Updated: Challenging arbitrary lese majeste

25 10 2017

Prachatai reports that the U.N. Human Rights Council’s Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has concluded that lese majeste victims Sasiwimon S. and Tiensutham or Yai Daengduad are detained arbitrarily.

The UN has concluded that the detention and sentencing of the two was done arbitrarily. Each received sentences that amount to decades in jail.

In other words, “the detention of the two was against the international conventions in which Thailand is a state party of such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.”

Some time ago the same U.N. body also “concluded that the detention of four lèse majesté convicts were arbitrary. The four are: Somyot Prueksakasemsuk, Pornthip Munkong, Patiwat Saraiyaem, Phongsak S.”

The military dictatorship will more or less ignore this U.N. declaration as the use of the lese majeste law is critical for its suppression of opponents of the junta and the monarchy.

When it does reply to the U.N. it lies. Last time, in June 2017, the junta lied that “the state protects and values freedom of expressions as it is the foundation of democratic society…”. This is buffalo manure and no one anywhere believes it.

The regime added that freedom and democracy were only possible when they do not impact “social order and harmony.” Like fascist and authoritarian governments everywhere, they mean that freedom and democracy are not permitted in Thailand.

The regime also claims that lese majeste “is necessary to protect the … [m]onarchy as the monarchy is one of the main pillars of Thai society…”.

That’s why the regime sent Sasiwimol, a 31-year-old single mother of two to 56 years in jail for allegedly posting seven Facebook messages considered lese majeste. How she threatened to undermine the monarchy is unclear.

Yai Daengduad, who is 60 years old was sentenced to 50 years in a junta prison for lese majeste.

Neither could appeal as they were dragged before one of the dictatorship’s military courts.

Meanwhile, Khaosod reports that the iconoclastic former lese majeste convict, Akechai Hongkangwarn has been confronted by a squad of uniformed military thugs for saying that he’d wear red for the dead king’s funeral. The thugs demanded he “choose between spending a few days at what they described as a resort in Kanchanaburi province or a military base at an unspecified location…”.

Of course, in royalist and neo-feudal Thailand, saying one would refuse to wear black is considered unacceptable. Akechai has been subject to a barrage of threats and hate mail and posts declaring him “unThai.”

Akechai “said it was not about disrespecting the [dead] king but exercising his rights.”

Royalists cannot accept that anyone has rights when it comes to the monarchy; there are only (enforced) duties.

They have encouraged attacks on Akechai and his house.

This is royalist Thailand.

Update: An AP report states that Akechai has been arrested: “A lawyer for Ekachai Hongkangwan said soldiers arrested Ekachai at his Bangkok home on Tuesday morning and indicated they would detain him outside the city, in Kanchanaburi province.”





Narisara on lese majeste

4 03 2017
narisara

Photo from New Mandala

Herself accused of lese majeste, Narisara Viwatchara, now in exile, sent this post to PPT:

My humble opinion and analysis of the barbaric lese majeste (LM) law or Article 112 of the Thai Criminal Code.

กฎหมายหมิ่นพระบรมเดชานุภาพ (มาตรา 112 ) เปรียบเสมือนเป็นเซลล์มะเร็งร้ายในร่างกายคนเรา ที่ทำให้เราหยุดความคิดสร้างสรร หยุดการพูด การแสดงออก จนในที่สุดเกิดความกลัวจนเป็นอุปสรรคต่อความก้าวหน้าทางการงานและเศรษฐกิจของตัวเองและลานไปถึงของประเทศ พวกเราทุกคนจะต้องจัดการทำลายเชื้อร้ายตัวนี้ให้เร็วที่สุด ก่อนที่ประเทศชาติจะดิ่งลงเหวนรก

Lese majeste law (Article 112) is like a cancer cell in our body. It inhibits creativity in the mind and causes self-censorship and fear which ultimately become a drag to the nation’s economic progress. It must be removed quickly before the country sinks into the abyss!

ภายใต้กฎหมายมินใครก็ตามที่ถูกกล่าวหาว่าดูถูกดูหมิ่นกล่าวร้าย พระมหากษัตริย์ ราชินีองค์รัชทายาทและผู้สำเร็จราชการถึงแม้ว่าจะเป็นเรื่องจริง ก็ตามจะต้องได้รับโทษ อย่างน้อย 3 ถึง 15ปี ต่างกรรมต่างวาระ

Under the draconian lese majeste law, it is stated that no one shall make any negative remarks to 4 individuals regardless of whether it is based upon factual information, lest they spend up to 15 years in jail for each offense, if convicted.

เมื่อปีที่แล้วผู้พิพากษาท่านหนึ่งได้รวมเอาสุนัขของกษัตริย์ร่วมอยู่ด้วยหมดของกฎหมายมินด้วย

In a bizarre legal brief in connection with LM case last year, a royal dog was included by a judge to be shielded from defamation!

กฎหมายมินหรือมาตรา 112 มีคำจำกัดความดังนี้

Article 112 of the Criminal Code purely states,

คำจำกัดความมาตรา 112ให้อ่านข้างต้น

“Whoever defames, insults, or threatens the king, queen, the heir, or the regent, shall be punished with imprisonment of three to fifteen years.”

ตั้งแต่พลเอกประยุทธ์จันทร์โอชายึดอำนาจการปกครองจากรัฐบาลที่มาจาก การเลือกตั้ง ตามระบอบประชาธิปไตยเมื่อเดือนพฤษภา 2014 คดีเกี่ยวกับกฎหมายมินได้เพิ่มมากขึ้นเป็นอย่างมาก

After General Prayuth Chan-ocha seized control of the country in the May 2014 coup, the number of lese majeste (LM) cases have increased exponentially throughout the country.

ผู้ต้องหาส่วนใหญ่จะได้รับการกดดันโน้มน้าวให้ยอมรับผิดเพื่อให้ได้รับการผ่อนโทษ แต่ในประเทศที่เจริญแล้วทั่วโลกจะถือว่าผู้ต้องหาผู้นี้จะ ได้รับเกียรติเป็นวีรบุรุษหรือวิรสตรีค่ะ

Most defendants are urged to plead guilty in order to get a leniency from the judge. In the eyes of any civilized nation, all of the alleged defendants would be considered a hero!

ผู้ต้องหาคดีหมิ่นในขณะนี้ที่โดนติดคุกทั่วประเทศไทยก็ได้แต่หวังให้ได้รับการพิจารณาจากกษัตริย์ให้ลดหย่อนผ่อนโทษ

A number of lese majeste defendants who are in jail now are hoping for a partial or full pardon from the Monarchy, otherwise they would all be spending years and years in jail.

ถึงแม้ว่าจะถูกจองจำตามที่ศาลตัดสินเมื่อเวลาออกจากคุกก็จะมีชะนักติดหลังไปตลอดชีวิต

Even if they serve out the whole sentences, they will be ostracised by Thai society. Victims of lese majeste prosecutions in Thailand often carry a stigma with them for the rest of their lives!

ที่น่าเศร้าสลดใจอย่างมากที่เหตุการณ์ปัจจุบันในประเทศไทยภายใต้การนำของรัฐบาลทหารคดีหมิ่นได้เพิ่มขึ้นอย่างน่าใจหาย

Unfortunately, today in Thailand and under the current military regime the enforcement of the unjust lese majeste law is increasing in an ever relentless manner.

คุณพงษ์ศักดิ์ สีบุญเพ็ง อาชีพจีดทัวร์ อายุ49ปีได้รับการลงโทษเป็นเวลา 60 ปีเนื่องจากเขียนข้อความใน Facebookในเชิงหมินพระบรมราชานุภาพ

Just to illustrate how bad things have become under the junta, earlier last year, a 49-year-old tour operator Pongsak Sriboonpeng was given a record lese majeste sentence for six posts made to Facebook that were deemed to insult the late king. The military court judge sentenced him to 10 years for each post.

เมื่อสารภาพแล้วก็ได้รับการลดหย่อนผ่อนโทษเพียง 30 ปี

The 60-year-term was halved after he pleaded guilty.

อีกคดีหนึ่งเกิดขึ้นที่จังหวัดเชียงใหม่มีคนงานในโรงแรมอายุ 30 ปีมีลูกสองคนถูกตัดสินให้จำคุก 56 ปีด้วยข้อหามินแต่เมื่อรับสารภาพแล้วก็ลดหย่อนผ่อนโทษลงเหลือ 28 ปี

In a separate case, a 30-year-old hotel worker and mother of two was sentenced to 56 years by a court in the northern city of Chiang Mai. Her sentence was also halved after a guilty plea.

เจ้าหน้าที่ตำรวจจึงได้ใช้เวลาในการโน้มน้าวให้ผู้ต้องหารับสารภาพเพื่อย่นเวลาในการปิดคดีและเพื่อไม่ให้เป็นการเสียพระเกียรติต่อกษัตริย์ถ้าคดีต้องยืดยาวออกไป

As in most lese majeste cases, Thai authorities urge the defendants to plead guilty to save time. A prolonged trial could be seen to potentially damage the Monarchy’s reputation, someone who is often described as “compassionate”.

บางคนที่เชื่อในอุดมการณ์ตัวเอง และมีความหนักแน่นใจว่าตัวเองไม่ผิด ในขณะที่โดนจับห้าปีแรกหรือระหว่างการไตร่สวนก็ตาม

Of course there are those who refuse to plead guilty (either at trial or at least during the first five years after their arrest).

คุณสมยศพฤกษาเกษมสุขก็เป็นนักต่อสู้เพื่อประชาธิปไตยคนหนึ่ง โดนจับในข้อหามินเนื่องจากเป็นบรรณาธิการนิตยสารประชาธิปไตยที่โปรทักษิณและถูกตัดสินจำคุก 11 ปีอย่างไรความเป็นธรรม

There’s also Somyot Pruksakasemsuk, a prominent democracy activist and editor of a pro-Thaksin magazine, who in 2013, was sentenced to 11 years in prison for allegedly defaming the king. Several rights groups condemned his sentence as an affront to freedom of expression in the Southeast Asian country.

การตัดสินถูกจำคุกอย่างยาวนานกล่าวกันว่าเนื่องจากคุณสมยศต้องการเปลี่ยนแปลงกฎหมายหมิน แทนที่จะพิจารณาว่าที่พิมพ์เค้าพิมพ์อะไรกันแน่

Somyot was convicted of publishing two articles in a pro-democracy magazine that made negative references to the crown. However, some argue that the heavy sentence is less for what he published, and more for his efforts to reform the lese majeste law.

คุณสมยศได้ยื่นฎีกามาเป็นเวลาหลายปีแล้วแต่ก็ไม่มีอะไรคืบหน้าซึ่งดิฉันได้กล่าวว่าเขาอาจจะทนไม่ได้ต่อการทรมานทางด้านจิตใจอาจจะต้องขออภัยโทษ

He has filed an appeal with the royal court but has waited years to no avail for a decision. I have heard from his wife that he too may be forced to seek royal pardon, because of the physical and mental torture he has endured thus far.

นี่คือกระบวนการของกฎหมายหมินที่เป็นกฎหมายที่อำมหิตมาก ไม่ว่าคุณจะรับผิดหรือไม่ก็ตาม

That’s the way the system works, even for those who don’t plead guilty.

ใครที่ถูกกล่าวหาจะไม่ทราบว่าโดนเพราะอะไร คือจะถูกกล่าวหา แบบมั่วๆ เมื่อรับผิดแล้วทางสื่อมวลชนก็จะกระจายข่าวว่าได้รับอภัยโทษแล้วแทนที่จะออกข่าวว่าเค้าพูดอะไรในเนื้อหา

The lese majeste victim is charged and sentenced often without the details of the charges ever being particularly clear. Then the Monarchy is seen to grant a pardon, with the media sometimes giving more attention to the pardon than to the case itself.

โอกาสที่จะชนะในคดีหมินมีน้อยมากเนื่องจากว่าผู้พิพากษาทุกคนได้รับการแต่งตั้งจากกษัตริย์

It doesn’t bode well for the almost impossible task of winning such a case, particularly when the judges were appointed and approved by the monarch in the first place.

อย่างไรก็ตามในความเห็นของดิฉันกฎหมาย หมินนี้จะมีผลตรงข้ามกับคนหัวโจกจัญไรที่สร้างขึ้นเนื่องจากว่าผู้คนที่โดนติดคุกด้วยข้อหานี้จะมีคนอีกอย่างน้อย 1,000,000 ดนที่จงเกลียดจงชังต่อสถาบันกษัตริย์

ความรักจะต้องเกิดขึ้นโดยธรรมชาติไม่ใช่เกิดจากการบังคับผู้คนให้รักด้วยกฎหมายเถื่อนอันนี้ค่ะ

Nonetheless, I truly believe that for every LM conviction, there will at least a million or more people who will become disenchanted with the monarchy. After all, true love must come naturally and not by the enforcement of an unjust law.





No Human Rights to Watch

28 01 2016

Thailand’s human rights are not just trampled upon by the military and their boots, but are simply outside the mindset of the military junta and its leaders. They do not neglect or infringe on human rights but do not comprehend the idea of human rights. Every action by this censorious and thuggish regime speak to their incapacity to comprehend notions of universal rights such as freedom of expression. The military in Thailand maintains torture, enforced disappearance and murder with impunity. So hierarchical is the military and so inhabited by persons trained to toady before their bosses and betters that any notion of human rights is alien.

Human Rights Watch has just released its annual report, which includes a country chapter on Thailand. Nothing unexpected at all in the dismal report on Thailand under the military dictatorship. HRW’s press release is reproduced below:

Thailand’s military junta tightened its grip on power and severely repressed fundamental rights in the past year, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2016. Public pledges by the ruling National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) to respect human rights and return the country to elected civilian rule went unfulfilled.

Human Rights WatchIn the 659-page World Report 2016, its 26th edition, Human Rights Watch reviews human rights practices in more than 90 countries. In his introductory essay, Executive Director Kenneth Roth writes that the spread of terrorist attacks beyond the Middle East and the huge flows of refugees spawned by repression and conflict led many governments to curtail rights in misguided efforts to protect their security. At the same time, authoritarian governments throughout the world, fearful of peaceful dissent that is often magnified by social media, embarked on the most intense crackdown on independent groups in recent times.

“Under military rule, Thailand’s human rights crisis has gone from bad to worse, and there seems to be no end in sight,” said Brad Adams, Asia director. “The junta is jailing and prosecuting dissenters, barring public protests, censoring the media, and restricting critical political speech.”

The NCPO, led by Prime Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-ocha, has committed human rights violations with total impunity since the May 2014 coup, disregarding concerns raised by the United Nations, human rights groups, and many foreign governments. On March 31, 2015, nationwide enforcement of the Martial Law Act of 1914 was replaced with section 44 of the interim constitution, which absolves those acting on behalf of the NCPO of all legal liability. In November 2015, the junta proposed that a new constitution being drafted should guarantee blanket amnesty for the use of military force to “protect national security.”

The date promised by the NCPO to hold elections to return to civilian rule continued to slide, making the timing wholly uncertain. Meanwhile, the junta continued to ban political activity and peaceful public gatherings, carried out hundreds of arbitrary arrests and detentions, and disregarded serious allegations of torture and ill-treatment of detainees in military custody. At least 27 people were charged with sedition for criticizing military rule and violating the junta’s ban on public assembly. During the year, the NCPO increased its use of military courts, which lack independence and fail to comply with international fair trial standards, to try civilians, mostly political dissidents and alleged offenders of the lese majeste (insulting the monarchy) laws.

The junta forced the cancellation of at least 60 events, seminars, and academic panels on the political situation and human rights in 2015, including a report launch by Human Rights Watch, because it deemed the events a threat to stability and national security.

The junta made frequent use of Thailand’s draconian laws against criticizing the monarchy. At least 56 lese majeste cases have been brought since the coup, mostly for online commentary. Military courts have imposed harsh sentences. In August, the Bangkok Military Court sentenced Pongsak Sriboonpeng to 60 years in prison for his alleged lese majeste Facebook postings (later reduced to 30 years when he pleaded guilty). It was the longest recorded sentence for lese majeste in Thailand’s history.

Prayut has frequently stated that soldiers should not be condemned for any loss of life they caused during the 2010 political confrontations in Bangkok. To date, not a single member of the Thai security forces has been criminally prosecuted for serious rights abuses related to counterinsurgency operations in Thailand’s southern Pattani, Narathiwat, and Yala provinces.

The government defied pleas from the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) and several foreign governments and violated the international prohibition against forcible return (refoulement) of refugees and asylum seekers to countries where they faced likely persecution. The most egregious instances included the deportation of two Chinese activists to China in November, and the deportation of 109 ethnic Uighurs to China in July.

“Respect for human rights in Thailand is going down the drain,” Adams said. “The international community urgently needs to press the junta to reverse course, end repression, respect fundamental rights, and fulfill its pledges to return to democratic civilian rule.”





HRW on Prayuth at the UN

23 09 2015

Human Rights Watch has released a call for General Prayuth Chan-ocha, the self-appointed prime minister of Thailand, known to PPT readers as The Dictator, to be held accountable.

We agree. He should be held accountable for his illegal act of throwing out an elected government, for his human rights abuses, for the murder of red shirt protesters, for jailing political opponents and for his callous use of Article 44 and the draconian lese majeste law.

We disagree with HRW that he should be urged to “quickly restore democratic civilian rule…”. Even if he does this, it would be a sham restoration. The military dictatorship is creating law and circumstances that mean that civilian rule will change little. Rather, the Thai people need to reject military rule, throw out the dictators and establish their own constitutional rule.

Here’s the HRW statement:

World leaders gathered for the United Nations General Assembly should urge Thailand’s prime minister, Gen. Prayut Chan-ocha, to end repression of human rights and quickly restore democratic civilian rule, Human Rights Watch said today.

General Prayut, who led a coup in May 2014, is scheduled to speak at the UN General Assembly in New York on September 29, 2015. The theme for this year’s General Assembly is “The United Nations at 70: the road ahead for peace, security, and human rights.”

“Thailand’s junta leader should get the welcome he deserves at the UN, which is an earful about the junta’s abysmal human rights record,” said Brad Adams, Asia director. “The leaders attending the General Assembly should use their meetings with General Prayut to urge an end to the junta’s wave of repression and restore democratic civilian rule.”

Thailand is campaigning for a non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council in an election that will be held in October 2016. While Thailand has promised collaboration with the UN, the junta has frequently raised what it termed Thailand’s “unique conditions” to deflect criticism of its human rights violations. Its “roadmap” for a return to democratic rule has repeatedly been pushed back.

The General Assembly presents an important opportunity for concerned governments and UN officials to urge Prayut to act immediately on a broad range of human rights concerns, including the military’s sweeping and unchecked powers. Section 44 of the interim constitution of the ruling National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) grants broad authority to the junta to carry out policies and actions without any effective oversight or accountability for human rights abuses.

World leaders should not tread lightly in broaching Thailand’s rights violations with General Prayut. By being forthright in raising concerns, concerned governments can help reverse the human rights crisis in Thailand and put the country on the path toward civilian democratic rule.

For instance, on September 10, Prayut told the media that he would not tolerate criticism of his administration: “No one can oppose me. If they still don’t learn that, they will be detained again and again.… I might tape their mouths shut too.” Three days later, a well-known journalist, Pravit Rojanaphruk, was summoned and then held for several days in incommunicado military detention for criticizing the junta leader.

The NCPO has severely suppressed fundamental rights and freedoms. More than 200 websites about the political and human rights situation in Thailand have been blocked for having content the junta considers threatening to national security. The junta has banned public gatherings of more than five people and prohibits most political activities. Protesters who have peacefully expressed disagreement with the junta have been arrested and sent to military courts, where some of them could face up to seven years in prison on sedition charges.

The junta has made frequent use of Thailand’s laws against criticizing the monarchy. Since the coup, 53 lese majeste cases have been brought against suspects – 40 of whom allegedly posted or shared comments online. Military courts have imposed especially harsh sentences, such as the 60-year sentence (later reduced to 30 years) for Pongsak Sriboonpeng for six Facebook postings.

Since May 2014, the NCPO has summoned at least 751 people to report to the military authority. Most were politicians, activists, and journalists accused by the junta of criticizing or opposing military rule. Under section 44 of the interim constitution, the military can secretly detain people without charge or trial for up to seven days. Military personnel interrogate detainees in military facilities without providing access to their lawyers or ensuring other safeguards against mistreatment. The junta has refused to provide information about people in secret military detention, increasing the risk of enforced disappearance, torture, and other ill treatment. There has been no official inquiry into allegations of torture and mistreatment in military custody.

Since the coup, Thai authorities have continued to violate the rights of asylum seekers and refugees under customary international law not to be returned to a country where they face repression. On July 9, the Thai government forcibly repatriated 109 ethnic Uighurs to China. Thai authorities have attempted to seal off the border to prevent boats carrying ethnic Rohingya fleeing abuses, persecution, and hardship in Burma and Bangladesh from landing. Thai authorities have frequently intercepted these boats and pushed them back to the sea after providing rudimentary aid and supplies.

“World leaders should not tread lightly in broaching Thailand’s rights violations with General Prayut,” Adams said. “By being forthright in raising concerns, concerned governments can help reverse the human rights crisis in Thailand and put the country on the path toward civilian democratic rule.”





Reuters on lese majeste and crushing dissent

5 09 2015

Aubrey Belford at Reuters has compiled an in-depth report on lese majeste that is worth reading and considering. It is spawned by the huge spike in lese majeste charges and the lengthy and cruel sentences being handed out by the military courts to “offenders,” some of whom have been entrapped into “offending.”

Pongsak Sriboonpeng’s sentence of 60 years was the most draconian to date. Using iLaw data, Reuters states that “[s]ince the military takeover 15 months ago, 53 people have been investigated for royal insults, at least 40 of whom allegedly posted or shared comments online…”. Pongsak’s case is one of entrapment, and we have added details to his case report at the linked post on him.

As PPT has stated several times, we think this is an under-estimate of the number of lese majeste allegations investigated by the royalist military. The “trials” are usually held in secret and usually only after a “guilty” plea has been extracted from prisoners.

Reuters states that “[m]any of the suspects arrested since the coup were detained without charge, held by the army without access to lawyers and, in many cases, forced to hand over passwords to their online accounts…”.

Worse, the military junta has pushed cases through in perfunctory ways, without even a nod in the direction of legality:

Prior to the coup, “police needed to gather evidence before they arrested someone,” said Sasinan Thamnithinan from Thai Lawyers for Human Rights, which has defended the majority of people accused of lèse majesté since the coup, including Pongsak.

“But the military has been able to do anything,” she said. “The military arrests you, gets your Facebook and other passwords, accesses them, prints things out and gets you to sign that it’s yours. After that they go to the court, get a warrant, and then they send you to the police.”

Citing David Streckfuss, the report notes that the military dictatorship’s “targets … are increasingly ordinary people, many of them red-shirt supporters of Thaksin [Shinawatra], rather than prominent individuals…”.

The “royalist establishment backed by the military has repeatedly tried to neutralize the political machine of Thaksin and his sister Yingluck, who were both elected prime minister with broad rural support, only to be toppled by military coups.”

As well as seeking to undermine Thaksin’s appeal and to punish him personally, the military junta uses lese majeste “as an instrument to crush dissent.” Streckfuss is quoted as saying that “the more severe punishments being meted out in lèse majesté cases should be seen as a bid to shore up the power of the junta—and the traditionalist elite it represents—amid anxiety over the king’s health. He is quoted: “It’s trying to send the message that this is a taboo subject and that discussion of the monarchy will be punished at all costs…”.

Reuters quotes junta mouthpiece as declaring the Yingluck government disloyal:

Major General Werachon Sukhondhapatipak, a spokesman for the government, said the administration of Yingluck Shinawatra had not properly pursued lèse majesté cases, which he called a “national security issue.”

He also accused Thaksin of seeking to replace the king in words that sound remarkably like Privy Council President Prem Tinsulanonda:

Werachon would not say if the increased policing of lèse majesté cases was related to the political turmoil in Thailand, except for one allusion. “If someone wants to be number one in Thailand, you need to destroy the existing number one institution,” he said.

Asked if he was referring to Thaksin, he said: “I’m not saying anyone, I did not say anyone. But if you want to be on the top of the list, be number one, you need to topple, you need to get rid of number one.”

The king is hardly in a position to be “number one” now, but it is the system he represents, where the royalist elite controls everything, backed by The Dictator’s guns (or any dictator’s guns), that is critical. It is the desire to protect privilege, hierarchy and wealth that drives the use of lese majeste and the efforts to wipe out opposition.





Updated: Lese majeste cases updated

31 01 2015

Keeping up with the military dictatorship’s lese majeste cases, charges and jailings is challenging, and PPT has been trying to keep our ever-lengthening pages on cases and convictions up-to-date. We’ve made several changes to both pages in recent days.

A recent new case we added involves the arrest of Jamroen S., a 59 year-old civil servant accused of sending Facebook messages deemed lese majeste to another man, Pongsak S., also accused of lese majeste and computer crimes. The two are claimed to be a part of a “movement” aimed at bringing down the monarchy; there’s no evidence for this.

Police say Jamroen confessed. This is not unusual as the police force detainees to confess, telling them it means a lighter sentence, and suspects know that there is almost no chance of beating a lese majeste charge in the junta’s royalist Thailand.

Update: Two reports, one at Khaosod and another at the Bangkok Post, appear to refer to Jamroen’s case and use the name Chayo Anchaleewatchara, referring to an official who “allegedly used Facebook under the name UnchaUnyo to spread pictures and messages defaming the monarchy.” This is the name police allege Jamroen used (Uncha Unyo). If any reader can provide more information to PPT on the case, and clear up the confusion we’d be appreciative. Links to Thai-language media would assist too. Are there three cases (Pongsak, Jamnoen and Chayo) or just two?





More lese majeste prosecutions and complaints

8 01 2015

Prachatai reports two new lese majeste cases.

The first case is another Facebook capture. On 7 January 2015, police said “they had arrested a man who allegedly defamed the monarchy on Facebook.” They accuse Pongsak S. of lese majeste and of breaching Article 14 of the Computer Crimes Act. Pongsak was originally on the “list of 17 people summoned by the junta on 9 June 2014.” The police will also charge him with failing to report to the junta.

According to the police, who paraded Pongsak at a press conference, he “allegedly used Facebook under the name ‘sam parr’ to distribute messages and images defaming the monarchy.” Pongsak allegedly admitted his guilt at the press conference, saying his posts were “instigated by some Facebook friends. He also said that he went to anti-establishment red-shirt demonstrations.”

The second case is so bizarre that we are not sure what to do with it or whether it will go anywhere. One useful bit of it is that it shows infighting in the palace.

The report states that on 7 January 2015, Air Chief Marshal Chansak Nivasabutr filed a lese majeste complaint against his boss, General Sayan Kampeepan. The latter is “Chief, Aide-de-Camp General to H.M. the King.” Chansak was Deputy Chief Aide-de-Camp until Sayan sacked him on 11 September 2014. A bit like the notorious case of the royalist and quite bizarre Jaruvan Maintaka, Chansak claims lese majeste because only the king can order his dismissal and that Sayan did not have authorization to sack him. He claims that only the king can “dictate the transfers and dismissals of positions in the Royal Aide-de-Camp Department and all other positions in the royal court.”








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