Further updated: Rich peoples’ “justice”

4 09 2012

PPT has to mention briefly the New York Times report on the hit-and-run case involving the Red Bull heir Vorayuth Yoovidhya, the late Chaleo Yoovidhya’s grandson. He is alleged to have driven a Ferrari over a policeman and his motorcycle, driven on, dragging the policeman and leaving him dead, before charging home.

Of course, Vorayuth is from a fabulously wealthy family and has a story of the death being the victim’s fault.

Initially, the local police “attempted to cover up the heir’s involvement by arresting a bogus suspect…”. That was re-thought when the media lit up, and Vorayuth now “faces charges of causing death by reckless driving but was released on 500,000 baht ($15,900) bail.”

Of course, this is just another case of rich people’s “justice.” Just a few days ago, the teenager daughter of a general and with a privileged name (Devahastin Na Ayudhya) and powerful relatives who, as an unlicensed driver, had driven her car into a minivan, killing nine people in 2010, got a suspended sentence. Yep, responsible for the deaths of nine citizens and got no jail time. The rich kid has never apologized but faces huge compensation claims, which her family will now proceed to “negotiate” down.

Wouldn’t lese majeste victims, not accused of killing anyone, just love to have bail. Any bail. Few of them ever get off or have a suspended sentence (Chiranuch Premchaiporn being an exception). These rich kids who kill people get leniency, support and cover-ups while those who dare to speak of the monarchy tend to get locked up for years.

Double standards abound in a Thailand where the rich can get away with murder.

Updates: We changed the reference to daughter of a general as we have been unable to re-confirm this. And, for those interested in comparisons, a red shirt leader, Jeng Dokchik, has had his request for a renewal of bail rejected. His crime is to have been politically charged as a “terrorist” and then is said to have said nasty things about untouchable judges. It seems it is less a crime to actually kill people while driving, if you are a son or daughter of the elite.

With 5 updates: The trinity that may not be criticized

22 08 2012

With Army boss General Prayuth Chan-ocha making it known that he is not just suing Robert Amsterdam, but threatening the same for anyone or any group that brings the Army into disrepute, there are now three “institutions” that are trying to claim they are above and beyond criticism.

While we are tempted to joke about Prayuth having to sue himself, what he is doing is trying to put his “institution” in the same company as the judiciary and the monarchy. Of course, the monarchy is “protected” by lese majeste and computer crimes laws, and the judiciary by contempt laws that are draconian, the military has usually been protected by fear.

As attitudes have changed in recent years, fear has been shown to be less of a deterrent to those who are critical of the military. Hence, Prayuth is seeking legal remedies. However, for all three “institutions,” the political world has changed, while they have become increasingly conservative. We’d expect that their repressive efforts are likely to  fail, at least in the mediumand long terms.

And we felt readers might like to view the speech that caused Prayuth to go after Amsterdam and his translator.

Update 1: New Mandala has a video interview with Amsterdam.

Update 2: Siam Voices has a wonderful post detailing Prayuth’s amazing, bizarre and angry dealings with the media in recent weeks, including video.

Update 3: The Toronto Star has an article on Amsterdam’s troubles with Prayuth. Amsterdam is reported as saying that “the growing frequency with which defamation law is being used as a tool to silence opposition is a ‘very worrying trend overall’.” He is further cited:

Amsterdam, who was in the Southeast Asian country during the deadly crackdown that left more than 90 dead, said the complaint isn’t about his speech.

“It’s because our complaint to the ICC is being taken more seriously than the general wants to admit. He is bent on a campaign of denial. He had denied there were snipers. He has denied the United States trained snipers.”

He added later: “In Thailand, the army attacks the civilians every 10 or 15 years; there’s some form of massacre. The Thai army has been involved in the overthrow of 12 governments since 1932 . . . The Thai army has never been held accountable and we’re trying to hold them accountable for the first time in Thai history.”

A defamation complaint, Amsterdam said, means that the next time the lawyer enters Thailand he may be subject to arrest.

“Part of this is to deter me from coming back to Thailand,” he said.

Update 4: Readers will recall that, as part of the Constitutional Court’s efforts to stifle criticism of its politicized decision-making, it enlisted the Criminal Court in an effort to revoke the bail of 24 red shirts (earlier reports said 80!) and have them locked up. Interestingly, the Criminal Court has now delivered a verdict for 17 of these people, with the result being that one, Jeng Dokchik, has been sent back to jail. Notably, on Jatuporn Promphan, the court decided that he used “harsh and impolite words in his speech, but what he said did not insult or threaten Constitution Court judges.” In fact, these judges deserve harsh words and criticism for their (arguably) illegal political interventions and failure to understand even their own military-supplied constitution. We see no reason why these political judges shouldn’t be criticized. Having said that, PPT has a feeling that this verdict is a political compromise. Sending one red shirt back to jail sends a message demanding less criticism of the Constitutional Court, but we have little doubt that the judges at that court would have preferred to have even more red shirts locked up for daring to criticize the corrupt court.

Update 5: The Bangkok Post reports that the Criminal Court ruled that Jeng’s “action as well as his voice, facial expressions and gestures proved that he intended to incite hatred against the court.” The justices seem to be protecting the delicate lads at the Constitutional Court from loud voices, grimaces and nasty gestures…. At the same time, reinforcing the threat to red shirt leaders, while stating that none of the others did anything wrong, the court “has prohibited them travelling abroad or from going up on stage to speak in a way that incites unrest or violates the law.”

Constitutional court and silencing dissent

29 07 2012

At our About Us page , PPT has long stated that we are:

dedicated to those who are held in Thailand’s prisons, charged with political crimes. It also seeks to raise the cases of those who are accused of political crimes. Our focus is the contemporary period where political cases revolve around the use of Thailand’s lese majeste law and, increasingly, the Computer Crimes Act.

We are now considering if we need to add contempt of court to that list. At The Nation it is reported that:

The Constitution Court has lodged another complaint against red-shirt leaders and Pheu Thai MPs for contempt of court and threatening the court judges, a source said yesterday.

Among those named in the complaint are Yoswarit Chooklom (aka Jeng Dokjik) and MPs Kokaew Pikultong and Prasit Chaisisa, said the source, who asked not to be named.

In essence, not only is the corrupt and politicized Constitutional Court accruing powers to itself that it doesn’t have – see our posts on the recent nonsense royal plot case – but is now attempting to make it a crime to speak against anything the court does or against any judge or judgement. This means the Constitutional Court is in the business of making protesters political prisoners.

This is confirmed by the secretary-general of the Constitution Court office, Chavana Traimas, who:

ordered officers on Friday to file complaints against people who insulted the judges, including those who burnt mock coffins of judges in front of the court…. The acts were aimed at insulting the court and intimidating the judges, the source said, adding that the penalties would be harsher than for simple acts of defamation against “ordinary” people…. Each of the court judges can also lodge separate complaints against the accused, along with the Constitution Court office’s complaint….

This action by the Constitutional Court is a clear threat to those who disagree with its politicized and corrupt decision-making. If it succeeds in establishing yet another dubious precedent, the court will be placing itself in a position analogous with the monarchy and its protection by Article 112. Supporters of the court, such as ultra-royalists, will be able to urge complaints against opponents for their statements about the court.


Jailed red shirt leaders refused bail

4 01 2011

MCOT News reports that the “Criminal Court on Tuesday dismissed bail requests for seven key Red Shirt leaders and allies who have been detained for more than six months on terrorism-related charges…”.

Acting chairperson of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) Thida Tawornsate Tojirakarn and UDD lawyers appeared at the court to submit bail documents for the seven detainees: Natthawut Saikua, Weng Tojirakan, Korkaew Pikulthong, Kwanchai Praiphana, Yoswaris Chuklom aka Jeng Dokchik, Nisit Sinthuprai and Wiputhalaeng Pattanaphumthai.

It is reported that Thida “had prepared Bt3 million (US$100,000) bail bond for each detainee, altogether Bt21 million…”. The case made was that “as the state of emergency was lifted in Bangkok and two adjacent provinces, while the national reconciliation process is underway, the bail granting for the seven Red Shirts will provide an opportunity for all parties to enter the reconciliation process. The seven detainees also pledged in their documents that they would neither obstruct the national reconciliation process nor threaten national security and would not attempt to escape once they were released.”

Apparently the documents included “recommendation papers on the temporary release of the detained leaders from the independent Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Thailand and the Justice Ministry’s Rights and Liberties Protection Department.”

The court dismissed the requests, “saying there were no grounds to overturn the previous decision of the Appeals Court which refused to grant bail for fear of their possible flight due to the severe charges which carry a heavy penalty.”It is added that: “Most Red Shirt leaders, charged with terrorism, were denied bail as the court expressed concern regarding their possible flight. Only former UDD chair Veera Musikapong was released on Bt6 million bail with condition that he was barred from joining any political gatherings, being interviewed and travelling outside Bangkok.”

An appeal is expected.