s case – the court stated that “the case is serious since it involves the revered [sic.] institution [sic.] of the monarchy, so bail should not be granted due to the flight risk.” Presumably, Niran can’t fly.

Double standards rule.





Bail for the privileged and politically sound

11 02 2015

Khaosod begins its most recent report on the “fake” royal health/regent statement with this: “Only one of the two suspects charged with lese majeste in connection with a forged royal statement was released on bail today.”

Guess who?

Of course, it is the royalist ASTV/Manager online editor Niran Yaowapha.

ASTV/Manager is widely said to have posted the alleged fake announcement prior to red shirt Krit Bootdeejean. Niran was released on 400,000 baht bail.

Krit was denied release on bail.

Krit’s lawyer stated “that his client’s bail application was rejected because of an ‘incomplete document’,” although it is doubtful that “Krit’s family could not afford the 400,000 baht bail money set by the court.”

Granting bail in lese majeste cases is rare.

Both men “have been charged with violating Section 112” and are “facing trial in military court…”.





ASTV and the “fake” royal announcement

7 02 2015

In an earlier post PPT mentioned the likely scapegoating of a provincial red shirt Krit Bootdeejean. We quoted UDD chairman Jatuporn Promphan saying that Krit’s relatives who felt he had been treated unjustly. Jatuporn also stated that “Krit was not the person who forged the announcement,” and “accused the military and police officers involved in the investigation of being ‘over-enthusiastic’ and of double standards for treating the 25-year-old Phetchabun native as a high-profile criminal while no legal action was being taken against Niran Yaowapha, who oversees ASTV Manager website that allowed the same statement to be briefly published.”

We think that this gross double standard, where ASTV/Manager probably posted the”fake” story a good few minutes before Krit put it on his Facebook page, has prompted an order from the top for the charging of the ASTV online manager.

The National News Bureau reports that the “Technology Crime Suppression Division (TCSD) has sought approval from the Military Court for a warrant to arrest Niran Yaowapha, the head of Manager ASTV’s online section, who allegedly disseminated a forged statement from the Royal Household Bureau about His Majesty the King’s health…”. The police warrant alleges lese majeste and breaching the Computer Crime Act.

Niran has said he posted the “fake” statement and removed it when the statement was said to be faked.





Scapegoating

5 02 2015

With a series of stories appearing on the allegedly forged royal announcement, some of them withdrawn or suppressed and others repeatedly rewritten, the idea that Krit Bootdeejean is a red shirt scapegoat is becoming stronger.

The latest report at the Bangkok Post states that the military has forbidden United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship attorney Winyat Chartmontree from meeting with Krit.

Krit is now said to be “charged with allegedly disseminating a forged statement from the Royal Household Bureau about His Majesty the King’s health.” That still amounts to a lese majeste charge and a computer crimes charge.

Winyat was reportedly “assigned to the case by UDD chairman Jatuporn Prompan to provide legal assistance to Mr Krit. He also had been asked for help by Mr Krit’s relatives, who felt the musician had been treated unjustly.”

The military refused access to a lawyer because Krit is being held in military custody under martial law, which allows for seven days for questioning without legal representation.

Jatuporn stated that Krit was a “100% UDD member” and stated that he was a “victim of the cyber world” who “was being treated unfairly by security officers.” Jatuporn added that “Krit was not the person who forged the announcement. He is merely a victim of the cyber world…”. He also “accused the military and police officers involved in the investigation of being ‘over-enthusiastic’ and of double standards for treating the 25-year-old Phetchabun native as a high-profile criminal while no legal action was being taken against Niran Yaowapha, who oversees ASTV Manager website that allowed the same statement to be briefly published.”

Jatuporn is correct when he observes that “both men were victims of falling for the false announcement. Therefore the authorities should treat them equally and Mr Niran and ASTV Manager should face charges of violating section 112 of the Criminal Code dealing with lese majeste.”

Jatuporn is also correct when he observes that “security officials [are] trying to paint red shirts as violent anti-monarchists by linking them with Sunday’s pipe bomb incident outside Siam Paragon shopping centre and the false statement.”

UDD spokesman Worawut Wichaidith pointed out that “Krit was unfairly being singled out for the spread of the bogus announcement online because he is a UDD member, arguing that he was only one of many who shared it.”

The military claims that Krit “was the one who put it online first…”. ASTV/Manager is following UDD sites for royal news?





Further updated: Case after case

4 02 2015

There are reports of yet another lese majeste case.

In a report at Khaosod, police claim to have “arrested a 25-year-old Thai musician who allegedly forged a statement that purported to be issued by … the King on Monday night.” According to Prachatai, Kris B., is the suspect apprehended, and is accused under Article 112 and computer crimes offenses “for distributing false information on the computer system.”

Kris B. is reportedly “an active member of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), the main faction of the anti-establishment red shirts. He is a full-time musician and live in central Petchaboon Province. He is a core member of the UDD Petchaboon.”

Police did not explain how Kris was located and arrested. Earlier, they claimed the fake royal health/succession document came from overseas.

Kris has been detained by the military at “an army camp in Bangkok for interrogation.”

Update 1: The Bangkok Post reports that “Phetchabun core red-shirt leader Krit Bootdeejean is suspected of releasing online a fake royal document.” Police spokesman Pol Lt Gen Prawut Thawornsiri said the suspect is a 26 year-old deputy leader of the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship and has been detained  had been taken to the 11th Infantry Regiment of the King’s Own Bodyguard in Bangkok pending further investigation into whether he produced the document or simply posted it on Twitter.” It is added that police are preparing to charge him with lese majeste.”

Police chief and businessman Somyos Pumpanmuang, who is claimed to have “led the interrogation of Mr Krit,” claims that “the suspect confessed to receiving the document from a red-shirt associate and posted it online as he believed the announcement was new and wanted to share it with his online friends.” He is said to have “later removed the post after becoming suspicious about the document’s authenticity.” That sounds to us pretty much the same as the Manager/ASTV use of the document.

A team of military and police officers arrested Krit “and took him to Bangkok. The team seized the computer, a tablet computer, mobile phone and CDs containing red-shirt propaganda songs.”

Update 2: The information at the Bangkok Post was updated but now appears to be deleted (at least we can’t locate it again). It is clear that Krit disseminated the report, much the same as ASTV/Manager did. The police now state that he “was identified by police as ‘among the first people’ who shared the forged statement.” Yet he still faces lese majeste and computer crimes charges!

This point is taken up by “UDD chief adviser Tida Tawornseth … [who also] sought to distance the group from the suspect, saying Mr Krit is a sympathiser, not a leading red shirt.” She  called on “police to take action against the news website that disseminated the statement without verifying its authenticity, saying the site is partly responsible for how quickly the statement spread.” She referred to ASTV/Manager.

Meanwhile, Jatuporn Prompan said “he suspects red shirts are being set up.” He pointed out that: “This is not unusual. Earlier the government claimed the statement originated from overseas, but it is now claiming it is from Phetchabun. It is clear the red-shirt group is being targeted…”.

In addition, “the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) minister has ordered an investigation into an ICT officer who allegedly shared the forged statement about the King’s health on social media.”

 

 





Fake succession

3 02 2015

Channel NewsAsia and Khaosod report that the military dictatorship has launched an investigation into an allegedly “fake royal announcement about King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s health and his succession plan.”

In fact, Khaosod reports a “fake document” but states:

Due to strict laws that criminalize any remarks deemed critical of the monarchy, Khaosod English is withholding other information related to the document.

Channel NewsAsia states that the letter was “designed to look like it came from the Bureau of the Royal Household, has been circulating on social media since Monday (Feb 2). It carries the official Royal Palace letterhead as well as the seal and signature of the King’s principal private secretary.”

The military government has “denied the contents of the letter, saying the document is fake.” The Royal Household Bureau has “urged National Police Chief Somyot Poompanmoung to prosecute whoever had released the letter.”

Social media versions of the announcement claimed it was fake due to a series of spelling errors (see image).Announcement

The report says that “National Police spokesman Police Lieutenant General Prawuth Thawornsiri said the letter was likely to have been created outside Thailand and released to cause panic in the country.”

Another Khaosod report states that:

An editor for the ultra-royalist Thai newspaper Manager ASTV was summoned by police today for overseeing the publication of a fake palace statement on the newspaper’s website last night.

Niran Yaowapha, the head of Manager ASTV‘s online section, met with police in Bangkok today for “questioning” about the fake document, which said that King Bhumibol, 87, had decided to appoint a Regent to act on his behalf.

It adds that police claim that the document was “most likely disseminated ‘from abroad,’ which will make it difficult for police to track down who was behind the forgery.”





Facebook lese majeste cases grow

18 12 2014

The military dictatorship has been working hard to track down any whiff of lese majeste on Facebook. It is helped by ultra-royalist snitches who scour the internet looking for the allegedly disloyal.

Why the snitches spend so much time doing this has something to do with a fear for the future. It also has to do with a desire to protect a system of political, social and economic power that revolves around the monarchy. And, no doubt, it also reflects a deeply-embedded fascist mindset that all the “loyalty” to the monarchy propaganda has perpetuated.

There have now been several accusations of lese majeste based on Facebook posts.

Both Prachatai and ASTV/Manager report that the Army has filed a police complaint on 16 December 2014 in Chiang Rai, accusing businessman 41 year-old Praphat Darasawang “of defaming the king on Facebook.”

ASTV/Manager implies that internet vigilantes tracked Praphat as a red shirt supporter, stating that “the problematic post attracted several comments, adding that the there have been several posts in the same fashion before but were not obvious lese majeste.”