รัฐธรรมนูญ/Constitutions

7 06 2016

On 4 June 2016, Same Sky Books or Fa Diaw Kan live streamed a seminar on the launch of a new book on constitutions (เสวนา “รัฐธรรมนูญ” ในโอกาสจัดพิมพ์หนังสือ รัฐธรรมนูญ: ประวัติศาสตร์ข้อความคิด อำนาจสถาปนา และการเปลี่ยนผ่าน).

While all in Thai, we thought readers might be interested, including the participation of Nitirat-connected academic lawyers and other academics. It is a 4 hour video…. There are individual clips for each of the speakers also available.

 





Lese majeste repression heightened

22 10 2014

PPT isn’t really sure how much deeper and tighter the repression of the lese majeste law can get. The military dictatorship’s crude use of this form of political repression has exceeded that of the Abhisit Vejjajiva regime. That regime’s wanton use of the draconian law spurred PPT into life in 2009. Things are far worse today.

Usually, the use of lese majeste to censor and repress tells us two things. The first is pretty obvious, and that is that the regime using the law is seeking to demonstrate its ultra-royalism/ultra-“loyalty”. Second, the use of the law is a measure of the regime’s fear. For the military dictatorship, the fear is palpable. The fear is that the royalist regime is not just facing  deep crisis but is in terminal decline. That existential crisis is so great that the corrupt, unimaginative and intellectually inept military regime can only lash out at those perceived as opponents.

Prachatai has three examples of the royalist military dictatorship thrashing about and lashing out.

The first story at Prachatai explains that a military court has decided to conduct two lese majeste trials in secret, “claiming that the charges were related to the monarchy and hence to the national security…”. The report states that “the trials of Kathawut B., a red-shirt radio host whose programs allegedly contained lese majeste contents, and a man who asked not to be named would be proceeded in camera.”

This is not the first time that lese majeste trials have been secret political trials (see here and here).

Representatives from the European Union and the Office of the High Commission for Human Rights who were to observe the trials were turned away.

Prachatai reports taht the next court sitting for both cases “will be around end of November.”

A second report at Prachatai notes that a military court has “rejected a bail request of a man [Opas Charnsuksai] who wrote messages mainly criticizing the junta and allegedly making reference to the king in a shopping mall’s restrooms.” Refusing bail is the norm in lese majeste cases and infringes human and legal rights.

Finally, the third Prachatai story again involves Fa Diaw Kan/Same Sky, where the military harassment is unending. This time the military has banned the publisher’s “t-shirts, one of which has the image of a dinosaur, with possible charges of lèse majesté.” The shirts, which the military thugs took away “for inspection” are described:

A white t-shirt with a Jurassic Park logo and the message “The Lost World of Monarchical Absolutism.” The image was derived from the theme of the issue of the Same Sky Journal published in 2012.
A blue t-shirt with a tree in the middle. The root of the tree reads “Constitutional Monarchy” that grows into a tree formed from the text “Absolute Monarchy”. It is an image from the journal published in 2011.
The last one is the cult symbol of “Khun Sab Sueng” or Mr Grateful with his mouth zipped shut. The symbol of Khun Sab Sueng, normally shown crying, has been used by the anti-establishment to mock the ultra-royalists.

The fear in the royalist regime is palpable.





Dopes, censorship and repression

21 10 2014

The military brass has again declared its loyalty to its boss. Why these dolts bother beats us, but there’s always a chance that one of the dopes gets sick of the dopes above him and tries to change things. But declaring loyalty means nothing for when they do decide to act, they are unlikely to declare it. What they did declare was: “We not only give our support and encouragement to the prime minister, but we will also translate his orders into actions. We will do our best.” Their “best” may be everyone else’s “worst” as the military brass engages in a political feeding frenzy.

At Prachatai it is reported that the military has “ordered the editor of anti-establishment socio-political Same Sky journal to delete a Facebook status which states the military’s attempt to censor the publishing house.”

The military ordered editor Thanapol Eawsakul “to delete the Facebook status on the conversation with Prajak Kongkirati, a renown[ed] political scientist from Thammasat University, at the annual Book Fair in central Bangkok.” Apparently the dunderheads in the military “mistook the fan meeting [with author Prajak] as [a] political seminar and requested the book fair organizer to videotape … the event which the book fair organizer declined.”

The deleted post “stated that the night before the opening of the fair, the military officials came to search the Fah Deaw Kan’s booth, claiming that some of the books have contents that could be deemed as defaming the …. Thai monarchy.” We deleted a word at … to protect our readers from royalist nonsense.

It is reported that “Same Sky … deleted the status and said it was forced to delete the status because the military felt ‘upset’.”

Also at Prachatai, it is reported that the military arrested and detained a red shirt who attended Apiwan Wiriyachai’s funeral. Military officers arrested Nueng Katesakul for allegedly taking part “in the anti-coup protest at the Victory Monument on 28 June…”.

The repression and censorship continues.





For us, against us

8 07 2014

The lines of demarcation between the junta and its opponents are reasonably clear, as two recent event demonstrate.

If you are an ally of the junta, you get special treatment.

Bangkok Pundit recently suggested that the massive Cambodian migrant worker “exodus was so quick that it has no doubt caused political problems in Cambodia, [and] … forced Hun Sen to cooperate with the junta. (Veera’s release?).” Veera is Veera Somkwamkid, the People’s Alliance for Democracy-associate ultra-nationalist member of the Thai Patriot Network, who was detained in Cambodia following a border incursion in 2011. When he was released a few days ago, all of the old hyper-nationalist, yellow shirts got together for a party to welcome back their “hero.”

As the Bangkok Post reports, the party was arranged at the at the Royal Turf Club, where General Boonlert Kaewprasit was host. Boonlert is a favorite of the military and royalist elite not least because he was one of those who managed the revival of anti-democrat street protests for the PAD lot prior to the mobilizations that became the Suthep Thaugsuban anti-democrats, who paved the way for the coup…. and the rest is history, as they say.

The military dictatorship became worried, after the fact, that the welcome party might be seen as “double standards,” not that such claims seem to bother them in other spheres. The party was attended not just by Boonlert, but a bunch of others from the military and the anti-Thaksin Shinawatra movement including “Gen Preecha Iamsuphan, former senators Prasarn Maruekpitak, Khamnoon Sitthisamarn and Rosana Tositrakul, national artist Naowarat Pongpaiboon and other activists.”

So Veera and Boonlert were called in by the junta. The result was a bit of hugging and and a public reprimand. Then, as the Post reports it, after a couple of hours, they were “allowed to go home after a meeting with a high level officer of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO).” They even went on television to “explain”:

Gen Boonlert said in an interview with television reporters afterwards that Gen Paiboon Khumchaya, the assistant army chief and NCPO’s chief of legal and justice affairs section, asked him and Mr Veera to let the NCPO know before conducting any activity which may be construed as violating the NCPO’s orders including the ban on a political gatherings.

They agreed to comply with the request, Gen Boonlert said.

If you are seen as an opponent of the coup, you get very different treatment. Boonlert and Veera get mainstream media coverage for the party and its aftermath. Most of those present, as yellow shirt supporters of the coup, go about their business, political and otherwise. But not opponents. Khaosod reports the second detention of Thanapol Eawsakul, editor of Fa Diaw Kan.

A “senior army officer” says that the editor is having his attitude “re-adjusted.” Why? Because of “critical Facebook comments violated a condition he signed before being released from his first bout of military detention. That release form barred Mr. Thanapol from participating in politics or expressing any opinions that ‘incite unrest’.” Should the “military decide to charge Mr. Thanapol with violating the NCPO’s release conditions, the activist will be tried in military court and could face up to two years in prison.”

Compare the re-education and multiple detention of an activist writing on Facebook with the military junta’s freeing of Veera and the treatment of their friends Boonlert and Veera. This is not about double standards but about the nature of the military regime.





Updated: Meeting the junta

6 07 2014

There have already been several accounts of meetings with the men sent out by the junta to round up the people they consider opponents. A reader has alerted us to one such encounter in the south. We found the account by Hara Shintaro at Deep South Watch to be illuminating. Not only does it show that the military is remarkably incompetent, it also indicates that the military dictatorship is attempting to settle old scores.

The military has been an abject failure in dealing with problems in the south. It is unable to comprehend complex issues due to the extreme hierarchy it maintains, its politicization rather than professionalization and because of its adherence to feudal trappings and ideologies.

PPT won’t set out the report in detail here as it seems that it is widely accessible.

Update: Prachatai reports that the military junta has again arrested Thanapol Eawsakul, editor of Fa Diaw Kan or Same Sky magazine, “for another seven days stating that Thanapol violated his release order by posting messages deemed violating the junta’s order on Facebook.” Military operatives called him to “a talk” at a cafe on Phaholyothin Soi 7, and several plainclothes officers arrested him there. He is said to have been “taken to the King’s Guard, 2nd Cavalry Division in Sanam Pao area. Later he was taken to the Police’s Crime Suppression Division where he will be detained under the Martial Law for seven days.”

THe same report tells us that “academics from Chulalongkorn University’s Faculty of Political Science Assoc. Prof. Puangthong Pawakapan and Asst. Prof. Pitch Pongsawat were also invited for talks on July 3 and 4 and released on the same day…. The two academics led a group called Assembly for the Defense of Democracy which held anti-coup campaign and advocated for election prior to the May 22 coup.”





Releasing some, charging with lese majeste

30 05 2014

The lese majeste dragnet is finely meshed and large. It is recently reported that Pravit Rojanaphruk, a reporter with The Nation, and Thanapol Eawsakul, editor of Fa Diaw Kan (or Same Sky) magazine, and Surapot Thaweesak, a lecturer from Suan Dusit Rajabhat University were released from military detention today.

However, Apichart Pongsawat, who was arrested with Thanapol, “was to be escorted by soldiers to the Criminal Court to face a lese majeste charge brought against him before the May 22 military coup. ”

 





With a major update: Infantile politics

17 12 2013

The Bangkok Post reports that a “former Pheu Thai MP for Lop Buri on Monday lodged a lese majeste complaint against Suthep Thaugsuban, secretary-general of the anti-government [they mean anti-democratic] People’s Democratic Reform Committee.” This is about as dumb as it gets in Thailand’s politics. The report is that:

Suchart Sainam and his lawyer Singthong Buachoom argued that Mr Suthep had defamed Thailand’s monarchy by calling on the public to boycott the general election and demanding that the caretaker government step down and the poll be deferred.

Apparently the “complaint was received by Crime Suppression Division deputy chief” who said they would investigate.

Now, Suchart might be a mad monarchist or may just think it is a bit of reverse royalism to hit Suthep with a charge he happily bandied about in the past against his political opponents. But, really, isn’t it time that politicians became adults on lese majeste and assigned it to the dustbin of history.

Update: Of course, it is the mad monarchists who use lese majeste most often to attack, threaten and frighten opponents. Not long after we criticized the Puea Thai politician above, the rabid royalists have another charge to lay. Khaosod reports that the “coordinator of an anti-government network has urged the government to prosecute a Redshirts student activist for allegedly insulting the monarchy.” A related story is available at Prachatai.

The report is that:

Uthai Yordmanee, leader of Student and People Network For Political Reform of Thailand, said in a press conference that Mr. Ekkaphob Lueangra, a self-described vocational student who supports the Redshirt movements, has gravely defamed the monarchy in his speech at Rajamangala Stadium, where the Redshirts were holding mass rallies, on 28 November 2013.

PPT doesn’t know why, but while not identifying any particular item of lese majeste in the press conference, he “called on Mr. Jarupong Ruangsuwan, chairman of Pheu Thai Party, and Mr. Chaturon Chaisang, Minister of Education, to take legal responsibility for Mr. Ekkaphob′s remarks.” Guilt by association, perhaps, using the very broad and nasty lese majeste brush to smear many. Uthai seems to think that the two politicians allowed Ekkaphob to speak, so if he is committing lese majeste as alleged, then they are guilty too.

Of course, the yelling yellow also demanded that “Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra would also have to show her responsibility for the incident…”. Again, Uthai seems to be bonkers on this, but even the raving loonies can use lese majeste for ill purposes; and Uthai seems ill-tempered and ill of purpose.

Prachatai reports that:

police have charged an anti-establishment red-shirt supporter with lèse majesté for his coded speech at a red-shirt gathering at Rajamangala stadium on Ramkhamhaeng Road in late November.

A video clip of the speech was widely circulated on social media sites before it caught the attention of the law. A group of Internet users also disclosed his photo, home address and phone number as an act of political cyber bullying. They also found that he worked for a motor company and pressured the company via its Facebook page to punish him to show its “moral and social responsibility”.
The report states that the speech was at “a sideline red-shirt stage around the Rajamangala stadium…”, and that: Eakachai [note the different name used in the two reports] told a story of a family headed by “Uncle Somchai and Auntie Somjit” and the offspring of the couple. The speech attracted a loud acclaim and applause.At the end of the story, Eakachai spoke to the audience. “You guys feel a thrill of fear, but also like [the story]. But for me, I’d have to ask myself if I’ll be able to get through this. But I don’t care, because I didn’t refer to anybody. My speech isn’t illegal.” Apparently the police do not think so. Prachatai goes on to note that:
The fictional characters of Uncle Somchai and Auntie Somjit first appeared on the hard-core anti-establishment Same Sky web forum around 2010. The characters are known among people critical to the monarchy as code names used in a society where a speech can land a person in jail for several years or get them fired from their job because of political cyber bullying. The couple also feature in a song of Faiyen, an anti-establishment red-shirt pop band. The song is very popular among red shirts.
We think that Same Sky / Fa Diaw Kan is hardly more anti-establishment or hard core than Prachatai itself, so we are unsure why Prachatai chooses this description.
The anti-democratic movement has reason to hate Ekkaphob / Eakachai because he is a member of the progressive Red Siam group and “recently founded Gear of Red, which is a group of red-shirt vocational students and former vocational students.” The anti-democratic group has relied heavily on vocational students as their fighters, in the front line of demonstrations by rubber “farmers” in the south and in recent actions in Bangkok.
Vocational students are known for their violent clashes between schools and for their access to hand guns. THey are remembered for their brutality in the 6 October 1976 massacre at Thammasat University.




Updated: Busy day in Bangkok II: reform, rice, old kings, censorship and impunity

10 08 2013

As we noted in the first part of this post, it has been a busy few days in Bangkok, with more stories than PPT can possibly comment on, so we are now posting a second  combination of stories.

In another story that cites PPT, Asia Sentinel had a story a couple of days ago regarding the politics of amnesty. PPT is cited as an “NGO,” which is probably rather too much of a grand title for our small effort to shine a light on aspects of politics and political prisoners in Thailand. The story also seems to erroneously suggest that Thaksin Shinawatra put the 1997 constitution in place. Even so, it is true that: “Any time amnesty or constitutional reform looms, the protesters take to the streets. Pheu Thai leaders have been waiting for almost three years to attempt to push through a series of constitutional reforms…”. It would be even more accurate to notice that when the military junta’s 2007 constitution was put in place, all of the old conservatives said it could be changed by elected governments, and even made this an article of the constitution. Since then, this pledge has been shown to be a lie. In fact, then, elected governments have been waiting six years to make changes.

Also worth reading is Robert Amsterdam’s post on the Wat Pathum inquest findings. This note caught our attention:

Without truth there is no justice. And without justice there can be no real workable amnesty. Some might argue a de facto legal amnesty already exists for the extremist anti-democratic People’s Alliance for Democracy and the groups aligned with them, including Abhisit’s Democrat Party. Abhisit and his former deputy PM, Suthep Thaugsuban, have both been charged with the murder of civilian protesters in 2010, yet arrogantly strut around, even dismissing the court’s bail conditions, assured of their own impunity.

Prachatai has a post regarding censorship of books – an unofficial removal from sale – at Asia books. Of course, the books relate to the monarchy. But not the current king. These two books relate to past kings and the royalist response to the 1932 revolution. Prachatai says: “The books concern the history of the 1932 revolution and the controversial relationship between King Rama VI and his palace servants.” So why the “ban”? Asia Books withdrew the two academic titles reportedly for reasons of “political sensitivity” but declined to comment further. The book by Dr. Nattaphol Chaiching studies the “counter-revolution led by the royalists” following the 1932 revolution. Readers without Thai skills can get an idea about the book through the author’s chapter in Saying the Unsayable. The book was published by Fa Diaw Kan as part of its “Monarchy Studies Series.” The second book by Chanun Yodhong is about “Gentlemen-in-waiting”, and deals with the relationship between the gay King Vajiravudh and his palace flunkies. Prachatai states that the book “poses questions about King Rama VI and his projects such as the Boy Scouts and Vajiravudh College, a private boys-only boarding school he founded in 1910.” It is published by Matichon.

While on censorship, we feel compelled to add to the outcry about the Ministry of Information and Communications Technology’s continuing stupidity regarding Facebook posts and its use of the draconian Computer Crimes Act. Minister Anudith Nakornthap has lost his marbles if he thinks social media users should be charged and locked up for “sharing and clicking ‘Like’ on social media posts, since they could be deemed as damaging to the country’s security.” His view that “postings that are political in nature or meant to stir up public confusion might be in breach of the Internal Security Act and Computer Crime Act” is utter nonsense but clearly neanderthals can use the law to censor and stifle. Interestingly, the cyber-cops have declared the warning as a successful scare tactic. Update: Asked if clicking “like” is now against the law, Police Maj Gen Pisit Pao-in, commander of the Technology Crime Suppression Division, says: “It will be if you ‘like’ a message deemed damaging to national security. If you press ‘like’, it means you are accepting that message, which is tantamount to supporting it. By doing so, you help increase the credibility of the message and hence you should also be held responsible.” Officials like this are appallingly dull and through their dullard actions, dangerous to Thais and their rights to free speech.

PPT also wants to draw attention to a couple of posts at Bangkok Pundit. The first is not that different from what PPT said on the story/retracted Bangkok Post story on Anand Panyarachun. The second explains what happened, and comes from a source that we also had, but since Pundit has it posted, there’s no need for us to do the same.

Finally, we want to give a few lines to a report in The Economist, which identifies the rice policy as an economic millstone for the government. We agree, but then the politics of reducing the guaranteed price saw farmers protesting just a few weeks ago. An economic millstone is becoming a political millstone, and the government’s policy wonks need to find a way out.





With a major update: Royalist courts make another conviction for the monarchy

25 12 2012

The Bangkok Post (the original story is deleted and now here) reports yet another conviction on the draconian lese majeste-like computer crimes charge. This conviction is significant for the way in which it makes a rumor a case of “national security.” For a Thai/ภาษาไทย version of this verdict, see here.

On 14 October 2009 there were a series of rumors circulated that the aged king, ensconced in a hospital, was seriously ill or had died. In fact, the king had been in hospital since 19 September 2009 and almost every report since 23 September 2009 had stated that he is recovering or that his “condition has improved significantly.”  The reports from the Royal Household Bureau on royal health are almost never more than propaganda, so rumors are easily created and circulated.

This particular death rumor caused a sell-off on the stock exchange. Immediately, the then Abhisit Vejjajiva-led coalition government, already engaged in a lese majeste witrch hunt against political opponents, began a search for those responsible for the rumors.

On 1 November 2009, it was reported that two suspected rumor mongers had been arrested. Both were initially held under the Computer Crimes Act. One of those arrested was Khatha Pachachirayapong (คทา ปาจริยพงษ์), then an employee in the trading a securities trading firm KT Zmico Securities. He was eventually charged on the health rumor case and another was added, related to an earlier message, in April 2009.

The Criminal Court on Tuesday sentenced Khatha. He was given “four years imprisonment for posting online information sabotaging the monarchy and national security in 2009.” This sentence was reduced from a “six-year sentence … due to his confessions upon arrest and during the investigation.

Khatha “crime” related to “two messages posted in Samesky aka Fahdiewgan webpage on April 22 and Oct 31, 2009.” He was convicted under the Computer Crime Act’s article 14 (2).

The court revealed that the April 2009 post “referred to Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn as if she sided with the yellow-shirt People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD)…”. Again demonstrating that the courts are a fount of royalist ideology, the court concluded that such a claim was impossible: “it was not true as the monarchy was above politics and loved all sides to no exclusive satisfaction.” Any sensible person knows that this is a nonsense.

PPT assumes that the Computer Crimes Act was used in this case in order to expand the reach of the courts to Sirindhorn as she is not covered by  the lese majeste law.

The court concluded that the October post “made people believe the King, who was then hospitalised, might have passed away.” It seems that this rumor, partly due to the Royal Household Bureau’s own opacity, somehow either sabotaged the monarchy or was a threat to national security. Somehow the royalist court believes that the the royalist propaganda state is so fragile that 30,214 “hits” at a web board can shake it to its tender core or even bring it down.

As is usual in such cases, the court dismissed all evidence that might have assisted Khatha. He is now seeking to appeal and has applied for bail.

This is yet one more case that shows the political nature of lese majeste charges. This one also demonstrates the presumed weakness of the monarchy such that it is unable to withstand even a rumor. The improbability of this is Thailand is awash with rumors about the monarchy. Of course, a rumor about a constitutional monarchy should never be considered a matter of “national security.”

Update 1: The Bangkok Post removed the original and more detailed story on this conviction. The revised story is here.

Update 2: At Prachatai, more details of the verdict are provided, together with the news that Khatha has been granted bail for an appeal. The details are significant so we cut-and-paste most of the story here:

According to the court verdict, the defendant’s first comment posted on 22 April 2009 led the general public to understand that HM the King favoured the yellow shirts and Princess Sirindhorn also did the same, and the other post on 14 October 2010, which concerned rumours about the King’s health, led the general public to understand that HM was seriously ill.  The comments were false, damaging national security and causing panic among the public, the court said.

During the trial, Aree Jiworarak, an official from the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology, testified that the defendant used an alias ‘wet dream’ on the webboard, and had an e-mail account stamp816@hotmail.com.  The official checked this e-mail with banks and found that the defendant had used it to open bank accounts.  The National Intelligence Agency acquired his IP address through its investigation, and Aree did a recheck by sending an e-mail to this e-mail account and acquired the same IP address when the defendant clicked on a link in the e-mail.  After checking with CS Loxinfo, an internet service provider, Aree found that the IP address belonged to a company which the defendant worked for.

According to an IT expert who testified as a prosecution witness, the hard disk which the defendant used with his computer at work was found to have the word www.sameskybooks.org over 29,000 times and the user name ‘wet dream’ over 240 times.

Pol Lt Col Phiraphat Siriworachaikun testified that the defendant was informed of the charges and his rights during the arrest in the presence of several reporters, and the defendant confessed that he had used the e-mail account to register at the webboard and used the alias.

As several documents seized from the boot of the defendant’s car had content similar to what had been posted on the webboard, the court was convinced that the defendant held the same view and posted accordingly.

In response to the first post about HM the King favouring the yellow shirts, the court argued that it was not true, as ‘HM the King and all members of the royal family love the people equally and are above political conflict.  HM the King and Princess Sirindhorn are politically neutral.  The posting of such a comment will result in ever more serious political conflicts, likely to affect state security and public peace.’

As for the post about rumours about the King’s health, the court said that HM the King was the centre of the spirit of people of all groups, as evident in the recent 5 December event when a lot of people came out to wish HM well, so it could not be denied that public panic would not happen [as a result of the comment].

It is remarkable how the courts simply co-opt royalist propaganda and make a “legal” case of it.





Lese majeste updates

1 12 2012

Prachatai has published some useful updates on a series of lese majeste cases. PPT will summarize here and will 112.jpgupdate our specific pages on each case as well:

  1. In its first story, Prachatai refers to the truly bizarre case of two of the Royal Health Rumor 4. Back in October 2009 there were rumors that the king was seriously ill or had died. This caused a huge sell-off on the stock exchange, and the ridiculous Abhisit Vejjajiva-led coalition government began a witch hunt for those responsible for the rumors. Many observers considered the whole case so silly that it had been quietly brushed under the carpet. Not so. The Criminal Court is said to be “likely to deliver its ruling by the end of this year on a case” involving Katha Pajajiriyapong, then an employee in the trading a securities trading firm KT Zmico Securities (the firm sacked him). Katha is said to have posted comments on Same Sky or Fah Diew Kan web board. Apparently there is another charge against him from April 2009. He is charged under the 2007 Computer-Related Crimes Act. He has been on bail since his arrest in 1 November 2009. He is expected to get a verdict on 19 December 2012.
  2. Also one of the Royal Health Rumor 4, Thiranan Vipuchanun, a former director of a finance and securities trading firm, is “accused of posting on the Prachatai webboard her translation of a Bloomberg news article which reported the slump of the Thai stock market on 14 Aug 2009 due to the widespread rumours about the King’s health. Her case is now pending a decision by the prosecution.”
  3. Somyos Prueksakasemsuk is also scheduled to re-appear in court on 19 December 2012, and it seems that he may get a verdict then, having been held in prison since 30 April 2011 on lese majeste charges.
  4. Akechai Hongkangwarn who was arrested on 11 March 2011 and charged under Article 112 – lese majeste – for being in possession of illegal VCDs of an Australian television documentary that presented an accurate picture of the state of the Thai monarchy and 10 Wikileaks documents. He is expected to appear in court on 22 February 2013.
  5. One of the Bangkok 19 who were accused by the Army and its boss General Prayuth Chan-ocha, Yoswaris Chuklom or Jeng Dokchik, “a comedian turned red-shirt activist and politician, will appear in court for witness hearings on 11-12 Dec [2012]. He is being prosecuted for alleged lèse majesté comments in his public speech during a red-shirt rally at Phan Fa on 29 March 2010.”
  6. In the first week of November 2010, Sqn Ldr Chanin Khlaikhlung became the first casualty of then Defense Minister Prawit Wongsuwan’s warning that the military needed to weed out anti-monarchists in its ranks. This was also a part of the Abhisit regime’s royalist witch hunt. He will likely appear in a military court (closed to the public) in February 2013, facing lese majeste and computer crimes charges related to 24 comments on his Facebook page.
  7. Finally, Prachatai mentions a case PPT has not previously heard of when it lists Aswin (family name withheld) as likely to appear in Chiang Mai Court in February 2013 “to face accusations by an acquaintance of making lèse majesté remarks.”
  8. In its second story, Prachatai mentions another case previously unknown to PPT. The case goes back to the days of high alert on lese majeste by the royalist regime under Abhisit and refers to an unnamed Malay Muslim man whose case is outlined at the iLaw database. The Pattani resident is accused of “hanging banners with the picture of HM the Queen on a pedestrian bridge in the town” also allegedly “containing messages about violent incidents in the south and other parts of Thailand, together with a picture of HM the Queen, on 12 Aug 2009, the Queen’s birthday…”. It seems that this may be another case pursued by the military who are also accused of beating and torturing the man to get a confession on a crime he was not even aware of (standard military practice). He has been on bail. It seems this case has been kept secret.
  9. A third story refers to well-known Thammasat historian Somsak Jeamteerasakul who is said to be “pessimistic” and “both surprised and appalled by the decision of police to forward his lese majeste police complaint case to the Office of the Attorney General (OAG).” He is due to appear before the prosecutor sometime this month.

The last story also refers to there being “currently at least seven people detained under the law with hundreds more in the process of possibly being charged or having received police complaints made against them.” PPT knows of eight currently detained, although we assume there are more we don’t know about. We are not aware that there are “hundreds more in the process of possibly being charged or having received police complaints made against them.” That said, there are two cases above we had never heard of before, suggesting that the case load and backlog that is inestimable. The opacity associated with this most political of charges lends itself to both under-reporting and exaggeration.

In late 2010, based on data related to charges laid, prosecuted and known conviction rates, we had guesstimated that there may have been some 350 jailed following lese majeste convictions or related computer crimes charges. We have no idea how many accusations there are or how many cases are winding there way through the system. In any serious judicial system, this law would be declared unconstitutional and scrapped. Until that happens, Thailand can never be a truly democratic country.