Supreme Court upholds lese majeste sentence

10 06 2017

Chaleaw J. was 55 years old and a tailor when he was arrested in 2014. A resident of Bangkok and a self-taught computer geek who was arrested for allegedly lese majeste materials he stored at 4shared.com, a free file sharing and storage website.

He was accused of being a part of the Banpot network. Among the hundreds of clips stored were online red-shirt radio programmes and a few speeches by Banpot who specialized in radical anti-monarchist diatribes.  “I mostly forgot what I had stored there,” said Chaleaw.

He was detained by the junta on 3 June 2014 and charged on 9 June on lese majeste and computer crimes charges.

Chaleaw claimed that he did not distribute or intend to distribute the clips he saved and did not know that uploading the clips was a crime. At one time the authorities accused him of being Banpot, but Chaleaw insisted this was not so. He was intensively interrogated and was subjected to a lie detector test. Banpot was later arrested and jailed.

He was refused bail several times and stated that he “planned to confess once the trial began and hoped to seek royal pardon as soon as possible.”

On 1 September 2014, Chaleaw was found guilty under Article 112 of the Criminal Code and Article 14 of the Computer Crimes Act and sentenced to three years. This was halved and suspended for two years. He had already been held for 84 days. The suspension is a surprise in lese majeste cases, and PPT can only recall one other.

Prosecutors were aghast that a lese majeste conviction did not result in jail time and appealed.

In a secret appeals court hearing Chaleaw was sentenced to five years under Article 112 of the Criminal Crime Code and Article 14 of the 2007 Computer Crime Code for importing illegal online content.

The jail term was halved to two years and six months because the defendant entered a guilty plea, but the court refused to suspend the jail term. The verdict was read in secret with no one allowed into the court except the defense lawyer and the prosecutors.

It was reported on 9 September 2015 that Chaleaw had been granted bail by the Supreme Court while he and his lawyers prepared an appeal.





Lese majeste bail

10 09 2015

In an unusual move, the Supreme Court has granted bail to Chaleaw J., a tailor born in Chaiyaphum.

Chaleaw was recently sentenced in a secret appeals court hearing to five years under Article 112 of the Criminal Crime Code and Article 14 of the 2007 Computer Crime Code for importing illegal online content.

Chaleaw and his lawyers are preparing an appeal to the Supreme Court.





No mercy

3 09 2015

Last year, Chaleaw J., a 55 year-old tailor born in Chaiyaphum, resident in Bangkok and a self-taught computer geek was convicted of lese majeste on 1 September 2014. He was sentenced to three years, which was halved and suspended for two years.

The prosecution was dumbfounded that a lese majeste case could see a person go free and so appealed. According to Prachatai, in a secret appeals court hearing Chaleaw was sentenced “to five years in jail of offenses under Article 112 of the Criminal Crime Code, lese majeste law, and Article 14 of the 2007 Computer Crime Code for importing illegal online content.”

The report states that the “jail term was halved to two years and six months because the defendant pleaded guilty, but the court did not suspend the jail term. The verdict was read in camera and no one was allowed into the courtroom except the defense lawyer and the prosecutors.”

He was accused of being a part of the Banpot network.

For the royalists, this is “justice.”





Lese majeste detentions skyrocket under military rule

23 11 2014

The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) is an important “international NGO defending all civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It acts in the legal and political field for the creation and reinforcement of international instruments for the protection of Human Rights and for their implementation.” It has released this statement on lese majeste repression in Thailand:

Thailand’s military junta, the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), must end the arbitrary deprivation of liberty of individuals under the country’s draconian lèse-majesté laws, FIDH and its member organization Union for Civil Liberty (UCL) urged today. Fifteen of the 20 individuals currently behind bars on lèse-majesté charges have been either detained or imprisoned after the 22 May 2014 military coup.

“Under the pretext of protecting the monarchy, the junta has embarked on a witch hunt that has significantly eroded fundamental human rights,” said FIDH President Karim Lahidji. “Trials in military courts, closed-door proceedings, and the systematic denial of the right to bail have become a disturbing reality of the junta’s overzealous enforcement of lèse-majesté laws.”

“The junta must immediately end the unnecessary deprivation of liberty for alleged violators of lèse-majesté laws and restore all guarantees of fair trials,” urged UCL Chairman Jaturong Boonyarattanasoontorn.

Article 112 of the Thai Criminal Code states that “whoever defames, insults or threatens the King, the Queen, the Heir to the throne or the Regent shall be punished with imprisonment of three to 15 years.”

Under the military junta, authorities have stepped up investigations, arrests, and prosecution of individuals suspected of lèse-majesté.

On 14 October 2014, National Police Acting Deputy Chief Lt Gen Chakthip Chaijinda said that police aimed at bringing charges in about 50% of the 93 lèse-majesté active investigations by the end of the year.

Since 22 May, 18 individuals have been arrested for allegedly violating Article 112 of the Criminal Code. Two have been released on bail and five have been sentenced to prison terms for offenses committed before the military coup, with one released on a suspended sentence.

On 18 November, a military court in Bangkok deliberated its first case and sentenced web radio host Kathawuth Boonpitak, 59, to five years in prison. The court found Kathawut guilty of making comments that defamed the monarchy during a political talk show aired on his website in March 2014. Defendants cannot appeal the verdicts of military courts.

On 4 November, a Bangkok Criminal Court sentenced 24-year-old student Akkaradet Iamsuwan to two-and-a-half years in prison under Article 112 of the Criminal Code and Article 14 of the Computer Crimes Act. Akkaradet was found guilty of posting a Facebook message on 15 March 2014 that the court deemed it insulted the monarchy and threatened national security.

On 1 September, a Bangkok Criminal Court sentenced behind closed doors Chaleo Jankiad, a 55-year-old tailor, to a three-year suspended prison term for uploading to the web an audio clip in late 2011 that was deemed to be offensive of the monarchy. Chaleo is the only defendant who has been released as a result of a suspended sentence.

On 14 August, a Bangkok Criminal Court sentenced Yuthasak [last name withheld], a 43-year-old taxi driver, to five years in prison. Yuthasak was accused by a passenger, a Chulalongkorn University lecturer, of expressing anti-monarchy views. The passenger recorded the conversation on her phone and filed a lèse-majesté complaint against Yuthasak in January 2014.

On 31 July, the Ubon Ratchathani Provincial Court sentenced 28-year-old musician [name withheld] to 15 years in prison under Article 112 of the Criminal Code and Article 14 of the Computer Crimes Act. The court found him guilty of posting messages on Facebook between 2011 and 2012 that were deemed to insult the monarchy.

All five defendants saw their original sentences halved because they pleaded guilty to the charges.

In addition to these verdicts, on 19 September, the Court of Appeals upheld a Bangkok Criminal Court’s lèse-majesté conviction of Somyot Phrueksakasemsuk. The court failed to inform Somyot, his lawyer, and his family members that the hearing would take place on that day. On 19 November, Somyot filed an appeal to the Supreme Court against his conviction. Court officials have denied Somyot’s requests for bail 15 times. Somyot suffers from hypertension and he is not receiving adequate treatment at the Bangkok Remand Prison.

In the overwhelming majority of lèse-majesté cases, courts have denied bail for detainees awaiting trial. FIDH and UCL believe that this deprivation of liberty is in violation of the principle that release must be the rule and provisional detention the exception, as stipulated by Article 9 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Thailand is a State party.





Tailor sentenced on lese majeste conviction

2 09 2014

Prachatai reports that Chaleaw J., a tailor, has been found guilty by the Criminal Court of lese majeste.

On Monday the 50-year-old man was convicted “for uploading audio clips onto 4shared.com, a file-sharing website, and sentenced him to three years in jail. Since the defendant pleaded guilty, the sentence was halved and suspended for two years.”

He was convicted under Article 112 of the Criminal Code and Article 14 of the Computer Crimes Act after being held without bail for 84 days, initially detained by the military after the 2014 coup.

Chaleaw claimed he “did not intend to distribute the clips to anyone else and said he was not aware that uploading the clips could be a crime.”

The saved clip that got him in trouble with the royalist authorities “was a podcast programme by red-shirt host named Banphot.”

The military “accused him of being Banphot, but Chaleaw only confessed to uploading the clips and insisted that he was not Banphot. The authorities then interrogated him three times and also interrogated him using a lie detector, while most of the other detainees were interrogated only once.”





Lese majeste cases piled high

25 07 2014

As has been said previously, the military dictatorship, as well as embedding itself, has been engaged in a widespread witch hunt on lese majeste. The witch hunt is part and parcel of a lese majeste repression that marks this regime as fascist-royalist.

Over the past couple of days, there have been several lese majeste reports deserving of widespread attention.

At the Bangkok Post it is reported that the daft authorities beholden to the military junta have recommended that the British citizen, Rose Amornpat,  be indicted by prosecutors.

Apparently, being “Thai-born” is sufficient for these dipsticks to waste their time with legal shows for the edification of royalist dolts. Or maybe they think that making a show of Rose’s “case” will deter others from point out that the Thai monarchy is an anti-democratic and fabulously wealthy bunch of parasites who suck up taxpayers’ funds for the amusement of a bunch of really rather strange royal family and sundry hanger-on.

If the Office of the Attorney-General indicts the British citizen, it will then cooperate with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs “to bring back” Chatwadee Rose Amornpat to be “prosecuted in Thailand…”. Silly, yes, but that’s how mad monarchists are.

At Prachatai an important report notes that lese majeste detainees continue to be denied bail under the military junta. It mentions three cases:

Akradet E., a third-year engineering student at Mahanakorn University of Technology, is alleged to have posted remarks on Facebook against the monarchy. A complaint was made against him in March 2014.

He has been denied bail four times since 18 July.

The Criminal Court states “there was no justification to change the refusal of bail since the defendant was an educated adult who knew of his acts and detention would prevent possible flight.”

Chaleaw J. is a 55 year-old tailor born in Chaiyaphum. He is reportedly a resident of Bangkok and a self-taught computer geek who was arrested for allegedly lese majeste materials he stored at 4shared.com, a free file sharing and storage website.

Amongst the hundreds of clips stored were online red-shirt radio programmes and a few speeches by the exiled Banphot who specializes in radical anti-monarchist diatribes.  “I mostly forgot what I had stored there,” said Chaleaw.

He was detained by the junta on 3 June and charged on 9 June on lese majeste and computer crimes charges.

He has requested bail twice, and was refused, and now hoped he might get it after a third time. He said he “planned to confess once the trial began and hoped to seek royal pardon as soon as possible.”

Rung Sila is the penname of a 51-year-old poet and cyber activist. He said he was apprehended on 24 June 2014 while on his way to a neighbouring country to wait for his application for “Person of Concern” status to be processed by the UN refugee agency.

Some 40 fully-equipped officers raided and arrested his daughter, niece and nephew in Songkhla trying to grab Rung. He tried to make contact with the UNHCR to seek asylum status but was then intercepted and arrested in Kalasin.

Rung’s poems and his online articles and comments are “passionate and critical of the elite establishment.” He urges the people’s movement to move beyond the United Democratic Front Against Dictatorship. He says the UDD is “finished and the future of the country lay in the hands of individuals.”