Article 112 event

20 05 2012

Recording 112 Days, Campaign to amend Article 112

organized by the

Campaign Committee for Amending the Article 112 (CCAA112)

27 May 2010, Sri Burapa Meeting Hall, Thammasat University, Taprachan Campus

13.00 – 13.15 “CCAA 112 Reports” by Waad Rawee, the Saeng-Samnuek Writers, and Yukti Mukdawijitra, the Faculty of Sociology and Anthropology, Thammasat University

13.15 – 13.45 “Voices of the 112 victims”

13.45 – 14.00 Poem reading by Mainueng Kor Kuntee, Kich Leulamai, and Kal Real

14.00 – 15.00 “The Hearts and the Fists: 112 Days” story by Waad Rawee, the Saeng-Samnuek Writers, Suda Rangkupan, the Faculty of Arts, Chulalongkorn University, and Piyabutr Saengkanokkul, the Faculty of Law, Thammasat University

Moderator: Viengrat Nethipo, the Faculty of Political Science, Chulalongkorn University

15.00 – 15.15 Music by the Middle Finger

15.15 – 17.00 “The 112 Richter Phenomenon” Talk by Charnvit Kasetsiri (Independent academic), Nidhi Eoseewong (Independent academic), Worajet Pakeerat (The Nitirat Group)

Moderator: Puangthong Pawakapan, the Faculty of Political Science, Chulalongkorn University

* The event will be moderated by Wanrug Suwanwattana, the Faculty of Liberal Arts of Thammasat University.

* Unfortunately, there will be no English – Thai translation provided.

Challenging a supine Yingluck on lese majeste

12 05 2012

A few days ago at The Nation, Pravit Rojanaphruk had an article that is part of a lese majeste challenge to the timid Yingluck Shinawatra government. (In fact, “timid” is a rather too timid description that PPT has used several times in recent posts.)

Pravit argues that the death of lese majeste detainee Ampol Tangnopakul has re-ignited calls and hopes for amending the draconian Article 112.

As some “300 people attended the controversial placing of his body in front of the Bangkok Criminal Court on Wednesday and vented their anger against the law they perceived as an obstacle preventing them from attaining a basic right to freedom of expression.”

While red shirts and others spoke out against the lese majeste law and even demanded to be “treated like humans when it came to freedom of expression about anything critical of the monarchy,” Pravit adds an important point:

It must not be forgotten, however, that Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has insisted repeatedly her administration will not touch the lese majeste law.

As PPT has pointed out in several posts, the Yingluck-Puea Thai administration is failing red shirts. Pravit says:

It’s no secret a large percentage of the red-shirt movement is opposed to the draconian law, ever since the military coup on September 19, 2006, which ousted Thaksin Shinawatra. Many Thaksin supporters who subsequently became red shirts question the role of Privy Council President General Prem Tinsulanond in the coup, and more.

Pointedly, the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship “sponsored the first night of the funeral rite for Amphon at Wat Dan Samrong in Samut Prakarn province.”

Pravit writes that:

… if the government will not touch the law, the loyalty of progressive red shirts to Yingluck (and Thaksin) – and the loyalty of Yingluck and Thaksin to these red shirts – will be severely tested.

The government cannot indefinitely buy time and expect no backlash or a meltdown in trust and expectation among the so-called progressive reds who oppose the law.

Many red shirts will inevitably question the government and consider their support for it as “prisoners of conscience like Somyos [Prueksakasemsuk] and Surachai [Danwattananusorn] still in jail…”.

Pravit opines that “if the death of Amphon cannot make a difference, nothing will.” Nitirat and its associated Campaign Committee for the Amendment of Article 112 think they can make a difference and is pushing forward. They have the 10,000 signatures necessary to raise the issue of Article 112 in parliament. That parliamentarians will ignore them will result in even more condemnation of Puea Thai Party MPs.

Photo from The Nation

But of course, Yingluck has already caved into demands from royalists, yellow shirts and, remarkably, Abhisit Vejjajiva. The evidence is at The Nation:

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Friday confirmed her government had no policy to amend the lese majeste law despite the demand from the red shirts. “I confirm once again the government will not amend Article 112 (of the Criminal Code,” she said.

As far as PPT can determine (readers can correct us) neither Yingluck or Thaksin Shinawatra have said nothing about Ampol’s death in custody. That is remarkably cold-hearted and black-hearted. There is nothing red or human associated with such a non-response.

At the Bangkok Post Yingluck goes just a little further:

“I want to reaffirm that my government’s policy is to stay put,” Ms Yingluck said in response to questions about possible reform of the law. “I have already told groups who push for amendment that the government’s urgent mission is to solve economic problems.”

It may be that Yingluck thinks that she is being politically astute by ignoring this issue. However, one of her attractions in political campaigning was that she appeared to understand her supporters and empathize with them. Her current actions are heartless at best and potentially threaten her political base.

Nitirat, Worachet and dark forces

2 03 2012

Puangthong Pawakapan

Readers might find the Radio Australia interview with Chulalongkorn University political scientist Dr Puangthong Pawakapan of interest. Puangthong  is a member of the Campaign Committee for the Amendment of Article 112. The interview follows the attack on lese majeste reform campaigner and Nitirat member Dr Worachet Pakeerat by thugs who oppose lese majeste reform. Some highlights from the interview:

Puangthong says that the attack on Worachet “is part of the hatred campaign by the hyper-royalist group.”  While not ruling out that the attackers acted independently, she adds:

A few weeks ago, there were groups of hyper-royalists who burnt effigies of Professor Worajet in front of Thammassat University. And the Nitirat members received several threats from these unknown people – it was part of a hatred campaign by this group….

Other reports state that the two men were participants in the rally burning effigies.

Referring to the possibility of more powerful and dark forces being behind the attack, Puangthong says “I think they want to create fear for us, they want us to stop the Amendment campaign. We know that it’s frightening and no one can guarantee that it won’t happen again, but we agree, our group agreed that we would carry on this campaign.”

Asked about the campaign to amend the lese majeste law, she notes that:

people in the up-country, are really enthusiastic about our campaign. We received many invitations from the civic groups in the up-country, to give talks about the amendment of the law…. These are the silent voices in the country who want the law to be changed.

And she adds:

the Nitirat proposal to amend the law is for the Monarchy as an institution, to be secure in the long term. It’s not a personal matter. For the monarchy to have security and stability, this law must be changed. I believe that all public institutions need to listen to the public voice, so that they can adjust to the changing values in the society, and the values that we cherish now is democracy. For the stability of the monarchy, it has to exist in line with democratic values and principles.

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