Targeting Penguin

15 05 2021

Readers will probably have noticed that the recently bailed Penguin is in the sights of Palang Pracharath Party member Sonthiya Sawasdee.

On Friday, the execrable Sonthiya “asked the Criminal Court to review its decision to free Parit … Chiwarak on bail after the protest leader was accused of violating his bail conditions in a social media post.”

Sonthiya petitioned “Sitthichote Intharawiset, the Criminal Court chief justice, asking the judge to look into the post and decide on the matter.”

It seems this is the brave and challenging post, translated by Thisrupt:

Penguin

Clipped from Prachatai

The 93-day imprisonment and 57-day hunger strike to protest against injustice are now over. Yesterday, the court returned my and Ammy’s right to receive bail, even if there are some bail conditions. It’s self-evident these conditions are meant to obstruct the struggle for democracy. I believe the court is political, and the court must examine whether it stands for justice. In any case, there is now a legal precedent on the right to bail in Article 112 cases. In the past, bail was never granted. Also, I believe this barbaric law should be abolished soon.

I have no issues with the bail conditions because I don’t see how I commit royal defamation. I don’t think there’s defamation when the people speak the truth, whether it’s the demand to abolish Article 112, the request to return royal assets (such as SCB shares), or the call to cancel personal royal armed forces. I don’t see how these things defame the royal institution. If the call for the king to be under the constitution is defamation, then the question becomes: is Thailand a democracy with the king as the head of state or an absolute monarchy?

As such, for me, the struggle for monarchy reform continues.

Regarding the condition barring me from participating in protests that lead to social chaos, I insist I have always upheld peaceful resistance throughout my struggle. Every protest I participated in or organized has been peaceful and without weapons. There have only been nonpeaceful actions by the authorities and government supporters as far as I can see. Therefore, this condition is not an obstacle in my struggle. I am ready to participate in every activity after the current COVID crisis (which occurred because of government incompetence) has passed.

The struggle for democracy continues with strength and conviction. Our struggle is built on the foundation of truth. There is no power greater than truth. Like the stars, truth never dies. No matter which corner of the sky, the stars shine bright, just as the truth. No matter the cage, the torture chamber, or the execution chamber, the truth remains powerful and eternal.

In the immediate step, we must help release others who speak the truth that remains unjustly imprisoned: Lawyer Anon, Brother Mike Rayong, Frank, Natchanon, and others. We who love democracy must continue our struggle to prove speaking the truth is not wrong; lies cannot forever hide the truth.

I am still who I am. I still have faith in the truth. No one can turn back the clock, and soon the wind of change will sweep us into the other side of the sky.

For now, I must rest my body and eat before I march again with my brothers and sisters. I am the same person. I fight for the same ideals. I am more resolute than ever before.

Death to feudalism. Long live the people.

Penguin Parit Chiwarak

12 May 2021 (1 day after freedom)





Updated: Don’t say his name 112

14 05 2021

With the regime telling Thais not to believe fake news while not telling them what the fake news is, millions have gone seeking the “fake” news. It turns out to be a rumor that the king is hospitalized. No one knows if he is, but it seems the regime, by not denying the rumor has confirmed it for many.

And, not saying his name has become the point of a new lese majeste complaint by the regime, lodged by slimy turncoat Seksakon “Rambo Isan” Atthawong, an assistant minister to the prime minister, who seems to have been given a new name. He used to be Suporn.

That slug was joined by Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha’s lawyer Apiwat Kanthong in lodging “another complaint with Nang Loeng police against a singer for criticising the government’s vaccine procurement plan, alleging he may have violated the lese majeste law and the Computer Crime Act.” The singer is Suthipong “Heart” Tadpitakkul. The earlier complaint was lodged with the Technology Crime Suppression Division. It seems that the complaint then also related to lese majeste.

Now Suthipong is accused “of having copied information on the government’s vaccine procurement plan from a Facebook user and posting it on his Facebook page.” It seems that Suthipong “made additions” to the post. He is accused of adding: “It is a vaccine of the boss” and “It is a Covid-19 vaccine monopoly.”

Lawyer Apiwat reckons “[a]nyone reading this would immediately know who he is talking about…”. It’s not Gen Prayuth. It seems it is he whose name may not be said.

Lawyer Apiwat reckons that “some people thought were intended to insult the high institution.” He means the king and/or monarchy.

He, and presumably his boss, want “the police to seek more evidence and more information to substantiate the accusation against Suthipong.”

Suthipong “dismissed the new complaint in a Facebook post.”

Clearly, not even mentioning the king’s name can lead to royalist complaints and police charges. How bizarre.

Update: Royal Central has now repeated the rumors of the king’s hospitalization. That more or less guarantees that the rumors will now spread internationally. We suspect the king needs to show himself or the Royal Household Bureau needs to issue a statement.





Updated: Failed, failures, and lies

14 05 2021

It is reported that yet another anti-government political prisoners has the virus. According to lawyer Noraset Nanongtoom, his client Panupong Jadnok has tested positive while in prison.

Panupong has been refused bail several times since being detained on 8 March 2021for lese majeste and other charges resulting from an anti-government/anti-monarchy rally on 19-20 September 2020.

And, he’s only one among thousands who are now infected in a hopelessly underfunded and overcrowded prison system.

After activist Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul was bailed and revealed she had contracted the virus in prison, Corrections Department director-general Aryut Sinthoppan was forced to finally confirm that there were 2,835 infections in two Bangkok prisons.

This is information that was apparently being kept secret! We say this because the department has previously declared it had “stringent health screening measures in prisons.” It said this when activist Chukiat Saengwong got the virus in detention.

At that time, Justice Minister Somsak Thepsutin said that “five field hospitals in the grounds of Klong Prem would have a total of 500 beds. They would treat new inmates who tested positive for Covid-19 on arrival at any of seven prisons.” He was fudging. Prisons already had virus infections, with one report of infections in a northern prison.

Now it turns out that “1,795 prisoners at Bangkok Remand Prison and 1,040 at the Central Women’s Correctional Institution to be infected with the coronavirus.” According to the Corrections Department, there were 3,238 prisoners at the Bangkok Remand Prison as of May 5 and 4,518 at the Central Women’s Correctional Institution. To save readers the math, that is over 24% at the former and over 23% at the latter.

Director-general Aryut has made the quite ludicrous statement that “he considered the number of infected inmates to be small when compared to the number of infections throughout the country.” He’s either mad or seeking to cover-up. Impunity should not be permitted in his case. He’s failed and should go.

Update: And, now, the lies.

Lie no. 1: “The Corrections Department admits that the Covid-19 outbreak in prisons is worrying, but insists it can bring the situation under control.” With a quarter of inmates infected, this seems like a lie to us, especially when a boss there states “the Medical Correctional Institution may not have enough medical personnel and equipment to deal with so many cases.”

Lie no. 2: Deputy director-general Weerakit Harnpariphan “denied a report that protest leader Panusaya ‘Rung’ Sithijirawattanakul, who was released recently, caught Covid-19 in prison. A test on April 23 confirmed she was free of the disease…”. She was released on 6 May. Another report states that from 23 April to 5 May, Rung was in “quarantine.” Weerakit adds that “Panusaya did not go outside the prison or engage in any activities before her release on May 6th.” In other words, she got it in prison.





Bloodied by 112

12 05 2021

The Nation reports that a student in Chiang Mai, one of those charged with lese majeste, “has cut the number 112 on his chest with a razor…”. The pictures below are from social media posts.

On Tuesday, Withaya Khlangnin and Yotsunthon Ruttapradid reported to the Bhubing Rajanives Police Station to hear the charges against them: lese majeste and desecrating the national flag.

More than 50 students went with them to provide support. “Before arriving at the police station, [Withaya] took off his T-shirt and used a razor to cut the number 112 on his chest.”

Supporters tried to block the police stopping him, viewing “his action as a personal right.”





Penguin and Ammy bailed

12 05 2021

Prachatai reports the good news that the Criminal Court approved bail requests for activist Parit Chiwarak – Penguin – and singer Chaiamorn Kaewwiboonpan – Ammy the Bottom Blues.

The court issued a press release stating that:

Penguin and Rung

Parit with Panusaya in an earlier photo. Clipped from The Nation

the pair were released on Tuesday on a security of 400,000 baht for Parit and 250,000 baht for Chaiamorn on condition that they report to the court as assigned, they do not commit, or attend any activity that may cause public disorder or damage the institution of the monarchy, and they do not travel abroad without the court’s permission.

According to the report:

Parit’s bail security covered in equal amounts 2 cases from his participation in the protests on 19 September 2020 and 14-15 November 2020. 200,000 baht of the security for Chaiamorn covered the 19 September protest and 50,000 baht covered the case of setting fire to the King’s portrait at Klong Prem Prison.

Bail was granted at 18.20, some three hours after the court finished its hearing of the applications for Chaiamorn and Parit. Such delays continue to suggest that the courts are taking orders from elsewhere.

Ammy

An earlier photo of Ammy

Parit has been in pre-trial detention “for 92 days before being released on bail at the tenth attempt.” He had been on a hunger strike for 57 days, protesting the refusal of bail.

Chaiamorn had been detained for 69 days and released on his eighth bail application.

Penguin was released from the prison hospital. Prior to that “police officers from Mueang Roi Et Police Station showed up to arrest him on another charge. The lawyers managed to secure 200,000-baht police bail.”

In addition to the charges on which he bailed, Parit faces at least another 20 more lese majeste charges.





Another bailed

11 05 2021

Political prisoner Phromsorn Weerathamjaree, known as Fah, has been released on bail from the Thanyaburi prison after 53 days in pre-trial detention and a hunger strike.

Detained on lese majeste and other charges,

According to the Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR), the Court of Appeal Region 1 allowed bail with security of 200,000 baht, with the condition that Phromsorn wears an Electronic Monitoring (EM) bracelet, does not tamper with evidence and does not commit similar offences to the one he is charged with.

He was bailed after four earlier requests had been rejected.

Phromsorn was bailed on 10 May.

The report states that Fah is “known as a talented public speaker and later joined Ratsadon Mutelu, a group of political activists that address structural problems via acts of sorcery.”

His 112 charge stemmed from a speech he made in front of Thanyaburi Provincial Court on 14 January 2021. 

The report states:

His case is a significant example of the bizarre judicial process facing pro-democracy protesters. He was suddenly taken to court for a temporary detention hearing after appearing at a police station on 17 March to hear the charges against him. This was 2 days after he was injured in a traffic incident.

Sasinan Thamnithinan, a TLHR lawyer who had accompanied Phromson to the police station, posted on Facebook an account of the sudden police move. The post explained that although Phromson had come to the station with his injuries to demonstrate that he had no intention to flee, the Deputy Superintendent suddenly decided, after the regular investigation stage, to take him to court before the court closed.

The police also sought to prevent the lawyer spending time consulting with her client, despite the turn of events, with the Station Superintendent allowing “them 2 minutes to consult in private.”

Phromsorn then staged a hunger strike to protest against his detention without bail.





Updated: Siraphop denied 112 bail

9 05 2021

Prachatai reports that Thai Lawyers for Human Rights tweeted that, on 6 May 2021, Srinakharinwirot University student activist Siraphop Phumphuengphut has been “denied bail and detained pending trial on a section 112 charge…”. He also faces a sedition charge. The court ruled that his case was serious, involving the monarchy and national security.

The public prosecutor filed cases against Siraphop and fellow activist Chukiat Saengwong or Justin. The latter is already held without bail and tested positive for COVID-19 several days ago.

Update: The Bangkok Post reports that bail was later granted to Siraphop. It states:

…Thai Lawyers for Human Rights said yesterday the Bangkok South Criminal Court has granted bail to Siripob Phumpuengput, co-leader of a student-led protest sub-group called Mor Sor Wor Khon Roon Plien.

Mr Siripob, who is another one facing indictment for lese majeste, was released on the condition he must not organise or join activities which tarnish the reputation of the monarchy and cannot leave the country.





Hunting political prisoners

7 05 2021

Rising disillusionment with the hopelessness of the mafia regime, its kowtowing to a nasty and erratic king, and the judiciary’s subservience to both regime and monarch saw the membership of a new Facebook group “Let’s Move Abroad” or “Migrate” explode. When we last looked it was approaching 900,000.

While no one expects 900,000 young Thais to pack their bags and head for more liberal environs, the regime correctly diagnosed another political challenge. And, as expected, its group idiocy kicked in.

Get outta here

Clipped from Juliology

The Digital Economy and Society (DES) Ministry announced that it “is closely monitoring a new Facebook group…”. All of the “Let’s Move Abroad” lot would rightly see this response as confirming that the current regime is hopeless.

While the Bangkok Post thinks the group “sprang up out of frustration over the government’s handling of the Covid-9 pandemic,” it is wrong. The group reflects a much, much broader disillusionment. As one academic put it:

There’s a huge disillusionment. It’s an economic, political and ideological response to what’s going on…. It’s a way of attacking the regime politically by suggesting that there are people who have lost faith.

This is confirmed by the political nature of the posting. And that is what has the DES flustered and fuming seems to be “political content and posts about highly sensitive issues which are alleged to be in violation of the lese majeste law have also been spotted.”

DES Minister Chaiwut Thanakhamanusorn said the ministry’s working panel “has been instructed to take legal action against any illegal content when necessary.”

The regime continues to hunt for those it can incarcerate as political prisoners. That’s enough to send people looking for something better.





Further updated: “Justice” kills

6 05 2021

There’s increasing concern about hunger strikers and political prisoners Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak and Panusaya “Rung” Sithijirawattanakul, including well-meaning calls from some for them to not die when seeking justice.

Sadly, it is becoming clear that the regime is callous and savage. More, we know that the king has a say in whether the lese majeste is used or not. We also know that he is savage in dealing with those he thinks have been disrespectful – look at how he has treated his various wives and Vajiralongkorn’s mad and furious tone in his official declarations when he sacks people.

It gets worse. It is now confirmed that another political prisoner, Arnon Nampa, has fallen ill with the Covid virus “and been moved for medical treatment” at the Medical Correctional Institution. The virus appears to be infecting many inmates and may be out of control.

Coronation 1

Arnon is the second political prisoner to have contracted the virus while incarcerated. The first was Chukiat “Justin” Saengwong.

All prisoners are now under threat, but that these political prisoners are at risk is yet another example of the politicization and monarchization of the (in)justice system. After all, the junta’s constitution states at Article 29:

A suspect or defendant in a criminal case shall be presumed innocent, and before the passing of a final judgment convicting a person of having committed an offence, such person shall not be treated as a convict.

In lese majeste cases, there is a presumption of guilt.

The question must be asked again and again: why is that these activists are not receiving justice? What is it or who is it preventing justice? WHo is it who doesn not care if they die? Who is it that relishes this savage and feudal treatment of young Thais?

No wonder hundreds of thousands of young Thais have joined a Facebook group that displays their dismay and that they have lost faith in many of the country’s institutions.

The military, the mafia regime, and the monarchy are destroying the country while they and their friends eat it.

Update1 : Some good news: “The Criminal Court has approved bail for the temporary release of Rassadon co-leader Panusaya ‘Rung’ Sithijirawattanakul on condition that she must not get involved in activities deemed to dishonour the monarchy.” Who knows what the latter condition means.In addition, “she must not join any activity that may cause unrest in the country, leave the country without permission and must report to the court as scheduled.”

The court appeared unable to make a decision without getting advice-cum-orders from on high: “After an inquiry into her bail request on Thursday morning, the court first scheduled handing down the decision at 3pm but later rescheduled it twice to 4pm and 5pm.” We take that delay as confirmation that the court gets it order from the regime and/or the palace.

Update 2: Despite the virus outbreak in prisons and at least two political prisoners already infected, Parit Chiwarak has been transferred “from Ramathibodi Hospital back to prison … after his health improved.” The danger to him is made clear by the courts themselves, which refuse to hear these defendants for fear of the virus. Parit’s court appearance, and that for Chaiamorn Kaewwiboonpan, have been postponed “because the two defendants will not complete their 14-day quarantine until tomorrow. Prison officials said both have to be screened again, to make sure they are clear of the virus, before they will be allowed to attend the hearing.” This amounts to protecting judges and other officials – which is reasonable – but keeping political prisoners in dangerous conditions.





Art vs. lese majeste

5 05 2021

Prachatai reports on yet more lese majeste cases.

It states that two Chiang Mai University students, Withaya Khlangnin and Yotsunthon Ruttapradid, “have received police summonses on charges under the lèse majesté law and the 1979 Flag Act for an art installation piece exhibited at an event in March 2021.”

Their case stems from a complaint made by serial complainer and attention-seeker Srisuwan Janya who claims to be Secretary-General of the Association for the Protection of the Constitution. We assume he protects the military junta’s constitution because he’s a fan.

He “filed a complaint against them for an art installation piece they exhibited during the 14 March 2021 protest at Chiang Mai University.” Srisuwan claims their art “violated the 1979 Flag Act and that messages written on the piece violate Section 112 of the Criminal Code…”.

Flag LM

Clipped from Prachatai

The art piece features a mannequin wrapped in plastic in the middle of two red and white strips. It was shown twice.

Prachatai cites iLaw:

the students received a phone call from the police informing them of the summons. They were told that the police have sent the summonses to their home addresses in Sukhothai and Narathiwat, and that they must report to the police on 3 May, or the police will consider issuing arrest warrants.

The police planned to take them to “Chiang Mai Provincial Court for a temporary detention request.”

AT present it seems that the students and their lawyers have postponed meeting police as “neither have received the summons…”.