Judicial politicization

26 07 2019

Thailand’s courts have long been pretty hopeless. In this century they have become highly politicized, with judges doing their “duty” as royalists.

In yet another example of this politicization of the judiciary, The Nation reports that in a trial that began in 2015, the Criminal Court has “acquitted four key members of the now-defunct People’s Democratic Reform Committee on insurrection charges.” It might be defunct, but as the cheerleaders for the 2014 military coup and for the current military-backed regime, it gets credit and protection from the royalist establishment.

The court acquitted found Sonthiyan Chuenruethainaitham, Sakoltee Phattiyakul, Sombat Thamrongthanyawong and the bewigged Seri Wongmontha of a huge list of charges “related to the Bangkok Shutdown protests against the Yingluck [Shinawatra] government from May 23 2013 to May 1 2014.” They were:

charged by public prosecutors with insurrection, inciting public disturbances, unlawful gathering, gathering in a group of more than 10 persons to use arms to cause disturbances and to harm others, inciting the public to stop working to pressure the government, and unlawful entries of government offices and others’ properties….

The four defendants were charged with violating Articles 113, 116, 117, 209, 210, 215, 362, 364, and 365 of the Criminal Code and with obstructing the holding of an election by the Election Commission and thus violating Articles 76, 152, and 8 of the 2007 election act. The public prosecutors filed charges against the four in the court in 2014.

With the boss (clipped from Bangkok Post)

Of course, these four were all heavily and publicly involved in the actions that led to the charges. Readers will know that hundreds of red shirts have been convicted and jailed of similar charges. The double standards are obvious and perennial.

The court’s “reasoning” for the acquittals on the spurious “grounds that while they joined the PDRC-led protests against the Yingluck government, they were not leaders who gave orders to the protesters.” All of them were close to the anti-democrat leadership and appeared on the PDRC stages, urging protesters to engage in illegal action. They denied this and the court agreed.

In addition:

The court also cited a ruling by the Constitutional Court on case number of 59/2556 to acquit the four. The Constitutional Court ruled that the PDRC demonstrators had constitutional rights based on Article 63 of the then charter to demonstrate out of dissatisfaction with the Yingluck administration enacting an amnesty law to try to whitewash former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

As far as we are aware, no such decision has been applied to red shirts.

Suthep Thaugsuban and other anti-democrats were in the court to cheer the decision.

The Bangkok Post reports that 28 other anti-democrats face similar charges.

Meanwhile, as reported at The Nation, the politicized Constitutional Court seems to be preparing for its decisions that will likely go against the Future Forward Party and its leaders.


It has “warned that critics of its rulings could face prosecution for contempt of court if they unfairly attack its judgments or use expletives in public comments.”

The court warned that under junta-enacted law, “criticism of the court should be done in an honest manner, with no use of expletives or sarcastic or vengeful language. This provision also refers to comments made on the Internet or in social media…”.

The court has stated that it “will enforce this law as much as it is necessary in order to ensure justice in an efficient and fair manner…”. In other words, it is prepared to jail those who disagree with the court;s politicized verdicts.

Who is Sonthiyan?

26 06 2013

In our last post, we wrote of Sonthiyan Chuenruethainaitham as one of the business leaders behind the white mask royalists?  Who is Sonthiyan?

Not that long ago he appeared on the “Thiang hai rurueang” public debate show on ThaiPBS. More interestingly, back in 2008, he was said to be an adviser to the Thai Broadcast Journalists Association, and commented that political “divisiveness occurs when the government is weak and surrenders to the will of massed supporters who have been mobilised by people who spread misinformation to provoke confrontation.”

He seems to be making an elitist claim that is in the PAD tradition and to be happy to spread misinformation.

While we don’t know how accurate it is, we located a post at the deeply yellow, anti-Thaksin, 2Bangkok Forum on lese majeste. We won’t quote it in full as the spelling is awful, but we summarize and correct the spelling. It seems to be from April 2011.

Sonthiyan’s T-News is said to be “ceaselessly run[ning] news … about unmasking the Anti Monarchy movement via both NBT and T-News Satellite TV.” It seems he had allocated to himself the task of protecting the monarchy from alleged “smears,” claiming it is “the real duty of T-News to come to protect HM as the Loyal subjects by unmasking those who run anti monarchy movements.”

At the time, red shirt iconoclast Sombat Boonngamanong “condemned T-News” as behaving like the radio station that incited the massacre on 6 October 1976.

Sonthiyan stated he was convinced that there were red shirt anti-monarchy movements because, as a former communist with the CPT,  he “learned all about urban warfare before becoming a Loyal Subject.” He claimed that the anti-monarchy movements were made up of:

ex- left-wing activists and ex-CPT men whose REFUSE to accept the total defeat when Communist Party of China and Communist Party of Indochina withdrew support fro the CPT after recognizing His majesty and his government as the legitimate rulers of Thailand.

The post claims that Sonthiyan’s “old comrades … plan to revive CPT using UDD men as the alliances.” Interestingly, it turns out the ex-CPTers who keep showing up at anti-government rallies are apparently his men:

The most important thing of all, the ex-CPT men who hate the mean capitalists of Ai Maew [the bastard Thaksin] have become the main allies of T-news so they can track down the movements of fellow CPT men who want to overthrow Thai monarchy.

The post also notes that Sonthiyan has worked with Dr. Chirayu Isarangkun, the boss of the Crown Property Bureau and that “T-news was on Crown Property Bureau land in Nonthaburi.” It adds: “No wonder, he is the Loyal left wing who come to protect the king.” No wonder indeed!

White lies

25 06 2013

There has been more rallying by the yellow/no color/multi-color/white mask royalists, and the media seems very excited by it. The white masks, acting with the oddly-named Thai Spring group, have even managed to re-mobilize some yellow shirts overseas and upcountry.

These protesters are re-energizing yellow-shirted supporters who have been much discouraged by the election victory of Yingluck Shinawatra and the Puea Thai Party. The use of a borrowed political gimmick, in the Guy Fawkes masks, also allows the royalists to portray themselves internationally as something other than fascists and reactionaries.guy_fawkes_mask

At the same time, the white masks are displaying the People’s Alliance for Democracy’s penchant for concocting political stories.

The best one we have seen was reported in Khaosod. When a couple of criminals robbed a store apparently wearing white masks, the  Facebook “V For Thailand” group “offered a conspiracy theory” to explain the robbery. They declared “that it was in fact the Redshirts who donned the White Masks and robbed the store to discredit the group.”

They went even further, blaming not just red shirts, but the government itself:

The greatness of the V crowd is expanding so fast that the government resorts to any available means to stem it. The latest evil tactic by the Thaksin regime and crooked politicians to discredit the White Masks is begun….

Interestingly, these tactics of concocting “news” this time do not come from master conspiricist, PAD leader and former news “tycoon” Sonthi Limthongkul. Another media “entrepreneur” has stepped up. Sonthiyan Chuenruethainaitham, founder of INN News and T-News has stepped out of the masks and shadows to claim some responsibility.

A report in the Bangkok Post has him putting up his hand and saying he “supports the group, believes it is doing the right thing, and is confident it will continue to grow.” He tells the media that his company “has produced white masks to sell to protesters…. More than 10,000 masks have been sold so far and orders are still coming in…”.

Sonthiyan declares:

With the white-mask movement continuing to grow, Thaksin and his family must now ask themselves how they can continue to live in a place where people hate them, and for how long they can depend on protection from the red shirts….

The white-mask protesters mainly comprise middle-class Thais who do not otherwise belong to any colour-coded groups but share a common stance against what they believe is a corrupt government….

Claiming the group is “new” is malarkey. It is another little lie by the whites. The myriad pictures available of them see recycled PAD slogans and the usual dopey hyper-monarchism.

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