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.

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.

Dancer-activist in 112 arrest

6 08 2022

Clipped from Prachatai FB. Photo attributed to Kaimaew Cheese

Prachatai reports that on 4 August 2022, Mint (pseudonym), a traditional Thai dancer-turned-activist, was arrested at her house on Article 112 and computer crimes.

It is reported that her “crime” was posting a picture of a protest sign criticising the handling of lese majeste cases.

Police officers told Mint “that they were taking her to Yannawa Police Station and that she should tell her lawyer to meet there.”

However, like other recently detained on similar charges, she was actually taken to “the narcotics suppression bureau, which is outside Yannawa police’s jurisdiction.”

A later Prachatai Facebook update stated that a court allowed bail of 200,000 baht. As usual, bail was conditional. She must not repeat her offenses, not interfere with court proceedings, must stay at home between 19.00 -06.00, and must not leave the country.

Currently, at least 28 political dissidents and activists are still being detained.

Kanlaya gets 6 years on lese majeste

5 08 2022

Narathiwat Provincial Court has been busy with Article 112 cases. Like other royalist courts, it has been jailing people. Just a few days ago we posted on the sentencing of Udom (pseudonym), a 34-year-old factory worker, to 6 years in prison using Article 112 and the Computer Crimes Act. In that post, we also linked to the pending case of Kanlaya, a 27-year-old employee of a company in Nonthaburi, facing lese majeste and computer crimes charges following a complaint by ultra-royalist vigilante Pasit Chanhuaton. The odious Pasit had also complained about Udom.

Kanlaya’s now been sentenced.

Thai Lawyers for Human Rights reports that Kanlaya was found guilty under Article 112 and computer crimes. She was sentenced her to 6 years in prison.

Kanlaya denied the charges.

The complaint against Kanlaya concerned a number of Facebook posts and comments about the King and the 2020 – 2021 pro-democracy protests. iLaw reported that one of the comments was made on a Facebook post about the film The Treacherous, a Korean period drama film about a tyrannical king, which caused another Facebook user to accuse Kanlaya of insulting King Vajiralongkorn, so her friends argued with the person to defend her. She speculated that the user was not happy with what happened and started collecting information from her Facebook page before filing charges against her.

Another post was a picture Kanlaya took during a protest at Wongwian Yai on 17 October 2020 of a message sprayed-painted onto the road. She was also charged for sharing posts made by exiled academic Somsak Jeamteerasakul and activist Tanawat Wongchai and adding comments to them.

The “evidence” against her “included made up screenshots without a URL or a date and time of the posts, so they could have been edited, while each post could be interpreted widely if read separately and mentioned no one by name.”

But the royalist court was unconvinced and went to work concocting its conviction:

… the Court ruled that she was guilty because she testified during the police inquiry process that her former partner used to be able to access her Facebook account, but she changed the password after they broke up in December 2020, so it is believable that she was the one using the account.

The Court also ruled that the messages combined with the movement for monarchy reform can be interpreted to be referring to King Vajiralongkorn, and that they are intended to cause hatred against the King, affecting national security.

Thai Lawyers for Human Rights says ultra-mad royalist Pasit has now filed 112 “complaints with the police in Sungai Kolok against at least 20 people, none of whom lives in Narathiwat.”

Kanlaya was granted bail in order to appeal.  She was bailed.

Activist hit with 112 charge

3 08 2022

Prachatai reports that Shinawat Chankrachang, a democracy campaigner and anti-112 activist, was arrested on 30 July 2022, charged using Article 112, computer crimes, and “using a sound amplifier without permission for participating in a protest in front of the South Bangkok Criminal Court on 28 July, in which protesters stood for 1 hours and 12 minutes to demand the release of detained activists.”

As is usual – and increasingly seems state organized – the complaint against Shinawat “was filed on 29 July by the ultra-royalist group People’s Centre to Protect the Monarchy, which claimed that Chinnawat acted ‘inappropriately’ in front of the King’s portrait, and that he gave a speech accusing the King of using judicial power to harass people.”

Shinawat was reportedly “arrested at around 18.20 on Saturday (30 July). Officers from Yannawa Police Station went to his home and presented an arrest warrant before taking him to the Narcotics Suppression Bureau on Vibhavadi Rangsit Road, despite the protest taking place in Yannawa Police Station’s jurisdiction.”

He was held at the Narcotics Suppression Bureau for two nights before appearing before the royalist South Bangkok Criminal Court on 1 August.

Before getting to the court Shinawat had already “refused to take part in the judicial process, and so did not allow his lawyer to object to the temporary detention request or post bail for him.”

The Court later approved his detention for 12 days and he’s being held at the Bangkok Remand Prison while the police conduct something referred to as “an investigation.”

Shinawat questioned “the neutrality of the court when ruling on a case of royal defamation, since it has declared itself to be an organization acting in the name of the King.” He argued that: “Since the King is a party to the conflict in a royal defamation case, … he refused to accept the authority of the court until it can prove itself to be neutral and not under the authority of the King.”

At the rally, “Chinnawat and several other protesters also shaved their heads in front of a portrait of King Vajiralongkorn to call attention to the use of the royal defamation law against citizens without regard for human rights. They also performed a traditional curse ritual involving the burning of salt and chilli.”

Ginger Cat photo clipped from Prachtai

This is not Shinawat’s first lese majeste charge (see here and here).

We at PPT are elated that Shinawat is challenging the royalist judiciary! It is hoped that this is (another) beginning to such challenges.

Worker convicted of lese majeste

29 07 2022

Prachatai via Thai Lawyers for Human Rights report that on 26 July 2022, the Narathiwat Provincial Court sentenced Udom (pseudonym), a 34-year-old factory worker, to 6 years in prison using Article 112 and the Computer Crimes Act. He was accused of “bringing into a computer system data which affect national security,” meaning the monarchy. A confession reduced his sentence to 4 years.

Udom is appealing. He was granted bail with a security of 45,000 baht, and must report to the village chief in his district once a month.

As is now commonplace, the complaint against Udom was filed by an ultra-royalist. Phasit Chanhuaton who complained about seven Facebook posts made between October 2021 and January 2021.

Phasit has filed several other 112 complaints with the police in Sungai Kolok (see here). None of those complaints is against anyone who lives in Sungai Kolok or even in the south of Thailand.

Udom lives in Prachinburi and had to travel to Narathiwat five times to report to the police and attend court.

Udom confessed that he owned the Facebook profile page and made the posts. However, he stated that “the posts were not intended to defame the current King since none of them include a name and can be interpreted as referring to several people.”

The Narathiwat Provincial Court found Udom guilty for two of the seven posts.

No bail for political prisoners

8 07 2022

Prachatai reports on the (repeated) failed bail efforts for Netiporn and Natthanit, using information from Thai Lawyers for Human Rights. The two have been jailed since 3 May 2022.

Netiporn (l) and Baipor (r), clipped from Prachatai

On 7 July, the Southern Bangkok Criminal Court again denied bail to the two young monarchy reform activists who are in pre-trial detention.

Part of the bail application was regarding health matters, where, after 36 days of hunger strike, both detainees “are exhibiting signs of seriously deteriorating health.”

The presiding judge decided “that the Correctional Hospital is still capable of seeing to the activists’ health needs.” It is reported that a “prison officer and nurse testified that they have just ‘lost some weight’ but [that the two detainees] remained in good spirits.”

It is stated that the “Court considered the request for more than 6 hours, summoning prison nurses and witnesses, before announcing its decision on 7 July.”

Netiporn and Natthanit had their bail revoked on 3 May when the South Bangkok Criminal Court ruled that they had violated bail from previous lese majeste charges when they caused “public disorder at Victory Monument on 13 March 2022 when they organised a poll on land expropriation. During the incident, a small altercation arose between Thaluwang supporters and members of a royalist group that had gathered nearby.”

Their article 112 charges, supplemented by charges of sedition and refusing to comply with a police order when “they conducted a poll on 8 February 2022 at Siam Paragon shopping mall about royal motorcades.”

Other lese majeste charges were brought against them and fellow activist Supitcha Chailom for another survey “on whether it was acceptable for the government to let the King use his powers as he pleases.” That arrest was on 28 April 2022.

Natthanit was also arrested on 22 April 2022 and charged under Article 112 and computer crimes “for sharing a Facebook post about the monarchy budget.”

Portrait lese majeste

3 07 2022

Thai Lawyers for Human Rights, cited by Prachatai, reported that digital artist Thopad Atanan, 27, was arrested on 30 June 2022 and charged with lese majeste and computer crimes.

According to the police, “the charges are related to a portrait of King Vajiralongkorn which was posted on Instagram on 16 September 2021. The police said that the portrait defamed the King…”. The arrest came 9 months after the allege offenses and Thopad had never received a summons.

It is reported that “11 police officers from the Technology Crime Suppression Division (TCSD) raided the home of … Thopad …, an independent digital artist who often posted artwork about the pro-democracy movement, and arrested her for royal defamation under Section 112 of the Thai Criminal Code and for importing into into a computer system data which is an offense against national security under Section 14 of the Computer Crimes Act.”

Armed with a search warrant, the police “confiscated a computer, a painting, and a mobile phone. They declined to let anyone photograph the arrest warrant and the search warrant.

Thopad denied all charges.

The police asked the court for temporary detention claiming they “still have to interview 4 additional witness[es], check her computer and mobile phone, and her criminal record.” The Court approved “bail on a 90,000-baht security, covered by the Will of the People Fund, a bail fund for people facing charges for participating in the pro-democracy movement.” The court also “ordered Thopad to appoint a supervisor and required her to present a letter of consent from her supervisor by Friday (1 July). The Court also set the conditions that she must not repeat her offense and must report to her supervisor every 15 days. She must also report to the court on 17 August 2022.”

According to TLHR, at least 208 people has been charged with royal defamation since November 2020, more than half of whom has been charged for their online political expression. 

Using 112 against the mentally ill

23 06 2022

Prachatai, using information from Thai Lawyers for Human Rights, reports that a man named Punyaphat (last name withheld), 29, “has been sentenced to 12 years in prison for posts he made in the Facebook group Royalist Marketplace about King Vajiralongkorn and Queen Suthida’s popularity and the King’s trips to Germany.”

Like several others who have been sentenced under Article 112, Punyaphat is said to suffer “mental illness.”

TLHR say that, on 20 June 2022, “the Samut Prakan Provincial Court ruled that the 4 posts Punyapat made on Royalist Marketplace, a Facebook group where people discuss the monarchy, on 9 and 10 May 2020 were intended to cause hatred against the King and Queen, and that the content of the posts is false and defamed the King.”

The Court “sentenced him to 12 years in prison for royal defamation and violation of the Computer Crimes Act. The sentence was reduced to 4 years and 24 months because Punyaphat confessed.” [This is an accurate quote, but the reduced sentence details must be wrong or lacking details. We guess 6 years, as a reduction is usually 50%.]

Punyaphat’s mother has stated that her son “suffers from attention deficit and shows obsessive-compulsive behaviour. She also said that he can only communicate on a limited basis and is unable to control himself in stressful situations or if he is afraid, and that he is not able to work or leave the house by himself and must be under the care of his family at all times.”

However, the royalist Court claimed “Punyaphat was capable of contesting the charges and there was no need to send him to a psychiatrist, since he is able to talk about himself.”  The court and its officers ignored all claims about Punyaphat’s mental condition, including by his lawyers.

While Punyaphat and his family live in Kamphaeng Phet, because the complaint “was filed by Siwapan Manitkul …  at Bangkaew Police Station in Samut Prakan, Punyapat and his family had to travel at least 5 hours from  for each court appointment.”

Siwapan is reported to have filed “at least 9 royal defamation complaints filed against other citizens for social media posts in 2020.”

Following the verdict, “Punyaphat’s lawyers posted bail for him in order to appeal the charges, and also stated that sending him to prison would prevent him from receiving proper treatment for his mental condition. He was released on bail using a 225,000-baht security.”

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