Yellow “justice”

5 03 2019

After the Supreme Court finally upheld finally upheld the sentencing of six leaders of the People’s Alliance for Democracy to eight months in jail for actions during its occupation of Government House in 2008 it was thought by some that this was a late but appropriate judicial recognition of PAD’s illegal actions.

However, that seems to have been a foolish conclusion when writing about the judiciary in Thailand. As reported by Khaosod and the Bangkok Post, a “court on Monday found a group of anti-government protest leaders not guilty of multiple charges for their siege of the parliament in 2008 which turned fatal.”

That protest by PAD sought to topple a pro-Thaksin Shinawatra elected government and laid siege to parliament seeking to prevent it meeting. Police were ordered to clear the parliament entrance, and fired rounds of tear gas at the protesters in the morning of Oct. 7, 2008. Two people died in the clashes and about 380 were injured, including police. One of the PAD dead blew himself up in his car bomb.

In 2012 prosecutors charged 21 PAD leaders and argued that the protesters caused serious unrest in their resistance to the police and using various weapons against police. They were also accused of using threats to block members of the parliament from entering the building, injuring several policemen, locking all gates of the parliament, detaining officials inside the parliament for hours, and threatening to detain MPs.

The Criminal Court now declares that the demonstration “was protected by the constitution and did not constitute sedition despite confrontation with riot police…”. The court flocked to support PAD, ruling “that the leaders of the rally briefed followers on the extent of then-government’s corruption and mentioned attempts to amend the constitution in favour of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra…”. In other words, the court ruled that PAD supported the 2007 constitution and was protected by that constitution. The court also declared that “violence only broke out after officers fired tear gas at the crowd.”

No court seems to apply the same ruling in the case of red shirt protesters, preferring double standards.

For an accounts of the events, including PAD’s violence, see Nick Nostitz at New Mandala. At Andrew MacGregor Marshall’s Facebook page there’s an assessment of the ruling and events of the day.





EC and double standards

22 02 2019

The Election Commission is under pressure from both its military masters and by those who want it to do its job as a neutral election manager. The junta has been using the EC for its own purposes, so it is those wanting the EC to do its defined job will be disappointed. The EC continues to evidence remarkable double standards.

EC chairman Ittiporn Boonpracong has tried to deny these double standards, insisting “there are justifications for handling two cases involving the Thai Raksa Chart Party (TRC) and the Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) differently.”

Ittiporn did not appear to say how it was that the commission forwarded the Thai Raksa Chart “case to the Constitutional Court without any prior investigation.” He reckoned that the EC had “obtained enough evidence that the party committed an act deemed hostile to the monarchy.”

His “evidence” seemed to be the king’s command/statement/announcement that sated that “members of the royal family are above politics and cannot hold political positions.” Others disagree and note that the king’s “command” is not law.

Confirming double standards, EC secretary-general Jarungvith Phumma said the “EC has enough evidence in the TRC case” but  that the Palang Pracharath case “needs more time to gather evidence and investigate.”

In other words, back to square one. The EC decided on the Thai Raksa Chart case without investigation and when it comes to the junta’s party, “investigation” is glacial.





Justice system a politicized tatters

1 02 2019

Thailand’s judiciary is in tatters. Politicized for years, conscripted into judicial activism and royalist to the core, the judiciary is unable to work independently or even to maintain rule of law.

The most recent example involves the Appeals Court upheld an earlier court ruling “that dismissed a trial against nine yellow-shirt leaders who demonstrations against late prime minister Samak Sundaravej in 2008.”

The court decided, against all evidence, that Chamlong Srimuang, Sondhi Limthongkul, Pipob Thongchai, Somkiat Pongpaiboon, Somsak Kosaisuk, Suriyasai Katasila, Chaiwat Sinsuwongse, Amorn Amornrattanond and Therdpoum Jaidee:

were … not guilty … [when] the Appeals Court …ruled that their protests under the now-defunct People’s Alliance for Democracy … were conducted peacefully and according to democratic principles.

They had stood accused of “attempting to use force to change the government and instigating chaos in the country.” This related to their extended protests in Bangkok and the seizure of government offices. Other charges relates to possessing weapons such as baseball bats, iron bars, axes and catapults.

The Appeals Court dismissed the weapons charges saying they may not have belonged to the protesters. The court then “found that the defendants were not guilty when they obstructed the authorities’ attempts to demolish their tents, saying that the incident did not start from the defendants’ side,” despite the fact that they occupied these buildings and their grounds.

The court then “ruled that the protests led by the nine defendants in 2008 were conducted peacefully, in a manner which was allowed in a democracy and under the Constitution.”

Of course, similar manufactured dismissals were manufactured as convictions for red shirts.

The justice system has brought itself into disrepute.





Anti-democrats and twisted justice

24 01 2019

We are not lawyers. However, we do think that some of the odd legal decisions emanating from Thailand’s courts would baffle the best-qualified lawyers.

The Bangkok Post reports that the Supreme Court:

upheld the suspended one-year jail sentence and 50,000-baht fine handed down to three Democrat [Party] politicians for defaming former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra during their TV programme.

In February 2012, on the anti-democrat Blue Sky Channel, run by the Democrat Party, Sirichoke Sopha, Chavanont Intarakomalyasut and Thepthai Senapong, all MPs, accused then Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra of missing parliament to engage in an extra-marital affair at a Bangkok hotel.

Of course, there are the usual double standards involved in suspending a sentence for these misogynists. Those on the other side of politics have quite often spent periods in jail for defamation.

The Supreme Court ruled that the comments “were unfair.” But then the tremendous bias of the courts was revealed:

The court suspended the jail term because Yingluck, as a national administrator, should have shown transparency but had never explained the matter to the public. Only during the trial did she reveal she had a business meeting with a property developer.

If true, there was no reason to keep the activity secret and raise suspicions, the court ruled. The court saw the three men had good intentions and therefore suspended the jail term for two years.

The courts have effectively confirmed that misogyny is an acceptable political weapon. That’s to be expected as both the civilian anti-democrats and military misogynists have been comfortable attacking Yingluck as a woman and women in general.

Justice in Thailand is riddled with and twisted by politicized injustice.





Responding to threats

23 01 2019

Interestingly, the Bangkok Post has been forced to apologize to the whole judiciary for an editorial criticizing the judges over their intimidation of activists in Chiang Mai.

The editorial pointed to events concerning the luxury housing project for judicial staff that gobbled up several rai of forest on Doi Suthep.

That the Post had to replace today’s editorial with a “clarification.” One can only imagine the pressure brought to bear on the editor for getting a couple of details just a little skewed.

Under the junta, the judiciary has become powerful and virtually untouchable at the same time that the judiciary has declined as an institution and become a politicized rabble that often displays double standards and an ability to warp law in favor of the great, the good and the judges themselves.





The junta’s campaign double standards

10 01 2019

With rumors that a royal decree is due at any moment, parties are continuing to campaign and the military junta is continuing to cheat.

The most recent example is the sudden withdrawal of permission for the Puea Thai Party to use a sports stadium for a campaign rally in Phayao.

Out of the blue, the Phayao Provincial Administration Organization withdrew its previous permission to allow use of the sports stadium to be used. Suddenly, the PAO discovered – was told – that this could not be done. Hurriedly, the PAO decided to “explain” this by declaring that allowing the party to use the government stadium “would give the party an unfair advantage over other political parties.”

Gen Prawit Wongsuwan, confirmed that he was lying when he said that he knew nothing of this but then declared “he believed the PAO acted according to the law.”

Knew nothing but knew it was legal. Yeah, right. Baldfaced lying has been a a defining feature of fascists worldwide, and so it is in Thailand.

He was caught out when reporters asked him why it was that the junta’s devil party, Palang Pracharath, had been able to use a government facility in Phayao for a campaign rally, the lying general suddenly decided that the whole thing was a provincial affair.

Double standards? You bet, big ones.

Cheating? Of course.

Rigging the election? Yes, still rigging.





NACC missing in inaction

21 12 2018

The National Anti-Corruption Commission is a politicized and partisan organization. Meant to be an independent agency, it is a tool of the military junta and other anti-democrats.

The Bangkok Post reports that a legal pressure group has pushed the NACC “to speed up probes into irregularities in police station construction projects, saying the anti-graft agency would be held to account if they failed to do so.”

“Speed up” is a euphemism for “do something!”

The case referred to is the “construction of 396 police stations in question, worth 6.67 billion baht, was part of a project endorsed by cabinet members during the Abhisit Vejjajiva administration.” Of course, this (non)investigation by the NACC involves then “deputy prime minister Suthep Thaugsuban was accused of not having consulted fellow ministers regarding changes made later to the project. He allegedly granted PCC Development & Construction the right to be the sole contractor, which was accused of abandoning the project later.” THe question is, who pocketed the money. No prizes for guessing.

So, exactly how long has the NACC been (not) investigating? The report states the “NACC in 2013 set up a panel to determine whether Mr Suthep had breached Section 157 of the Criminal Code by committing misconduct or dereliction of duty regarding his handling of the project.”

Sometime in some junta-inspired fairy tale, the NACC said it would wrap up “the case by the end of this year.” They have another 10 days.

We wonder if the (non)investigation of Deputy Dictator Gen Prawit Wongsuwan’s dead man’s watches is going on for another four years? We guess that if the junta pulls of its stolen election, four years would be just about enough for another junta-led government to see out its term.

But there’s a twist to Suthep’s (non)investigation. Just a few days ago, completely out of the blue and following two acquittals, Tharit Pengdit, formerly of the Department of Special Investigation, changed a plea to guilty in a defamation suit against him by Suthep, lodged in 2013.How’s that work? Who threatened Tharit?

We can only marvel at how the “justice system” works so well for the great and the good, implementing double standards and protecting big shots in business, politics and the civil and military bureaucracies.

The junta just adores such pliable non-independence.