Patsaravalee charged under Article 112

2 10 2021

Mind

Prachatai reports, via Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR), that student activist “Patsaravalee Tanakitvibulpon has been indicted on a royal defamation charge [Prachatai means lese majeste] related to a speech she gave at a protest on 24 March 2021, in which she said that the monarchy must reform itself in order to survive.”

TLHR says that on 30 September 2021, the “public prosecutor at the Southern Bangkok Department of Criminal Litigation … decided to indict Patsaravalee … under Section 112 of the Thai Criminal Code … and a violation of the Emergency Decree charge resulting from her participation in the 24 March 2021 protest at the Ratchaprasong Intersection.”

At that rally, Patsaravalee, or Mind, “gave a speech calling for the King to conduct himself in a manner that befits the head of the state.” She argued that the king’s “expansion of power will endanger the … monarchy, and that even though an absolute monarchy can be created, it can also fall in the next reign.”

In her speech, she issued three demands: “having a single, inseparable armed force, ending intervention in any political groups by the monarchy, and quickly returning public assets which have been transferred to the King’s personal ownership.”

The public prosecutor “claims that Patsaravalee’s speech falsely accused the King of trying to expand his power and creating an absolute monarchy, that he transferred the army to himself, used his power to interfere with politics, and took national treasures for his own, accusations which damage his reputation and cause hate against him.”

All her accusations seem entirely reasonable based on the reported actions of King Vajiralongkorn.

Patsaravalee was granted bail by the South Bangkok Criminal Court with a surety of 200,000 baht, “with the conditions that she must not participate in activities which damage the monarchy and must not leave the country.”

She was the only speaker at the rally charged with lese majeste. As is now usual, the complaint against her was made by ultra-royalists. She now faces three lese majeste charges.

According to TLHR’s numbers, since November 2020, “144 people are currently facing charges under Section 112 for their participation in the pro-democracy movement, 12 of whom are under 18 years of age. Several activists are also facing numerous counts, such as Parit Chiwarak, who is facing 20 counts, Anon Nampa, who is facing 14 counts, Panupong Jadnok, who is facing 9 counts, and Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul, who is facing 8 counts.”





A deluge of 112 charges

23 07 2021

People might be dying in the streets but the regime has its eye on what it thinks is most important: more and more lese majeste and other charges. It is desperate, not to stem the virus, but to stem any notion that the neo-feudals should be reformed.

Thai PBS reports that 13 protesters were formally indicted by public prosecutors on Thursday for lese majeste and sedition. The charges stem from the march and rally at the German Embassy on 26 October 2020. It states:

Mind

Among the accused named by the public prosecutors are Passaravalee “Mind” Thanakitvibulphol, Korakot Saengyenphan, Chanin “Ball” Wongsri, Benja Apan, Watcharakorn Chaikaew, Nawat “Am” Liangwattana, Atthapol “Khru Yai” Buapat, Akkarapon Teeptaisong, Suthinee Jangpipatnawakit, Ravisara Eksgool, and Cholathit Chote-sawat.

12 protesters reported to prosecutors at the Bangkok South Criminal Litigation Office at about 9.30am to acknowledge the charges brought against them by Thung Mahamek police. The other was due to report … [today]. They were escorted by police to the Bangkok South Criminal Court for arraignment and have been granted bail.

Fellow activist Arnon Nampa and others showed up to provide support, while “[t]hree “Move Forward” MPs, namely Rangsiman Rome, Thongdaeng Benjapak of Samut Sakhon, Suttawan Suban Na Ayuthaya of Nakhon Pathom, were present at the court to offer their parliamentary status to secure bail for the protesters.” In addition”six lecturers also volunteered to offer their academic status to support bail for the protesters.”

The Bangkok Post reports that “[t]hree officials from the German embassy were also present as observers.”





Mad monarchists madder still II

30 03 2021

With the resurgence of protests and the regime intensifying its repression, the mad monarchists are increasingly agitated.

While reporting on Patsaravalee “Mind” Tanakitvibulpon and her recent speech targeting the monarchy and other reforms, Thai PBS spends space on enraged monarchists and their bizarre claims.

Mind

Mind

Already facing a lese majeste charge, on 24 March, Mind made three calls on the monarchy, calling on the king to cease interfering “in the military, in politics and in public assets.”

As a result of these reasonable demands of a monarchy meant to be constitutional, Mind probably faces additional lese majeste and other charges. She says she is “bracing for jail…” and vowed to “continue her fight even if she was jailed during the court trial.”

The rabid royalists given space are alleged “scholar” Arnond Sakworawich and political aspirant Warong Dechgitvigrom. It is interesting how each royalist repression of protesters since 2005 has seen a new bunch of royalist spokespersons promoted as the “defenders” of the monarchy.

Arnond claims Mind is “mistaken in alleging the King has ‘his own army’, independent of the Thai armed forces.” His view is that the “King’s Royal Guards were simply transferred from the military and police to form the royal security unit.” He doesn’t explain how it is that this “unit” is under the direct command of the palace or why it was necessary to vastly expand the “royal security unit.”

Arnond’s rebuttal of Mind’s observation of the king’s political interventions – preventing his elder, non-royal, sister stand in an election – seems to confirm Mind’s point. Arnond ignores other interventions, including the king’s demands for constitutional change.

Royalist Arnond’s defense of royal wealth and the king’s assets is just loopy and ignores the king’s own changes to the law that allowed him to take total control of all assets associated with the monarchy, while rolling back decades of legislation.

Warong Dechgitvigrom relied more on the concoction of a conspiracy, a royalist strategy that has been used repeatedly since 2005 to smear and repress.

He claimed Mind is manipulated “by a hidden hand bent on defaming the King with distorted facts.” He declared:

It’s a pity that you didn’t do your homework before reading the statement. The person who prepared the statement for you is so cruel. Without supporting truth, they sacrifice you just to incite people….

This conspiracy claim is repeated and expanded by the maddest of the Bangkok Post’s monarchists, Veera Prateepchaikul. Agreeing with the yellow-shirt conspiracies and cheers the detention without bail of those accused of lese majeste.

Like Warong, he believes that Mind and other protesters are manipulated and the tools of dedicated anti-monarchists. He pours accelerant on the royalist fire, repeating scuttlebutt that her “demands for reform of the monarchy was allegedly given to her by someone believed to be an anti-monarchist.”

He demeans and diminishes all the young protesters, preferring to believe they are misled and tricked. His claims are a familiar refrain. It was only a few years ago that yellow shirts demeaned red shirts, considering them uneducated buffaloes, led around by the nose, and or paid by Thaksin Shinawatra. Obviously, the kids protesting aren’t “uneducated,” but there is still a search for a political Svengali.

In an attempted political assassination, Veera names and seeks to shame “Piyabutr Saengkanokkul, secretary-general of the Progressive Movement Group and anti-monarchist lecturer at Thammasat University…”. Veera decries Piyabutr’s view that the protesters are agents of change, who “will not change their mind on the monarchy” by jailing them.

Veera peddles more royalist tripe by questioning why several academics have been willing to post bail for those jailed.

Veera states that “many students have been exploited,” and claims that Mind is manipulated: “What if she is thrown behind bars for reading the script in question while the actual writer remains scot free? That is unfair, cold-blooded and sheer exploitation of a young mind.”

Yellow shirt ideology is conspiratorial and displays a remarkable penchant for patriarchal nonsense, diminishing the views and actions over many months of demonstration. Clearly, the students understand that reform to the monarchy comes with a diminution of patriarchy and other hierarchies that keep old royalist men in charge of the country.





Updated: The 112 tally

15 01 2021

It is now almost three months since Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha “declared that “all laws and all articles” will be enforced against protesters who break the law.” And we can amuse that recent lese majeste charges and arrests reflect his recent demand that various “agencies to speed up their investigations into lese majeste cases regarding unlawful online content and to take legal action against the suspects.”

We might also assume that this changed of direction on lese majeste – from not using it to an avalanche of cases – must reflect an order from the king. After all, Gen Prayuth stated that the king told him not to use it, and it would be unimaginable that Prayuth would change this policy without a direction from the palace.

Using Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) data, Thai PBS tallies some of the results of the regime’s extensive Article 112 campaign:

At least 234 people were charged in 145 criminal cases stemming from the rallies between July and December 2020, TLHR said.

Among them are six juveniles who were charged with sedition and lese majeste….

Between November 24 and December 31 last year, the group handled 24 cases involving 38 individuals charged with lèse majesté. The accused included one minor and several university students….

Prominent anti-establishment figures facing charges include Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak, who has 26 cases, Arnon Nampa (20 cases), Panusaya “Rung” Sithijirawattanakul (10 cases), and Panupong “Mike” Jadnok (16 cases)….

Less than two weeks into the new year, some 20 protesters have already met police to acknowledge charges of Royal defamation [Article 112].

Patsaravalee “Mind” Tanakitvibulpon faces “nine charges, including lèse majesté, and is waiting to see whether public prosecutors decide to indict her.” Arnon said “he did not remember how many lawsuits have been triggered by his role in youth-led protests.”

Meanwhile, with protests on virus hold, “leaders have been keeping the campaign alive by posting regular social-media messages slamming the government.” In addition, there’s a “guerrilla campaign”across the country with banners and graffiti appearing regularly. Banners calling for “the repeal of draconian lèse majesté law have also been spotted around the city, including at Hua Lamphong Railway Station, Thammasat University, a shopping mall and pedestrian bridges.” Other efforts have targeted king and regime.

The regime is now seeking to use lese majeste against the “guerrillas.”

Update: The recent anti-monarchy campaigns online have seen royalists, regime and military using online resources. They are supporting lese majeste.





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.

 





“Love” lost

30 10 2020

National, royalist, yellow

When all of the commentators – even some of those who campaign against the monarchy – talk about how “loved” and “revered” the dead king was and compare the current monarch unfavorably with him, we at PPT always wondered how the commentators judged this. After all, no one in Thailand was ever prepared to survey public opinion on the monarchy. And, if they did, who was likely to respond negatively after decades of indoctrination and repression of anything remotely questioning of the throne?

One of the remarkable achievements of recent pro-democracy rallies has been to open the door to a more nuanced and critical assessment of the monarchy.

Pareena

The rallies have also seen yellow shirts recycled to “protect” the monarchy, with the regime firm in its rejection of anything to do with the monarchy. For example, the loathsome Phalang Pracharath MP Pareena Kraikupt seeking to belittle activist Patsaravalee “Mind” Tanakitvibulpon with pro-monarchy jabs. As Khaosod has it, Pareena warned and lectured:

“Article 112 will not be amended…. We will not touch the culture that has been passed down to us.… Why are you asking for impossible things? … Learn to be respectful of things we cannot touch. Do not be selfish.”…

Parina insisted that the pro-democracy activists were only 100,000 in number, a minority compared to the “tens of millions” who wanted absolutely no change in the government or monarchy.

“Don’t act like a revolution. It’s impossible to change the ruling system,” Parina said. “You have to understand what ‘majority’ means….

Leaving aside the copious buffalo manure in these few sentences, we again wondered about how widely accepted “the culture that has been passed down to us” – meaning the monarchy and its trappings – actually is.

When yellow shirts rally and talk about the “silent majority” – as does The Dictator – we are also left wondering who they are invoking to their royalist politics.

A reader pointed out to PPT that we’d missed an tidbit in a recent Bangkok Post report that sheds some light on these questions.

Tucked away near the bottom of a recounting of a recent Suan Dusit Poll of 5,738 people, conducted on 19-22 October across the country, it is stated that 60.41% of respondents want protesters “to avoid infringing on the monarchy.”

Can we take this as representative of the “majority”? Are only 60% of people supporting the monarchy? In fact, we think that the percentage supporting the monarchy is probably lower than this because some would answer this was because they fear that yellow shirts will become violent.

However it is looked at, that the polling agency asked the question is a big change. That 40% were not bothered by protesters “touch[ing] the culture that has been passed down to us” is remarkable given the decades of ideological hegemony of monarchism and the political repression associated with it.

That’s not to say that 40% are ardent anti-monarchists. But consider what they ranked above “infringing on the monarchy.” 66.23% were “not satisfied with the prime minister’s handling of the country’s administration”; 72.37% wanted the “government should immediately seek negotiations with the protesters and not to buy time”; 61.69% said the regime “should not use violence against the protesters”; 60.43% said the regime “should listen to the voice of the people and the protesters”; 73.31% of respondents “want the protesters not to become a tool of any political groups”; and wanted them “to be careful about Covid-19 (65.97%); to avoid resorting to violence (63.85%); and to respect the law (60.67%)…”.

It would seem the regime has lost the “majority” and the criticism of the monarchy is quite a way down the list of concerns.

If the monarchy was once “loved” and “revered” – and we’ll probably never know – those emotions have dwindled remarkably in a very short time.





Updated: The political judiciary

28 10 2020

From long being a pretty somnolent part of the bureaucracy, in the 21st century, Thailand’s judiciary has shown that it can move politics in particular directions. The judiciary has demonstrated a capacity for politicized decision-making that has supported rightist, royalist and military interests. Its double standards are now legendary.

Sure, sometimes a court makes a decision that goes against the political grain, but these are exceptions to what is now a rule.

The most politicized of judges, who do as they are required, get rewarded. The most recent is the appointment of Nurak Mapraneet as a privy councilor. He is a former president of the Constitutional Court. He became court president in 2007 following the 2006 military coup. During his tenure there, the Court dissolved six political parties, removed two prime ministers, nullified the 2014 election, banned scores of politicians, and accepted a king’s announcement as law. Quite a record and now he’s rewarded.

All of this is a preamble to an observation that the judicial system and the courts are again being used by the regime as a political weapon.

A couple of days ago, Thai Enquirer published a list of Thailand’s latest political prisoners. It is a list of list of university students, activists, and musicians who have been charged, since 18 July 2020, under Article 116 with sedition (21 persons) and Article 110 for committing an act of violence against the queen or her liberty (3 persons). It notes that “at least 60 other protestors have been charged for joining the pro-democracy protests between October 13 and October 24, according to TLHR and Amnesty International.” Many of these were charged with violating the emergency decree. Astoundingly, that number includes “two children, aged 16 and 17, and they will be prosecuted even though the severe state of emergency decree was lifted…”.

The courts get involved in these cases almost from the beginning. From a phase where those arrested were soon bailed by the courts, that has now ceased for those deemed to be “leaders.” It is as if an order has come from higher up, telling the judges not to release them. For example, there have been several instances where the political detainees have been granted bail and then immediately arrested on other charges. The most recent example is human rights lawyer Arnon Nampa. He was bailed by a Chiang Mai Court and then immediately re-arrested and transported to Bangkok by road to face another period in detention.

As was the pattern in lese majeste cases, we see the judiciary, police and corrections being used to punish, detain, and harass. We refer to this as “lese majeste torture.” The most awful example was the treatment meted out to Somyos Prueksakasemsuk. He’s now in jail and denied bail again. Also well aware of this tactic, having also been a lese majeste prisoner, is Akechai Hongkangwarn. He’s now denied bail on a spurious Article 110 charge.

Then there are the young “leaders.” Not only are they repeatedly denied bail, but the system ensures that they are treated to all the feudal rules of the prison system. While they have not yet had their heads shaved, they are given king-approved haircuts and made to wear prison uniforms and Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul has been made to “dye her hair natural black,” if those words from the Bangkok Post make any sense at all.

But none of this makes much sense. It is just a dictatorial regime acting under orders.

Update: Khaosod reports that police are looking to charge some 16 persons: “Deputy Bangkok police chief Piya Tawichai told the media yesterday the police were gathering evidence to prosecute the embassy protesters…. Maj. Gen. Piya said a number of laws were violated, such as the public assembly act and libel.” Pro-democracy activists Patsaravalee Tanakitvibulpon and Jatuphat Boonpattaraksa are among those being “investigated.”

It is not reported whether the police are taking similar action against the yellow shirts who protested at the same embassy before the pro-democracy thousands.








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