Another huge lese majeste sentence

16 12 2015

Prachatai rports reports yet another huge lese majeste sentence, with the Military Court sentencing 49 year-old accountant and single mother Chayapa Chokpornbutsri to 19 years imprisonment on lese majeste, computer crimes and sedition charges. She was sentenced in the absence of legal advice.

Sasinan Thamnithinan, a lawyer from Thai Lawyers for Human Rights, states that on 15 December 2015, the Military Court of Bangkok sentenced her. As is usual practice, her 19 years was halved because Chayapa was convinced by her captors to plead guilty.

Chayapha, a red shirt from Samut Prakan, was accused of lese majeste during a police media conference on 24 June 2015 after having been arrested under martial law on 23 June 2015.

In the media event soon after she was arrested, Chayapa was presented as having been responsible for “fabricating and disseminating news” about a “second coup.” She is reported to have used a pseudonym to post an image of a military tank with the message saying a counter-coup was on its way.

At the time of her being paraded as a “political criminal,” the police made another regular claim in such political “crimes.” They said a network and conspiracy was involved. They claimed that “[d]ata extracted from her computers revealed that Mrs Chayapa had contacted a man called Jack who was in Australia.” The police purport that “Jack” was “in the same group as anti-government activist Manoon or Anek Chaichacha, alias Anek Sanfran, a suspect in the bombing of the Criminal Court at Ratchadapisek.” Police and the military make this claim against Anek in order to make lese majeste an act of “terrorism.” They also claimed that Chayapa was “in contact” with Chatwadee Rose Amornpat, who is “also wanted by police on lese majeste charges.”

When she got to “court,” it sentenced her to 19 years imprisonment during a deposition hearing without informing her lawyer. Her lawyer reported that Chayapa pleaded guilty during the deposition hearing because she was “stressful about the court procedures and did not received consultation from her family [or lawyer]…”.

Chayapa was only informed by the authorities on 14 December 2015 that she was going to court and they did not inform Chayapa’s lawyer. She appeared and they sent her to jail, unrepresented. This is how “justice” operates under the military junta.





Strange maneuverings I

23 10 2015

When it comes to Thailand’s feudal institutions, nothing is extraordinary. The new round of lese majeste cases raises numerous questions, almost none of which may be seriously asked or addressed in the country due to Article 112 and the military dictatorship’s monarchy psychosis.

The current cases against Suriyan Sujaritpalawong, Jirawong Wattanathewasilp and Pol Maj Prakrom Warunprapha will likely remain in an opaque cloud of rumor, fear and state obfuscation for years if not decades.

The Bangkok Post reports that the authorities have now “frozen some of the assets of the three lese majeste suspects…”. We are told they used the “monarchy to obtain benefits” and that the cases are “similar to the criminal case against former Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) chief Pongpat Chayaphan, whose criminal network was brought down late last year.”

It might have been a criminal network, but all of those associated with it were linked to the crown prince and/or his then wife, Princess Srirasmi. What is happening in the prince’s household that has him associated with criminal networks? Is the military junta protecting him or undermining him?

Whatever it is, the police say that they are “expanding their investigation…”. The press is told that this may include “eight CIB police officers who were transferred to inactive posts on Sunday pending a probe” and who are now said to have “cooperated well with investigators and they were providing useful information.”

One of the more bizarre elements of the current cases is that these are not persons who can be considered opponents of the monarchy.

Indeed, Pol Maj Prakrom “won a scholarship from the Defence Ministry to further his military studies in England …[and a]fter graduating, he served as a soldier at the army’s Artillery Centre in Lop Buri.” He later joined the police force. He had a slip-up in 1999, and “was dismissed from the police following an accusation that he forged the signature of the late Supreme Patriarch. However, prosecutors later decided not to indict him.” Who arranged that?

He later joined the Technology Crime Suppression Division and was with the Crime Suppression Division special operations unit when arrested. The Post buys off at this point, just when the story is getting interesting. Fortunately, a report in Khaosod has more.

It states that Prakrom “served as an officer in the online crime unit from January until last Friday…”. That is, he was at the Technology Crime Suppression Division, in charge of hunting lese majeste online. Indeed, Prakrom played a key role in the investigation of Pongpat! He also played a role in having Chayapa Chokpornbutsri arrested back in June. She allegedly “spread rumors of an imminent counter-coup against junta chairman Prayuth Chan-ocha.”

Readers may recall that “Chayapha was later charged with lese majeste after Prakrom’s unit said it found critical remarks about the monarchy on social media.”

So Prakrom is at the center of the group of monarchy protectors within the state. Who has he damaged within that group? Was he close to the prince or is he being punished?

Suriyan is very well known as a soothsayer to the elite and, until recently, was proclaimed close to the prince: “Before his arrest, he served as an adviser to a subcommittee responsible for holding activities for the ‘Bike for Mom’ cycling event in August, as well as the ‘Bike for Dad’ event scheduled for December.” What has he done? Has he fallen out with the prince or is the junta decapitating the prince’s closest advisers?

Strange times indeed.





Coup rumors and lese majeste

25 06 2015

In a report at the Bangkok Post on the arrest of a woman for “fabricating and disseminating news” about a “second coup” includes a statement that indicates that the woman is also accused of lese majeste.

PPT has earlier posted that stories of internal discord within the military had spooked the dictatorship although we noted that some reports about the source of the rumors seemed highly unlikely. The super sleuths in the corrupt police force, who seem unable to “solve” few real crimes, always seem to have a media presentation in political cases that almost invariably turn out to be false accusations or are stories that quickly disappear. And so they have in this case.

Police spokesman Lt Gen Prawut Thawornsiri told a press conference that Chayapa Chokpornbutsri, 49, was arrested in Samut Prakan’s Muang district on Monday by the military “for questioning under martial law.” The military court only issued a warrant after her arrest. She is accused of being a Facebook account holder using the name of “Chanisa B” where the police and military claim the first “news that there would be another coup by the same group of people who staged the latest coup last year” was posted.

The military dictatorship is convinced that the “news” caused “the public to panic.” There’s no evidence for this at all. Rather, the junta was miffed, angry and anxious.

It is then stated:

Apart from posting the “second coup” coup news, Mrs Chayapa was also found to have posted messages deemed insulting to the monarchy in violation of Section 112 of the Criminal Code and the Computer Crime Act.

The police claim that “Mrs Chayapa confessed to the charges.” The police invariably make such claims in these media circuses. It is not clear that she has “confessed” to lese majeste accusations.

The police then made another regular claim in such political “crimes.” They say that a network and conspiracy was involved. They claim that “[d]ata extracted from her computers revealed that Mrs Chayapa had contacted a man called Jack who was in Australia.” The police purport that “Jack” was “in the same group as anti-government activist Manoon or Anek Chaichacha, alias Anek Sanfran, a suspect in the bombing of the Criminal Court at Ratchadapisek.” Police and the military make this claim against Anek in order to make lese majeste an act of “terrorism.”

They also claim that Chayapa was “in contact” with Chatwadee Rose Amornpat, who is “also wanted by police on lese majeste charges.”

Apparently, this flimsy stuff is “evidence” of a conspiracy. The political nature of the use of lese majeste is crystal clear.








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