Lese majeste torture continues

30 05 2016

In discussing Somyos Prueksakasemsuk’s lese majeste case we referred to his extended incarceration without bail, delays and extensions during his trial, where he was repeatedly shackled and caged, and dragged around the country for court appearances in several provinces represented forms of torture.

Tom DundeeIn many cases, police, military and prosecutors seek to delay trials and usually refuse bail, all the time demanding a guilty plea. The “carrot” is that a guilty plea almost automatically reduces by half the usually long sentences handed out by royalist courts. This is coercion and it is also a form of torture.

Those who refuse to plead guilty will often face long periods of incarceration before a trial and, when sentenced, normally get huge sentences, are harassed in prison and are seldom considered for early release or pardon.

Prachatai reports on a case where many of these forms of torture have been used. Singer Tom Dundee (Thanat Thanawatcharanon), 58, has been on trial for almost two years and earlier spent 11 months in prison.

It is now reported that Tom has agreed to give up the fight to clear his name and has pleaded guilty on a lese majeste charge before the Criminal Court.

His lawyer states that Tom “might also plead guilty to another lèse majesté charge in the military court at the upcoming hearing on 21 June 2016.”

These charges arise from speeches he made at red shirt rallies and videos of them that were made available n the internet. He was the subject of complaints by the rabidly royalist group Network of Volunteer Citizens to Protect the Monarchy on Facebook. That complaint resulted in one lese majeste charge and is before the Criminal Court.

Another charge has been made since his initial incarceration and this case also involves allegations of computer crimes. Those charges are being heard before a military court.

Thanat explained “that he chose to plead guilty because he has been imprisoned for almost two years and he just wants to case to end as soon as possible in order to request for a royal pardon.” Torture, threats and carrots and sticks have worked.

With apparent glee, following his plea change, “the Criminal Court judges have scheduled a verdict hearing on the case at 10 am on 1 June.” That’s tomorrow.

He faces up to 30 years in jail on the lese majeste charges and up to 7 years on the computer crimes charge.

Updated: The royalist rubble that was human rights

22 07 2015

Readers will know that PPT has little time for the ridiculous National Human Rights Commission. In the period since Amara Pongsapich has been chair of the organization it has been a joke. Being responsible for human rights should never be a joke, but working with the Abhisit Vejjajiva regime, Amara made the NHRC a biased and useless organization.

Amara and friends

Amara and friends

The only current commissioner who has made a public effort to do anything remotely serious about human rights abuses, of which there are many, was Niran Pithakwatchara.

So PPT expected the worst when the names of the proposed new commissioners for the NHRC. We were surprised to see one high-profile activist, being Angkhana Neelaphaijit, who has criticized the military at various times. Most of the rest are loyal royalist bureaucrats.

More significant for the future of this useless organization, however, is the nomination of ultra-royalist Boworn Yasintorn. Both Khaosod and Prachatai have stories regarding the nomination of this campaigning yellow shirt.

Boworn, as well as supporting anti-democrats campaigning against elected governments, has formed and led several royalist groups that not only promote the monarchy but actively hunt those they consider anti-monarchists or republicans, seeking to have them jailed. His Thai Facebook page provides a vivid illustration of his ultra-royalism.

At various times, Boworn has been described as a leader of the “multicolors” who were yellow shirts without their royal colors and organized to support the Abhisit regime and oppose red shirts and the electoral prospects of any pro-Thaksin Shinawatra Party. Later, he was reported as forming the “Students Centre of Thailand” that was made up of adults and former student activists rather than current students. Its role was as a “disorganizer” and spoiler organization to undermine the Students Federation of Thailand.

He was behind other groups, mostly royalist vigilantes, including being reported as President of the Network of Volunteer Citizens to Protect the Monarchy on Facebook and Citizens Volunteer For Defence Of Three Institutes Network. Both groups have brought lese majeste complaints against political opponents.

In fact, as we think about it, Boworn is probably the most suitable appointment to this hopeless organization. He is a living, breathing symbol of its destruction.

Human rights in Thailand are a pile of royalist rubble.

Update: Prachatai has another perspective on the demise of the NHRC.


The lese majeste challenge

1 12 2011


PPT has mentioned several times that the Democrat Party and other royalists are manipulating lese majeste in order to challenge the Puea Thai Party-led government.

Another element in that yellow-shirted challenge is seen in a report in the Bangkok Post, where People’s Alliance for Democracy acolyte-cum-multi-color shirt leader-cum-leader of the Network of Volunteer Citizens to Protect the Land-cum-leader of a “group of people loyal to the monarchy” Tul Sitthisomwong has challenged the government. (He’s a busy lad.)

Tul and his “group of people loyal to the monarchy” have “submitted a letter to Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra asking the government to close all websites found to have broadcast lese majeste content.”

You get the picture of the challenge when you also read this recent post.

Tul’s handful of royalists “asked the prime minister to direct the Information and Communication Technology Ministry to arrest violators of the law as soon as possible and close down all lese majeste websites.”

The battleground for Thailand’s politics is now firmly focused on the monarchy. It is likely to be very bitter.

Mad monarchists

19 09 2010

Prachatai reports that on 14 September, Boworn Yasinthorn, “a former student leader during the 14 Oct 1973 incident and President of the Network of Volunteer Citizens to Protect the Monarchy on Facebook, lodged a complaint with Air Chief Marshal Naphreuk Manthajit, chair of a Senate committee monitoring the enforcement of laws and measures to protect the monarchy, demanding that serious legal action be taken against those who offend the monarchy.”

Boworn complained that the 14 October 1973 student-led uprising has been used and “distorted to slander the monarchy for being involved in the event…”.

Boworn was the leader of the group that “previously asked the DSI to prosecute red-shirt singer Tom Dundee, who, he alleged, offended the monarchy in a public speech in Ratchaburi on 8 June.”

Seemingly maddened by “Two unidentified persons have posted a link to the YouTube clip on their Facebook pages from abroad,” Boworn is demanding that his group’s website be protected by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from nasty overseas posters. Crackpots are usually ignored by governments in normalized societies, but not in Thailand, as Boworn will have the support of yellow shirted royalists.

While PPT might wish that it could dismiss these kinds of monarchist as crackpots, it is clear that the Abhisit Vejjajiva government, several ministers, the political police at the Department of Special Investigation, and a bunch of yellow shirts take these crackpots seriously. Of itself, this shows how deeply this government is mired in authoritarian political practice.

Another royalist claim of lese majeste

31 08 2010

Prachatai includes a report of rabidly royalist group Network of Volunteer Citizens to Protect the Monarchy on Facebook having met with the Director of the political police – the Department of Special Investigation – to demand an investigation of country and blues singer Tom Dundee for speaking at a red-shirt rally in a manner that they claim constitutes lese majeste.

Here’s a video of Tom at a red shirt rally and this is him on stage at a rally, singing. There are more at YouTube.

Prachatai states that “Boworn Yasinthorn, President of the Network of Volunteer Citizens to Protect the Monarchy on Facebook met Tharit Pengdit, Director-General of … DSI…, urging him to prosecute singer and actor Tom Dundee for his public speech at a red-shirt rally in Ratchaburi province. The group submitted as evidence a clip of Tom Dundee’s speech which had been posted on the Youtube website…. They also asked the DSI to prosecute those who had disseminated the clip.”

Ever reliable on lese majeste, Tharit told the royalists “that the DSI would accept the case and investigate whether this can be construed as a conspiracy or not.  The information will be added to the database of the DSI team investigating the plot to overthrow the monarchy…”, meaning that Tom joins PPT’s ever growing list of pending cases.

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