27 12 2012

Several news stories relate to the judiciary deserve some attention.

First, PPT has criticized several court decisions as royalist politics. However, occasionally some good sense emanates from a court. The Criminal Court has made a useful decision when it “dismissed a libel case lodged by former prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva against red-shirt leader and former MP Jatuporn Promphan…”. The court ruled that democratic politics meant that, “… a verbal attack cannot be regarded as defamation in accordance with the Penal Code…”.That seems to us to be a reasonable point.

Abhisit has fired off at least four defamation cases against Jatuporn and seems likely to appeal this decision. Of course, politicians on both sides of the current political sandwich are equally likely to shout defamation and head for the courts.

Thai politics is full of allegations, some of which are outrageous claims. It makes little real sense for politicians to use defamation laws against each claim yet they tend to see the courts as a political resort when they feel  injured. It is related to what, in the context of lese majeste, David Streckfuss calls the “defamation regime”: “a social and political formation that over time develops a kind of ‘defamation thinking’ and ‘impulse’ that focuses on the insult of the defamatory statement, often at the expense of the truth” (xv).

Second, People’s Alliance for Democracy leaders and acolytes are back in court in on-again, off-again trials that date back to their actions in 2008. In one case, an appeals court has upheld one of the few convictions recorded so far against PAD. In this case, Preecha Treecharoon’s conviction for attempted murder related to his use of “a truck to run over a police officer in charge of crowd control on October 7, 2008, near Parliament.” The court increased his prison term to 34 years.

In the same report, Sondhi Limthongkul, Chamlong Srimuang, Somkiat Pongpaibul, Pipop Thongchai, Maleerat Kaewka and Praphan Koonmee “pleaded not guilty [in two cases] to criminal violations in connection with the 2008 protests at Government House and Parliament.” The charges involve “illegal assembly, breach of the peace, coercion and illegal detention…”. As usual, they sought bail and continuing delays may be expected. Red shirt leaders regularly end up in jail while PAD people almost never sit behind bars.

More of those double standards

18 03 2011

PAD guards at the airport seizure

There seems to be a sudden resurgence of news that demonstrates the double standards at work in the judicial system. PPT noted the remarkably blatant efforts by the political police at the Department of Special Investigation in an earlier post today. The Bangkok Post adds to the rottenness of politicized decision-making.

Here’s the main point:

The national police chief has dropped terrorism charges against Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya and nine key figures of the People’s Alliance for Democracy in connection with the seizure of the Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang airports in late 2008.

Yes, these 10 are among 25 suspects charged with terrorism offenses, so 15 still face charges, but these PAD leaders haven’t seen the inside of jails for month on month as red shirt leaders did.

Those let off were: least surprising, Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya, Chaiwat Sinsuwong, Gen PathompongKesornsuk , Praphan Koonmee, Therdpoum Chaidee, Veera Somkwamkid, Anchalee Paireerak, Sarocha Porn-udomsak, Pichit Chaimongkol and Banjong Nasae.

The decision on dropping the terrorism charges came from Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva’s top cop Wichien Potposri, even though police investigators “earlier recommended indictment of all 25…”. Can anyone be surprised by this decision?

More on PAD and change

24 11 2010

Prachatai has more on the PAD rally, with an estimate of “[h]undreds of supporters” rallying against charter amendments.

It says: “Sondhi Limthongkul demanded a referendum prior to any amendments, while Praphan Koonmee said outright that he wished for a coup today, and without a coup Abhisit would never have become Prime Minister.”

Sondhi stated: “We [PAD] have always insisted that we have no problems with charter amendments, but we ask that a referendum should be held.  Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva himself has said that he would not amend the charter, but, as time passes, he shows that he doesn’t act the way he talks.  He changes his mind and goes for the amendments, without caring for the 14.7 million people who voted for this charter…”.

PPT doesn’t need to defend Abhisit, but to argue that the military referendum was a model for anything and bears any relationship to a democratic process is ludicrous. We also point out that a referendum is not required by the military’s 2007 Constitution, so PAD’s allegiance to the document is politically mediated. Bangkok Pundit has some more details.

Sondhi continued: “The 2007 Constitution has been protected through the great struggles of the people and the loss of their lives.  How can we let a boy who only wishes to cling to the Prime Minister’s chair amend it and harm the country?  If this happens, the country will not survive.  The amendments are only to please the coalition parties.  I even wish that parliamentarians would adopt [red-shirt] Dr Weng Tojirakan’s version of the amendments, so that Prime Minister Abhisit would be branded as someone who harms the monarchy and the people, only to serve his ambition to hold on to power…”.

As we noted in an earlier post, there is little new thinking from PAD and its supporters, just the usual extremist and rightist shibboleths.

Praphan Koonmee “said that if he was Army Chief, he would stage a coup today, and dared anybody to arrest him.” He damned Abhisit: “Those who wish to have a coup wish to see changes to the country, to get rid of bad politicians from the country.  If a coup really happens, you will only run scared with your tail between your legs.  Is it true that you have contacted universities abroad to find a teaching job after you fall from power?… What is wrong if I want a coup?  Without the coup, Abhisit would have still been a new boy.  Without the coup in 2006, Abhisit would never have become PM.  Without the PAD, Abhisit would never have become PM.  How come he talks in such an ungrateful manner to the people?”

For a moment it seems Praphan sounded somewhat red shirt when he attacked the premier as a “fake advocate of democracy, not in touch with the people, still wearing a suit and a tie when visiting flooded areas, and violating the rights and freedoms of the people the most.  The evil of Thaksin Shinawatra with his extra-judicial killings and interference with constitutional independent bodies and so on was a well-known fact, but Abhisit was the only PM who declared the Emergency Decree and sat on it for months to suppress all groups of people…”.

But to show his true yellow radicalism, Praphan demanded Abhisit crack down even harder on red shirts! It seems a “true democrat” would arrest, lock up and hunt and kill red shirts….

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