Darunee abandoned by government

28 11 2012

As anyone interested in lese majeste knows, the Puea Thai government has been weak on lese majeste and most especially on those already jailed or in the courts. Interestingly, it has been revealed that someone in government thought for a brief moment about assisting Darunee Charnchoensilpakul, but that a political decision was made to let her stay in jail.

This information was revealed when one of the hopeless reactionaries in the Democrat Party babbled about the monarchy and national security and complained about his enemies in the red shirts locked up, mostly on bogus charges, and bailed under the Puea Thai government (which deserves credit for that).

Da Torpedo (Photo by Surapol Promsaka Na Sakolnakorn from the Bangkok Post)

Justice Minister Pracha Promnok “said the money was spent for compensation and temporary release of some detained red-shirt protesters, but not all of them. Darunee’s name was on the list but eventually the committee considering the matter decided not to bail her out…”.

That political decision may have been based on a fear of being accused of disloyalty by ultra-royalists but then that bunch have never ceased making such accusations. The upshot is that Darunee is left to rot in prison following a horrendously biased “legal process.”

Red shirts call for ICC jurisdiction

15 08 2012

Two short stories at both The Nation and the Bangkok Post warrant some attention. In both, red shirt leader Weng Tojirakarn is reported to have lodged a petition with the Yingluck Shinawatra government “to recognise the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court, paving way for the inquiry into the 2010 bloodshed.”

This is related to our earlier post on recent red shirt activity at the International Criminal Court (ICC) and is also linked to our recent post on the arm-wrestle that is ongoing between red shirts/Puea Thai Party and those who believe they own the country.

Weng lodged his petition with Justice Minister Pracha Promnok, with the latter saying “he would consult with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs before presenting the matter for the Cabinet debate.”

Weng is obviously keen for “the international judiciary could shed light on “who gave the order for the killing of the red shirts” in April and May 2010.  Of course, Weng and many others believe that Abhisit Vejjajiva was leading a military-backed government that ordered the Army crackdowns.

In the Post, Weng is reported to have said that “it was a pity that  the Democrat Party has a plan to ask the ICC to investigate the deaths of some 2,500 people in the ‘war on drugs’ during the administration of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.” PPT doesn’t think it is a pity but is pitiable in the sense that, as Weng wonders, “why the Democrat Party had not done so while leading a government for two years and eight months.”

With a major update: Some red shirts bailed/ICC case

25 06 2012

Some readers may have missed a report buried in the Bangkok Post that makes two critical points.

First, it states that “a court in Mukdahan agreed … to release 13 jailed red shirts on bail of 2 million baht each.” They should be released today as the “Rights and Liberties Protection Department and the Lawyers Council of Thailand will put up 26 million baht…”.

Justice Minister Pracha Promnok said:

the department and the lawyers’ council would also earmark funds to seek bail for 18 other red-shirt protesters who are in jail for similar offences in Ubon Ratchathani, Udon Thani and Maha Sarakham. The lawyers’ council will also proceed with a bail request for 14 other red-shirt suspects detained in Bangkok.

Then there is this cryptic note: “Authorities have yet to decide whether they will seek bail for suspects accused of defaming the monarchy…”, citing the minister.

The second note states:

Tida Tawornseth, chairwoman of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship, said yesterday she would go to the International Criminal Court in the Netherlands on Tuesday to tell the international community via the court that there were plots to kill people in April and May 2010, referring to the crackdowns on red-shirt protesters.

Both notes are worthy of more attention and should readers have more information, please email us: thaipoliticalprisoners@gmail.com

Update: The Nation includes a report on the continuing efforts at the International Criminal Court. It reports the mother of slain nurse Kamolkade Akkahad will provide a statement to a prosecutor at the ICC in the Hague. Phayao Akkahad’s daughter was murdered at the Pathum Wanaram temple. Recent reports and most of the evidence suggests that Army shooters killed Kamolkade on 19 May 2010.

It seems that the ICC is investigating the complaint lodged on behalf of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship in January 2011.  However, it seems clear that the ICC has not yet accepted the case.

Phayao, who said “she did not care about the amnesty law,”  stated:

I’m going there as a victim who had to face the loss. I want to give the information to the prosecutor, as my daughter should not have died at the event. Didn’t the Red Cross sign mean anything to the (Thai) state officials? My daughter was a volunteer. She graduated in nursing. I will speak via a translator without a script….

She added: “The government must care about people’s feelings. The justice process must go on so the cases go to court. Don’t just let the people forget it…”.

The report notes that red-shirt leaders Weng Tojirakarn and Thida Tawornsate Tojirakarn were also traveling to The Hague.

Free the political prisoners!

6 03 2012

At Prachatai, there is a report that political jailed activist Surachai Danwattananusorn is about to “petition the government to seek a royal pardon for all political prisoners including those jailed for lèse majesté offences.”

Surachai is to write to Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to have Minister of Justice Pracha Phromnok to seek the royal pardon.

The letter is planned to be “signed by eight lèse majesté convicts and defendants including Surachai himself. The others are Somyos Prueksakasemsuk, Joe Gordon, Sathian Rattanawong, Wanchai Saetan, Nat Sattayapornpisut, Suchart Nakbangsai and Darunee Charnchoensilpakul.

PPT believes that such a move will bring much needed pressure on the government and the palace to consider the plight of Thailand’s political prisoners, many of who are victims of the draconian political crime that is lese majeste. PPT doubts the palace is in any mood to respond positively, as it harbors a deep fear that it is under threat from republicanism.


PAD, the monarchy (again) and a beat-up (?)

24 11 2011

The Bangkok Post reports that while the People’s Alliance for Democracy cancelled its anti-Thaksin Shinawatra-cum-anti-Yingluck Shinawatra rallying, it has “vowed to hold a prolonged mass rally against the government if there is a renewed bid to seek a royal pardon for ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra.”

But PAD leader Sondhi Limthongkul went further than this. He vowed to also have PAD rallying if the Yingluck government “fails to stop the anti-monarchy movement…”. Sondhi promised protesters numbering in the “hundreds of thousands.” Why the push on the monarchy?

Sondhi claims “the anti-monarchy movement was still active with websites with lese majeste content prevalent on the internet.” He claims that “PAD is gathering evidence to prove the government is insincere in protecting the monarchy.” Further, PAD is going to “submit a petition asking the government to take action against anti-monarchy elements.” If the government doesn’t act within 14 days, “PAD will stage a mass rally…”.

PPT has a feeling that PAD is just getting warmed up. Sondhi is going to bank on protecting the monarchy as the rallying cry. More importantly, now that a pro-Thaksin government is in power, the tawdry anti-Cambodia rallies of last year, which failed to draw crowds, can be left aside and the “true believers” – including the Democrat Party – can be brought out under the royalist banner to fight the devil and his followers. The issues are now much clearer and the target makes better sense for a broader group of anti-Thaksinites.

Interestingly, PAD spokesman Panthep Puapongpan warned the red shirts and the government, blaming them in advance for any confrontation. He also warned: “Thaksin has no land [in Thailand] to live on. Ms Yingluck may end up like her brother…”.

In a kind of footnote to this story, it is interesting to see the BBC’s comments on the whole royal pardon debacle. It seems the BBC finds something in the claim by Justice Minister Pracha Promnok “that the speculation had been dreamt up by a ‘frantic’ media.” The report states: “The current amnesty plan covers only serving prisoners, and excludes people found guilty of fraud. But local media claimed the government, led by Mr Thaksin’s sister Yingluck, was trying to change the rules of the amnesty to include the former prime minister.” It then appears to lash the Bangkok Post: “The Bangkok Post newspaper fuelled the speculation last week when it quoted a government insider as saying a secret cabinet meeting had been held to discuss the issue.”

Was it a beat up? Probably not entirely, for Chalerm Yubamrung was involved, seemingly intent on causing some kind of mini-crisis, but then PAD’s Panthep is cited in The Nation making some claims that seem to suggest the BBC is on to something: “The PAD said it did not believe what Pracha [Promnok] said [on the royal pardon decree] but as there was no clear evidence suggesting otherwise and no independent figure who had seen the draft, the PAD would give the government a chance to prove it was telling the truth. If the document was submitted to the Council of State, the government’s legal advisory body, the PAD may have a chance to see the content of the draft to verify that Thaksin would not really benefit…”.

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