Army vs. red shirts

28 05 2016

Prachatai reports on two related cases in the Provincial Court of Udon Thani.

On Wednesday, the court issued an arrest warrant for Kwanchai Sarakham, a red shirt leader, who did not appear to hear a court decision in a case that goes back to 2008 where “Kwanchai and other red shirts were indicted for assaulting members of the pro-establishment yellow-shirts and attempting to demolish their stage in Udon Thani…”.

There’s a series of stories here on the events. Note that the claims of one death were later withdrawn (“PAD gives petition to UN rights agency,” Bangkok Post, 29 July 2008). PAD had been invading red shirt sites at various northeastern provincial capitals prior to this clash.

Meanwhile, the same court “dismissed charges against five soldiers and a member of the Territorial Defence Volunteer Corps (TDVC) accused of shooting of a local redshirt leader [Kwanchai]…. The six were indicted for allegedly shooting Kwanchai in front of his house in Udon Thani on 22 January 2014. He was severely injured from the shooting, but survived.”

Kwanchai was shot soon after warning the army that he would mobilize red shirts against a coup.

No proof the court said. Of course not, no evidence against the military can be countenanced when the military junta is in place and when the potential assassins worked in the military’s interests.





Jatuporn needs protection from royalist judiciary’s threats

26 06 2012

The Office of the Constitution Court had said it was to hold a press conference yesterday to “explain” why it had petitioned the Criminal Court seeking revocation of red-shirt leader Jatuporn Promphan’s bail on “terrorism” charges laid by the Abhisit Vejjajiva regime.

The royalist judiciary threaten Jatuporn with more jail time

At The Nation it is reported that the Office of the Constitution Court cancelled the press conference “to avoid provoking further red-shirt action.” The court official also reportedly felt that the Criminal Court was already on the job, so there was no need for any “explanation.” Or, in their terms, the “Constitution Court had decided to refrain from acting in a way that could be viewed as attempting to interfere with the Criminal Court’s authority.”

We wonder if reporters burst into laughter on this statement. They should have. The Constitutional Court is frightened too:

The spokesman said yesterday that a request for police protection had been made by the court for Jatuporn’s planned visit today to seek the court’s explanation. “We are concerned he may bring his [red-shirt] supporters,” the spokesman said. He added, however, that the judges were not worried.

Jatuporn denies any threat.

In fact, it is Jatuporn who is threatened by a nakedly biased judiciary. He has been repeatedly investigated and charged under the Abhisit Vejjajiva regime, and the kangaroo courts have repeatedly done the royalist’s bidding.

The accusation that Jatuporn was a “terrorist” was made formal on 11 August 2010 when, with 25 suspects including Thaksin Shinawatra, Arisman Pongruengrong, Karun Hosakul, Veera Musigapong, Weng Tojirakan, Natthawut Saikua, Kwanchai Sarakham, Phayab Pankate, and Nisit Sinthuprai, Jatuporn was named in a case brought to court by the public prosecutor. All who were located were jailed, although Jatuporn and Nisit were kept in jail longer than the others as “special punishment”, and only bailed following the July 2011 election.

Jatuporn has been accused by Army chief Prayuth Chan-Ocha of lese majeste. He laid a complaint of lese majeste with the police following speeches by Jatuporn on 10 April 2011. On 18 April 2011, along with 18 other red shirt leaders were summoned by the political police at the Department of Special Investigation to acknowledge charges of lese majeste.

In mid-May that the Constitutional Court came up with a bizarre ruling to have Jatuporn stripped of his status as a party list MP.

The Constitutional Court now wants to have Jatuporn locked up in a stinking jail again.

Not only is the continuing pattern of the court’s bias readily seen, but Jatuporn is really the one being threatened! He needs to be protected from this biased royalist judiciary!





A DSI accounting

18 07 2011

Prachatai has an important post, reproduced in full below, on the Department of Special Investigation’s political cases under investigation and completed:

The Department of Special Investigation has been investigating 258 cases involving protest rallies of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship and 29 cases of offences against the monarchy.

The 258 cases include 147 cases of terrorism and sabotage, 22 cases of threats made against the government, 69 cases of attacks against the public and authorities, and 20 cases of abuse of state weaponry.

One terrorist case, for example, involves 25 suspects including Thaksin Shinawatra, Arisman Pongruengrong, Karun Hosakul, Jatuporn Phrompan, Veera Musigapong, Weng Tojirakan, Natthawut Saikua, Kwanchai Sarakham, Phayab Pankate, and Nisit Sinthuprai. All except the first two have been arrested or have turned themselves in. The case was brought to court by the public prosecutor on 11 August 2010. The case against Maj Gen Khattiya Swasdiphol has been dismissed as he died.

Another terrorist case involves 8 suspects who have been arrested or have turned themselves in and 5 more who are still at large. The court has merged this with the previous case at the request of the public prosecutor.

Among these 258 cases, suspects have been arrested in 58 cases, are still at large in 21 cases, and are unknown in 179 cases. So far the DSI has completed investigations into 91 cases.

Among 62 cases of arson — 49 in Bangkok and 13 in other provinces — the DSI has arrested suspects and completed investigations in 14 cases, all of which have been brought to court by the public prosecutor.

64 cases of terrorism/sabotage — 53 in Bangkok and 11 in other provinces — involve 642 suspects; 274 have been arrested, 366 are still at large and two have died including Gen Khattiya and Samai Wongsuwan, who was killed in a bomb explosion in an apartment in Bang Bua Thong, Nontaburi in October 2010. Among those still at large, 74 have been identified while 292 are sought based on photographs.

In its investigation into 89 deaths, the DSI has concluded that 13 were caused by the authorities who claimed to be acting in the line of duty, 12 by the UDD and 64 unknown.

The 29 cases of offences against the monarchy include, for example, a case in which the Centre for the Resolution of the Emergency Situation lodged a complaint against Thaksin and 39 others for disseminating materials offensive to the monarchy either directly to the public or through the internet between 19 September 2006 and 3 May 2010 within and outside Thailand.

In this case, the DSI is now investigating the connections among individuals and groups of individuals based on evidence acquired through investigation process.

The DSI has been seeking international cooperation under the International Cooperation in Criminal Cases Act on cases involving Giles Ungphakorn for his article posted on the internet on 29 October 2009, Jakrapob Penkair for his public speech made in the US on 10 November 2007, and Thaksin Shinawatra for his statement in English distributed to international press (no specific date reported).

The department has contacted the AFP news agency for information and interrogation in the latter case.

Thaksin also faces another case involving his video-link address to a red-shirt rally at a Chiang Mai sports stadium on 22 March 2009.

Kokaew Pikulthong, a UDD leader, is involved in a case for his speech at the same event.

Surachai Danwatthananusorn, or Sae Dan, who has been arrested and detained without bail since 22 Feb this year for lèse majesté for a public speech during a red-shirt activity on 18 Dec 2010, faces another two cases involving speeches at Doi Saked, Chiang Mai, on 11 September 2010 and in Udon Thani on 29 October 2010.

Veera Musigapong’s case involves his speech at a UDD rally in Sanam Luang on 6 May 2008.

Jatuporn Phrompan, now on remand on terrorist charges, also faces another case for his remarks during a UDD rally at the Democracy Monument on 10 April this year.





Bangkok 18 becomes Bangkok 19

23 05 2011

Apologies for again being slow with this post. PPT is continuing to experience difficulties in keeping up with the volume of material on lese majeste.

The Bangkok Post reported on 21 May that the political police at the Department of Special Investigation “will summon 19 red shirt leaders to hear lese majeste charges related to remarks made during a rally early last month.”

PPT earlier posted on this and added a Bangkok 18 post to our page of pending cases. We’ll need to change that to the Bangkok 19 as DSI chief Tharit Pengdit added Payap Panket to the list of those to be charged.

The other 18 are: Weng Tojirakarn, Nattawut Saikua, Korkaew Pikulthong, Thida Tawornsate Tojirakarn, Karun Hosakul, Yoswaris Chuklom, Wiputhalaeng Pattanaphumthai, Veera Musigapong, Chinawat Haboonpat, Wichian Kaokham, Suporn Atthawong, Kwanchai Sarakham (Praiphana), Nisit Sinthuprai, Prasit Chaisisa, Worawut Wichaidit, Laddawan Wongsriwong, Jatuporn Promphan and Somchai Paiboon.

Tharit said a “summons will be issued on Monday [23 May] and sent to the red shirt suspects by mail. They will have 10 days to prepare prior to appearing before authorities on June 2.”

While he can’t complete investigations into the deaths and injuries of April and May 2010, the puppet-like Tharit can get lese majeste cases sown up in a jiffy (as long as they are against the regime’s opponents).

DSI plans to “take the suspects to the Criminal Court to request their detention. The DSI will also go to Bangkok Remand Prison to file charges against red shirt leaders Jatuporn Prompan and Nisit Sinthuprai, who are detained there.”

Tharit also revealed that the DSI is taking over yet another lese majeste case that “involves six community radio stations which allegedly broadcast Mr Jatuporn’s April 10 remarks which were deemed offensive to the monarchy.”

Just because there is a bit of reformist lese majeste static about doesn’t mean that the political police aren’t on the job. Thailand remains a dangerous place for opposition activists. The royalists are keen to crush them.





Updated: Wichian Kaokham responds on lese majeste

18 04 2011

The Isaan Record has an interview with Wichian Kaokham, one of the red shirts accused of lese majeste in the latest, Army-driven, set of cases that use lese majeste as a political weapon against the opposition.

The report explains that the term that appears to have been used against Wichian, a Pueau Thai Party member of parliament, in the recent lese majeste case was first used in parliament last month. The phrase he used was: “Why the hell are you shouting for your father?” [โห่หาพ่อมึงเหรอ]. He used this when Democrat Party members were heckling him. The Isaan Record says this term “amounts to a commonplace, moderately offensive ‘Shut up’.”

Apparently, the term caught the imagination of many red shirts and they chanted it back to him when he was on stage at the red shirt rally on 10 April. The Isaan Record says: “Two days later, on April 12, Army Chief Prayuth Chan-ocha charged Mr. Wichian with lèse-majesté.”

Wichian claims to be unconcerned by the lese majeste charge: “I didn’t say anything against the royal family. What I said is the phrase from [the debate]…. I just repeated it without any innuendo.” He says the innuendo comes from his political enemies, adding: “I’ve been charged because members of the military along with [Privy Council President] Prem want to destroy me and Pheu Thai. They want the Democrat … [Party] to win the election.”

Royalist's scattered marbles

That seems a pretty reasonable summary of events of the past two weeks.

Update: The Nation lists the 18 red shirts being investigated for lese majeste and sedition. PPT thinks the royalist elite has lost its marbles. The 18 are: Weng Tojirakarn, Nattawut Saikua, Korkaew Pikulthong, Thida Tawornsate Tojirakarn, Karun Hosakul, Yoswaris Chuklom, Wiputhalaeng Pattanaphumthai, Veera Musigapong, Chinawat Haboonpat, Wichian Khaokham, Suporn Atthawong, Kwanchai Sarakham (Praiphana), Nisit Sinthuprai, Prasit Chaisisa, Worawut Wichaidit, Laddawan Wongsriwong, Jatuporn Promphan and Somchai Paiboon.

Incredibly, many of these red shirts now look like facing charges of terrorism, lese majeste and sedition.





Updated: Government to arrest red shirt leaders, closes People TV again

9 04 2010

Police claim that they “are poised to arrest, whenever they can, 24 United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship figures wanted under arrest warrants…”. PPT would assume, given the events over People TV, that any arrests would be met with red shirt anger and responses.

The report states that the “Criminal Court has approved arrest warrants for two groups of UDD leaders. The first group of seven are wanted for breaking into the parliament compound on Sunday. The second group of 17 are wanted for leading the red-shirts to block the Ratchaprasong intersection in violation of the emergency decree.” Those named in the new warrants are Weng Tojirakan, Darunee Kritboonyalai, Jaran Dithapichai, Natthawut Saikua, Nisit Sinthuprai, Veera Musigapong, Korkaew Pikulthong, Kwanchai Sarakham, Chinawat Haboonpat, Wiputhalaeng Pattanaphumthai, Adisorn Piengket, Worapol Prommikbut, Waipot Arpornrat, Samroeng Prachamrua, Visa Khanthap, Paijit Aksornnarong, and Khattiya Sawasdipol (Seh Daeng).

The police “had closed in on the 24 and would arrest them whenever they could. After they were arrested, they would be detained at six locations to prevent them from further illegal activities.” The emergency decree means they can be held for 30 days.

The police have also warned “motorcycle taxi and cab drivers had been warned against joining the UDD rally, under threat of legal action under the emergency law.”

Abhisit Vejjajiva’s acting police chief Police General Pratheep Tanprasert told a meeting of police commanders “to arrest the 24 UDD leaders as soon as possible.”

Meanwhile, the Bangkok Post reports that the army has “reoccupied the Thaicom station at Phatum Thani province’s Lat Lum Kaeo district and have managed to black out the red shirts’ People’s Channel TV broadcast again on Friday night.”  Acting government spokesman Panitan Wattanayagorn said that “the government has again blocked signal of PTV, and vowed that authorities would not let the red-shirts … break into the station’s compound one more time.”

With the police threatening to arrest red shirt leaders and the government taking down People TV again, conflict seems assured.

Update: Not really for this post alone, but on the red protests generally, New Mandala has pointed PPT to this important set of photos at the Boston Globe website. PPT didn’t understand why Abhisit had earlier stated that soldiers should not feel “discouraged.” See the last few photos for an explanation.