Piya J’s lese majeste conviction upheld

27 04 2017

As expected, an appeals court has agreed with a lower court conviction of Piya J. for lese majeste.

Piya J. was arrested by police on 11 December 2014 for allegedly defaming the monarchy on Facebook with “defamatory” comments and pictures of the king on 27 and 28 July 2013.

He was convicted on 20 December 2016 and sentenced to 9 years, reduced by a third. Later, on 10 October 2016, he was sentenced to an additional 8 years on a second lese majeste charge associated with these posts, deemed defamatory of the king.

As is common in royalist Thailand, it was a bunch of lese majeste vigilantes  who made the complaint in mid-2013.

Piya was said to have used the Facebook profile of Pongsathorn Bantorn. The police claim Piya, aged 46 at the time, and a computer programmer, admitted his guilt while under interrogation. Piya denied the charges and rejected the police claim of a confession. In fact, during the deposition hearing at the Criminal Court he claimed that the account was not his and that it was a fake account using his publicly available profile photo.

A former officer of the Stock Exchange of Thailand, Piya claims that he never participated in any political demonstrations and said that he had no interest in politics.

The court allowed a secret trial and the only incriminating evidence produced in this case is reportedly an image of the king on a mobile phone from about 2001. Other computer evidence and IP addresses were not considered on the case. According to a report of the case, there was only weak evidence against Piya.

The court accepted “evidence” given by Achariya Ruangratpong, one of the plaintiffs, as primary evidence of guilt, despite it essentially being hearsay.

The plaintiff told the court that Piya had used the name ‘Vincent Wang’ as his online identity and told the court that Piya used to reside in Don Muang District, which was consistent with the information from investigators that Piya once adopted the name Pongsathorn Bantorn at the Don Muang District Office.

Yes, that’s it. At least as far as we know from secret courts. Such flimsy “evidence” gets one sent to jail for years.

 





Court sentences man a second time on lese majeste

11 10 2016

Prachatai reports that Piya J., previously sentenced to 9 years (reduced to 6) on a lese majeste charge, has now been sentenced in another lese majeste case.

It turns out that his first sentence was for one email alleged to have “defamed” the king and delivered to the Bangkok Bank “under an online identity ‘Vincent Wang’.” The second charge was initially set aside for “weak evidence.”

The court has now “fixed” that “error” and slapped the man with the additional sentence. On 10 October 2016, the Criminal Court sentenced Piya for a second email to the same bank. It handed down an an additional eight-year jail term.

He will now have to serve 14 years in jail.

Piya states that he will appeal on both charges.





Another big sentence for Facebook lese majeste

20 01 2016

Prachatai reports that yet another Facebook user has been thrown into jail for allegedly “defaming” the monarchy in posts.

On 20 January 2016, the Criminal Court sentenced Piya J. to nine years imprisonment for lese majeste and computer crimes, reduced by one third.

Piya is a 46 year-old computer programmer who was arrested on 11 December 2014 and charged with allegedly posting “defamatory” comments and pictures of the king on 27 and 28 July 2013. He allegedly used the Facebook profile of Pongsathorn Bantorn.

At an initial secret hearing in May 2015, Piya denied the allegations. Prachatai reports that:

Since his arrest, he has consistently denied his involvement in the lèse majesté Facebook profile, which was not his, although the picture on the profile was his picture, which was taken from the defendant’s Twitter and Google Plus accounts.

The only incriminating evidence produced in this case is reportedly an image of the king on a mobile phone. Other computer evidence and IP addresses “were not considered on the case.” According to the report there was only “weak evidence” against Piya. The court, however, accepted “the testimony of Achariya Ruangratpong, one of the plaintiff[s], as primary evidence on the case.” In most courts around the rest of the world, this evidence would be inadmissible or considered hearsay.

A “former officer of the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET),” Piya says he “has never participated in any political demonstration and said that he has no interests in politics.”





Lese majeste cases build II

13 12 2014

Yet another lese majeste case is reported at Prachatai, with police arresting Piya J., for allegedly defaming the monarchy on Facebook.

That the original complaint was made more than a year ago makes the case a little unusual in the current avalanche of ultra-royalist 112 complaints, charges and jailings.

The Technology Crime Suppression Division (thought) police arrested Piya in Bangkok and used the draconian and feudal lese majeste and the Computer Crimes Act against him.

As is common, it was a bunch of lese majeste vigilantes who made the complaint in mid-2013.

The police claim Piya admitted his guilt while under interrogation.








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