Masters of repression III

18 07 2021

A couple of days ago, Thai PBS reported on the ongoing efforts to suppress anti-monarchism and political opposition. It reported that public prosecutors “have decided to indict 14 core members of the anti-establishment Ratsadon group, in connection with the mass protest at the Democracy Monument in Bangkok in July last year.” It seems to us that “decided” is the wrong word here, for this is a concerted lawfare campaign to silence critics.

The list of the 14 is:

Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak, Panupong Jadnok, alias Mike Rayong, Anon Nampa, Juthathip Sirikan, Tattep Ruangprapaikitseree, Nattawut Somboonsap, Korakot Saengyenphan, Suwanna Tarnlek, Thanayut Na Ayutthaya, Baramee Chairat, Tossaporn Sinsomboon, Dechathorn Bamrungmuang, Tanee Sasom and Panumas Singprom….

This group is targeted with charges of sedition (Article 116) and Article 215 of the Criminal Code as well as breaching the Emergency Decree “for their leading role in the mass protest, organized under the ‘Free Youth’ umbrella.” Article 215 states:

Whenever ten persons upwards being assembled together do or threaten to do an act of violence, or do any thing to cause a breach of the peace, every such person shall be punished with imprisonment not exceeding six months or fined not exceeding one thousand Baht, or both.

Noraseth Nanongtoom, a lawyer of Thai Lawyers for Human Rights, provided “35,000 baht in cash for each of them, to be used as bail surety. There are also five Move Forward party MPs and lecturers at Thammasat University who are willing to lend their status to bail them…”. There were 11 who attended, and as we understand it, all were bailed.

Several of the activists face scores of legal cases. The regime’s aim is to tie them and their supporters up in a myriad of legal proceedings while making their freedom conditional on the actions of royalist courts.





Updated: 5 activists acknowledge 112 charges

1 12 2020

Thai PBS reports that Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak, Panupong “Mike” Jadnok, Panusaya “Rung” Sithijirawattanakul and Arnon Nampa “reported to Chanasongkhram police station in Bangkok today (Monday), to acknowledge lèse majesté charges related to protests at Sanam Luang on September 19th and 20th.”

The four remained defiant. Arnon stated “they are not worried about the charges and are ready to defend themselves in court.” He added that the “protests will continue and will be escalated next year, as he advised the police to prepare more cargo containers to set up road blocks.”

Rung “insisted that the protesters merely want to reform the [m]onarchy, not to overthrow …[it].”

Clipped from Khaosod

According to Khaosod, Mike stated: “The monarchy should be eligible for scrutiny and criticism…”. Penguin stated that such “backward” charges “will only encourage more people to support the movement, which seeks to limit the monarchy’s influence in politics and abolish laws that censor discussions about …[it].” He added: “People will feel there is no justice in our country…”.

That report also has Patiwat Saraiyaem reporting to the police on the same charge, so our headline is for five. Reports of other activists facing charges are contradictory and there may be between 14 and 20 facing 112 charges.

Thai PBS adds that “Parit will face lèse majesté charges in connection with the protest on November 14th at Kok Wua intersection, in Bangkok, and protests in the northeastern provinces of Roi-et and Ubon Ratchathani.”

All were released without having to post bail.

Update: Prachatai confirms that five protesters heard lese majeste charges. It states that “Patsaravalee Tanakitvibulpon, Jutathip Sirikhan and Tattep  Ruangprapaikitseree, leading protest figures, received summonses from Bangpho Police Station for ‘defaming, insulting or expressing malice to the monarch’. They have to report to hear the charge on 7 December.” The report lists 12 persons who have been or are likely to be summoned to hear 112 charges, but we believe this list is incomplete.

 





SUT’s Jutatip arrested

1 09 2020

The arrests of students campaigning against the regime continue.

Earlier today, Student Union of Thailand president Jutatip Sirikhan was stopped by plainclothes officers as she rode in a taxi and arrested while on the way to university. She is the 14th of 15 activists scheduled for arrest.

Clipped from Prachatai

She had been expecting arrest and livestreamed the arrest and as she was taken away.

Jutatip was taken to the Samranrat Police Station, charged with various offenses, then to the Bangkok Criminal Court, where she was granted bail in the evening.

Jutatip appeared before the press on her release, stating: “I am a student and I have been harassed by the police for months, for years…. They threatened my home, they threatened my family…”. She added that she believed the police followed  her using her phone signal.

She then “covered herself in white paint in a symbolic act of protest…” and “thanked the lecturer who came to make bail for her and the people who came to support her, and helped the crowd clean the paint off the sidewalk in front of the footpath in front of the Court.” She declared: “We won’t stop fighting until we win in everything, including monarchy reform and a new constitution…”.

Jutatip is the 14th activist to be arrested for participating in the 18 July mass protest. 15 other participants at the protest have also received a summons and reported to Samranrat Police Station to hear the charges against them on 28 August. Jutatip was charged with sedition and violation of the Emergency Decree and the Communicable Diseases Act, among other charges.