Article 110 trial to begin

15 11 2022

On 14 October 2020 during #14OctMob of “Khana Ratsadorn” rally, a group of protesters found themselves close to an unannounced royal motorcade, with a car carrying Queen Suthida and Prince Dipangkorn Rasmijoti. The car appeared to drive through the protesters, who shouted anti-royal slogans.

Several of the protesters were charged under the almost never used Article 110, which states:

Whoever commits an act of violence against the Queen or Her liberty, the Heir-apparent or His liberty, or the Regent or his/her liberty, shall be punished with imprisonment for life or imprisonment of sixteen to twenty years. Whoever attempts to commit such offence shall be liable to the same punishment.

If such act is likely to endanger the life of the Queen, the Heir-apparent or the Regent, the offender, shall be punished with death or imprisonment for life.

Whoever makes preparations for committing an act of violence against the Queen or Her liberty, the Heir-apparent or His liberty, or the Regent or his/her liberty, or does any act to assist in keeping secret any intention to commit such offence, shall be punished with imprisonment of twelve to twenty years.

Thai Lawyers for Human Rights reports that the “Criminal Court starts the witness examination of Black case number Aor.778/2564 on November 16, 2022. Five defendants are charged under Section 110 of Thailand’s Criminal Code on the ground of ‘violating the liberty of the Queen’.”

The five defendants include Akechai Hongkangwarn, Bunkueanun Paothong, Suranath Paenprasert
“and two other civilians who were indicted by the public prosecutor…”.

Of course, none of them violated the queen’s person or safety, but this is royalist Thailand.

All five defendants have denied all charges.

With the case now about to begin, there “are 51 prosecution witnesses and 11 defendant witnesses.” The trial is scheduled to run through the end of January 2023.

As TLHR explain:

This case is considered one of the most important case in Thailand’s political sphere as the penalty of this case is severe that the defendants could face 16 to 20 years, life time imprisonment or even death penalty for allegedly violating the Queen’s liberty and her well-being.





Royal motorcade lese majeste

19 10 2022

Social media reported a scuffle at the revamped Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre (QSNCC) when King Vajiralongkorn and Queen Suthida attended for the opening ceremony.

Prachatai has now reported on this incident.

It says Atirut (last name withheld), a 25-year-old programmer, was arrested on Saturday 15 October 2022 and “charged with royal defamation [they mean lese majeste] for refusing to sit down and shouting as King Vajiralongkorn’s royal motorcade went past.”

A witness saw the arrest, at around 18.15, with some 10 officers detaining the man, “putting him in a chokehold and carrying him inside the QSNCC by his arms and legs. An officer also put a hand over the man’s mouth.”

The witness “was told that the man had been taken to Lumpini Police Station, but officers at the station denied that anyone had been sent there when activists went looking for the man.”

Thai Lawyers for Human Rights later said Atirut “was being detained at Lumpini Police Station. According to the arrest record, he was arrested and charged because he refused to sit down and shouted ‘Going anywhere is a burden’ as the royal motorcade went past.”

TLHR also said that he “received minor injuries, including scratches on his left ankle and both elbows and a torn nail on his right hand. He was also reported to have been handcuffed after being carried inside the QSNCC.”

Atirut “was taken to court this morning (17 October) for a temporary detention request,” with the South Bangkok Criminal Court granting the police request to temporarily detain Atirut for 12 days. However, after “his lawyer filed a bail request, he was granted bail with a 200,000-baht security and released.”





King seen, but not Sineenat

9 10 2022

AFP – Agence France Presse – reported on the “visit by Thailand’s king to see survivors of a nursery massacre,” noting that it was “a rare recent public outing” by Vajiralongkorn.

AFP then goes through some squirms and calisthenics to suggest that the current monarch is “officially regarded as semi-divine but who came in for unprecedented criticism during street protests in 2020.” Presumably, the “official” bit is to imply that this position is demonstrably buffalo manure.

King Vajiralongkorn and Queen Suthida visited hospitals treating the victims of the tragic Nong Bua Lamphu massacre. As far as we can tell from reporting, the royals steered clear of the site of the massacre. This is probably for fear of bad karma rubbing off.

As usual, a handful of “royalist supporters, some wearing the king’s official colour yellow, waited outside the hospital ahead of the monarch’s visit.”

And, as always, those viewed by the royals were placed in subordinate positions.

The report is right to observe that the king no longer goes out much: “The palace stepped up public appearances in late 2020 and early 2021, including one occasion on which the king visited prisons, sweeping floors alongside his [then] official consort.” Since the regime arrested and charged hundreds with lese majeste, “he has been seen less in public since the protests ebbed away in 2021.” Presumably he feels his position has been fortified.

Perhaps the AFP might have asked why he’s stopped spending most of his time in Germany. Tax issues? An incapacity under German law to take government decisions?

Helpfully, though, AFP does mention Sineenat Wongvajirapakdi. But she has completely disappeared, without a trace. What has happened to her?





Jatuporn gets bail II

15 09 2022

Thai Lawyers for Human Rights reports on Jatuporn Sae-Ung’s case and bail.

It adds some detail on the royalist court’s decision:

Having examined 14 prosecutor’s witnesses and two defendant’s witnesses during June 2022, the Bangkok South Criminal Court acquitted Jatuporn of all charges with the exception of those brought under Section 112 of Thailand’s Criminal Code and the Public Assembly Act. Considering the totality of circumstances at the time of the fashion show on 29 October 2020, the court ruled that Jatuporn intended to impersonate, mock, and dishonor the Queen. This was tantamount to defamation against the Queen.

It also adds commentary on Jatuporn’s important statement to the court:

Jatuporn affirm[ed] … her belief to the court stating that dressing up in Thai National Dress is a right that any individual can choose to do so and if one chooses to dress up, it is not a crime. The fact that her dressing up on the day of the incident is a violation of section 112 is purely a vague interpretation by the plaintiff and her witnesses.

“Your honor, today I am wearing Thai national dress, is there something wrong with me here? I do not intend to mock anyone.”

A lawyer commented:

“In a polarized society, Lèse-majesté law becomes a tool used to harm those who think differently. In this case, the individual who accused her (Jatuporn) was of the opposite political view.”





Jatuporn gets bail I

14 09 2022

Clipped from Coconuts Bangkok

It is reported that activist Jatuporn Sae-ung, sentenced to two years in prison for, the court believed, defaming the monarchy by dressing up as Queen Suthida , has been released on bail.

Thai Lawyers for Human Rights confirmed that an appeals court had set a bail of 300,000 baht.

Jatuporn, 25, was due to be released sometime on Wednesday afternoon or early evening, after being held since Monday.

The activist will be free on bail while the appeals court deals with her case.

The report states that Jatuporn’s:

… conviction is the latest in a wide-ranging crackdown by the Thai authorities to stifle the pro-democracy movement, which staged massive protests in mid-2020 that sparked a public debate on the role of Thailand’s all-powerful monarchy in society.





Updated: Mimicry 112

12 09 2022

Clipped from Coconuts Bangkok

112Watch reports that on On 12 September 2022, a royalist court sentenced transgender activist, Jatuporn Sae-Ung, to 3 years on a 112 charge, reduced to 2 years in prison for her cooperation with the court. She stood accused of dressing to mimic Queen Suthida on 29 October 2021 during a political demonstration known as the “Runway for the People.” She dressed in what is now termed a traditional Thai costume of pink silk. She walked on the red carpet while other protesters prostrated in front of her, an act deemed to be insulting the monarchy under the Article 112.

The Court considered her act to violate the so-called dignity of the monarchy and, hence, lese majeste.

Jatuporn is seeking bail to appeal.

UpdatePrachatai has the long story on Jatuporn’s case. The Bangkok Post has a story too.





Koi is gone

4 08 2022

Andrew MacGregor Marshall has a new Secret Siam post “Koi gone.” Marshall doesn’t answer the burning question: What has happened to Sineenat Wongvajirapakdi, known as Koi, the king’s official concubine?

She’s been gone from public view since 5 December 2021. No one is saying what has happened to her. She was there one day and then she disappeared. Her unexplained disappearance is not something usually associated with “celebrities” in the modern world. It is strange. But so is the Thai royal family.

If he can’t say what has happened to her, Marshall puts together the story of Koi as it is currently known. It will be of interest for many who follow the erratic Vajiralongkorn. Here’s some of the conclusion to Marshall’s account:

The royals finally returned to Europe in November 2021, taking over much of the airport hotel in Munich for their mandatory two weeks of coronavirus quarantine. They made day trips to Thailand on November 20 for the changing of the clothes of the Emerald Buddha, and on December 5 for the birthday of the late King Bhumibol.

The December 5 visit was the last time Koi has been seen in public. She has been missing for eight months. Here is the last image we have of her.

It remains unknown what happened during December last year between Vajiralongkorn and Koi….

The king flew back to Bangkok via Zurich on December 28 for Taksin Day, bringing [Queen] Suthida but — very unusually — not Koi, who stayed in Bavaria. He planned to stay in Thailand less than two weeks.

We are PPT don’t think it is certain that Koi remained in Bavaria.

But the plans were repeatedly changed…. Clearly there was some turbulence in the palace, with plans being changed so frequently.

Eventually, Vajiralongkorn decided he was not going to return to his pleasure palace in Bavaria for now. He has not been back to Germany since December and has not seen Koi since then.

The real reason [for Koi’s disappearance], royal sources say, is that Koi’s ambitions were causing so much conflict that Vajiralongkorn became increasingly angry and bored of the drama. Surprisingly, Suthida seems to have won the power struggle for now, with the help of Bajrakitiyabha and Sirivannavari….

On July 28 [2022], the royals gathered to mark Vajiralongkorn’s 70th birthday. It was exactly three years since he had anointed Koi his royal noble consort, but she was nowhere to be seen.

For the moment, Koi is gone.





Using 112 against the mentally ill

23 06 2022

Prachatai, using information from Thai Lawyers for Human Rights, reports that a man named Punyaphat (last name withheld), 29, “has been sentenced to 12 years in prison for posts he made in the Facebook group Royalist Marketplace about King Vajiralongkorn and Queen Suthida’s popularity and the King’s trips to Germany.”

Like several others who have been sentenced under Article 112, Punyaphat is said to suffer “mental illness.”

TLHR say that, on 20 June 2022, “the Samut Prakan Provincial Court ruled that the 4 posts Punyapat made on Royalist Marketplace, a Facebook group where people discuss the monarchy, on 9 and 10 May 2020 were intended to cause hatred against the King and Queen, and that the content of the posts is false and defamed the King.”

The Court “sentenced him to 12 years in prison for royal defamation and violation of the Computer Crimes Act. The sentence was reduced to 4 years and 24 months because Punyaphat confessed.” [This is an accurate quote, but the reduced sentence details must be wrong or lacking details. We guess 6 years, as a reduction is usually 50%.]

Punyaphat’s mother has stated that her son “suffers from attention deficit and shows obsessive-compulsive behaviour. She also said that he can only communicate on a limited basis and is unable to control himself in stressful situations or if he is afraid, and that he is not able to work or leave the house by himself and must be under the care of his family at all times.”

However, the royalist Court claimed “Punyaphat was capable of contesting the charges and there was no need to send him to a psychiatrist, since he is able to talk about himself.”  The court and its officers ignored all claims about Punyaphat’s mental condition, including by his lawyers.

While Punyaphat and his family live in Kamphaeng Phet, because the complaint “was filed by Siwapan Manitkul …  at Bangkaew Police Station in Samut Prakan, Punyapat and his family had to travel at least 5 hours from  for each court appointment.”

Siwapan is reported to have filed “at least 9 royal defamation complaints filed against other citizens for social media posts in 2020.”

Following the verdict, “Punyaphat’s lawyers posted bail for him in order to appeal the charges, and also stated that sending him to prison would prevent him from receiving proper treatment for his mental condition. He was released on bail using a 225,000-baht security.”





Release political prisoners IV

1 06 2022

Prachatai reports that monarchy reform activist Sopon Surariddhidhamrong, who has been held in pre-trial detention on a lese majeste charge, was finally granted bail on 31 May.

His Article 112 charge resulted from a speech he gave at a protest on 22 April 2022. A charge of “using a sound amplifier without permission” was added.

The complaint against him was filed by royalist vigilante Anon Klinkaew, a member of the ultra-royalist group People’s Centre to Protect the Monarchy, who alleged that Sopon’s speech defamed Queen Suthida.

He also faces at least one other 112 charge(the reporting is not clear): “one is for a speech given at the Chakri Memorial Day protest on 6 April 2022 and another for a speech given during a Labour Day rally in front of Government House on 1 May.”

Clipped from Prachatai

Sopon was arrested as he left a Labour Day event at the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre. Prachatai states: “He has been held in pre-trial detention for the past 30 days and repeatedly denied bail. His family and lawyers filed another bail request for him on 27 May, after concerns arose that Sopon will not be able to complete his radiological technology license course if he continues to be detained and will be denied the opportunity to work as a medical professional.”

Like other recent cases where bail was reluctantly granted, the conditions are oppressive. He was “granted him bail for a 1-month period using a 100,000-baht security, which was covered by the Will of the People Fund, a bail fund for people facing charges for participating in pro-democracy protests. The court appointed his parents and grandfather as supervisors.”

The Court also “prohibited him from repeating his offense or participating in activities which cause public disorder or damage to the monarchy. He is also not allowed to leave the country without court permission and must stay at home at all times unless for educational or medical reasons.” In addition, the court demanded: “If he needs to leave home for educational reasons, he must present certifying letters from his university and the lecturer responsible for the relevant classes to the Court 3 days in advance. In cases of medical emergency, he must present a medical certificate to the Court within 3 days.”

In other words, this “release” amounts to house arrest.

Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) revealed that:

… before Sopon was released from Bangkok Remand Prison, officers from Buppharam Police Station came to re-arrest him on another royal defamation charge resulting from a speech he gave during a protest on Chakri Memorial Day (6 April). Although there is an arrest warrant out for Sopon, officers have already visited him in prison to inform him of his charges and the warrant should therefore become invalid.

Officers initially said they would take him to the Police Club on Vibhavadi Rangsit Road, claiming that the arrest warrant is still valid. Sopon’s lawyers then spoke to the officers and told them that Sopon’s family will be filing a misconduct complaint against them if they arrest him. At around 20.20, after the officers confirmed that they would not arrest him, Sopon was released from Bangkok Remand Prison.





Where’s Koi?

6 02 2022

We don’t usually do the Hello magazine stuff, but we are wondering about official consort Sineenat Wongvajirapakdi. We ask because when we hadn’t seen her for a while, she was jailed by the king.

When she was released, she was declared clean and unimpeachable and taken back to the king’s bosom. When the king’s household returned to Bangkok to see off the student uprising, Koi was involved in every event.

Strange stuff indeed. However, when she disappears from public view, we can only wonder what is going on.

Her birthday was ignored and it is Queen Suthida and Princess Bajrakitiyabha who are seen with the king on the very few occasions he is seen in public, most recently for Chinese New Year.

So where is Sineenat?

 








%d bloggers like this: