Finland plot legal cases

25 03 2009

Back in 2006, before the coup, there were allegations that Thaksin Shinawatra and some of his Thai Rak Thai party colleagues had hatched a plan to create a republic in Thailand. At the time, this added to claims that Thaksin was anti-monarchy.

Wikipedia explains it this way: “In May 2006, on the eve of King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s 60th anniversary celebrations, the Sondhi Limthongkul-owned Manager Daily newspaper published the details of what it called the Finland Plan, Finland Declaration, or Finland Strategy. The articles claimed that Thaksin and former student leaders of Thailand’s 1970s democratic movement met in Finland in 1999 to develop a plan to institute rule by a single party, overthrow the monarchy and establish a republic, and hold elections for provincial governors. The 5-part article were titled ‘Finland Strategy: Thailand’s Revolution Plan?’, was written by Pramote Nakhonthap, and appeared in [the Manager on] 17, 19, 22, 23 and 24 May 2006. Thaksin’s alleged co-conspirators apparently included Thai Rak Thai party members Prommin Lertsuridej …, Chaturon Chaisaeng …, Surapong Suebwonglee …, Adisorn Piangket …, Sutham Saengprathum …, and Phumtham Wechayachai …, all of whom had been affiliated with the Communist Party of Thailand following the massacre of 6 October 1976. The allegations were taken up by several prominent critics, including leaders of the People’s Alliance for Democracy, … Chai-anan Samudavanija, Senator Sophon Supapong, … Pramote Nakornthab, and Democrat … Thaworn Senniam. None of the accusers provided any evidence to back up their allegations.”

The Bangkok Post (25 March 2009: “Court rejects Thaksin suit against Sondhi”) now reports the outcome of two Criminal Court cases related to these allegations. Thaksin had brought a case against Sondhi and 10 of his co-panelists in a ASTV televised discussion of the Finland Plot allegations at Thammasat University that was extensively reported in the Manager newspaper and on its website. In rejecting the charges, the court “ruled that the defendants did not commit wrongdoing because they served the role of academics, thinkers and communicators when they expressed opinions that were critical of the administrative policy of the Thaksin regime.”

At the same time, in a related case, the “handed down a one-year jail term to commentator Pramote and Khunthong Lorserivanich, editor of Manager daily owned by Mr Sondhi, for articles Mr Pramote wrote relating to the Finland conspiracy that were published on May 17-25. The jail terms were suspended to two years. The two were also fined 100,000 baht each on the charge.”

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