Sombat charged with lese majeste

14 06 2014

As the military dictatorship rolls out its lese majeste dragnet, Prachatai reports that jailed democracy activist Sombat Boonngamanong has been charged under an Article 112 complaint lodged by serial lese majeste complainant Wiput Sukprasert.

The report states that police from Roi-et Province arrived in Bangkok to charge Sombat on Friday. Roi-et is where the monarchy lusting Wiput, said to be a yellow-shirt businessman, lodged the complaint in January 2014.

Wiput is a crazed ultra-royalist who throws around serious charges for political impact and to boost his own persona as a mad monarchist. Prachatai reports that he has “filed at least 15 lèse majesté cases against prominent academics and journalists, including Pravit Rojanaphruk, a senior reporter at The Nation, Surapot Taweesak, an academic and columnist for Prachatai, and Prachatai director Chiranuch Premchaiporn.”

The ultra-royalist accuses Sombat of “disseminating a doctored image defaming the monarchy.” That material is a “doctored image of the 2006 coup makers.” Prachatai states:

In the image, the photos of Suthep Thaugsuban, the leader of the anti-election People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), and a woman replace those of … the King and Queen, while the faces of the then Army Chief, Navy Chief, Air Force Chief, Police Chief and Supreme Commander are replaced by those of key figures of the PDRC and the Democrat Party.

Sombat says he did not create the photo and that he has always been “very careful with the issue of the monarchy…”.

When crazies like Wiput are taken seriously it is a clear message that politics in Thailand is at its most base level.





Mothers and lese majeste detainees

6 08 2012

As Mother’s Day has long been stolen by the palace as a means to bolster the monarchy’s status, the advent of the day falls on the queen’s birthday. Hence it is eye-opening to see the mothers of lese majeste victims speaking out about the rights of their children.

The Bangkok Post reports that the mother of one lese majeste detainee “has pleaded for him to be released on bail on the eve of Mother’s Day (Aug 12), saying denials have ‘crippled’ his son’s basic rights.”

Apparently the Corrections Department “has allowed mothers of all prisoners and detainees who have registered before the end of last month, to meet their sons from Aug 2 to 10 and from Aug 14 to 20.” Taem took a 10-hour bus ride from the northeast to meet her son. Her son goes to court next month for the first time, having been held since September 2011, having been twice refused bail.

Other news on lese majeste detainees:

Surachai Danwattananusorn has been returned to prison after prostate treatment at the Police General Hospital that began on 25 July. He also received a “a one-fifth reduction of his sentence as a result of Mother’s Day.” This means he will be in in his 80s when released.

Somyos Prueksakasemsuk was due back in court on 19 September but the “court has to wait for a Constitution Court decision on whether Penal Code Article 112 was against the Constitution or not. Mr Somyot’s lawyer Suwit Thongnual said he would still seek bail for his client who has been denied bail 12 times since his arrest in April 2011.”

A petition to the Supreme Court for Tanthawut Taweewarodomkul (also known as Num) for dropping his appeal has been shelved for three months, meaning he was “ineligible for any royal pardon entitlement” associated with Mother’s Day.

Suraphot Thawisak (in the Post story, rendered as Thaweephak), stated that “Roi Et police have decided not to file a lese majeste case against him. However, Police Headquarters in Bangkok has the final say on the decision.”





An update on Suraphot’s lese majeste case

15 02 2012

Readers may recall a case lodged in Roi-et, by a yellow-shirted serial lese majeste accuser, against academic and Prachatai contributor Suraphot Thawisak.

Suraphot is accused, along with others, of lese majeste related to posts at the independent media outlet Prachatai. Prachatai reports that Suraphot has had his police summons delayed until 17 February 2012.

Meanwhile, an investigating police officer has appeared before a panel at the National Human Rights Commission. When yellow shirt activist Wiput Sukprasert lodged his complaint, Pol Lt Col Sukhit Phetyotha stated that:

police practice in handling complaints under Article 112 of the Criminal Code, police investigators are obliged to forward all cases to the regional and then central police for consideration, including even the cases they have already decided not to pursue.

So Roi-et police established an investigation with its team “interrogating those involved in the case and checking IP addresses with the Ministry of Information and Communications Technology.” The outcome was a meeting “chaired by the Regional Police Commander [that] decided that Suraphot and an unidentified Prachatai reader should be prosecuted as alleged.”

Suraphot was then issued with a summons. If he fails to appear before police, an arrest warrant will be issued. It is the summons that he is expected to answer in a couple of days.

This is yet another case that makes Nitirat’s case for it. More, it makes a case for abolishing a law that is only used for political repression.





Opposing lese majeste

11 12 2011

In an earlier post PPT mentioned the brave protesters who came out to oppose the lese majeste law or Article 112 outside Bangkok’s criminal court. There have been other related events.

The Nation reports that people “marched from Victory Monument to the Ratchaprasong intersection … to oppose the lese-majeste law amid an increasing number of arrests and trials under the law.”

This event “was led by octogenarian social critic Sulak Sivaraksa in a wheelchair” who stated that “he wished the lese-majeste law would be abolished…”. But he added: “Thai society is stubborn and so it might not be scrapped…” and recommended amendments including vastly reduced sentences.

The Nation article also reveals that university lecturer and Prachatai columnist Suraphot Thawisak, another lese majeste victim, is accused in a police complaint “after he posted a comment suggesting how the monarchy should reform itself.”

There have been other anti-112 actions, with photos at some of these pages(via New Mandala), not all of which are currently available in Thailand (we are not sure why not as opposing lese majeste is not a crime, not yet, anyway):

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150517268574416.435079.510039415&type=1 and https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150413426972895.355868.657712894&type=1 https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.2533578251822.2127539.1024504690&type=1

A Free Ah Kong Rally in Chiang Mai was also held. Read more here: http://prachatham.com/detail.htm?code=n3_10122011_01

Perhaps showing his age, while opposing lese majeste, Sulak accuses former premier Thaksin Shinawatra of “wanting to undermine the monarchy.” It does seem bizarre to make such a claim while opposing Article 112. If Sulak is correct, then his sister seems to be doing a great job of looking the other way.





More on Suraphot’s lese majeste case

9 12 2011

In our initial post on the lese majeste summons to university lecturer and Prachatai columnist Suraphot Thawisak, PPT stated that the “case that appears to have been processed under the Yingluck Shinawatra government.” However, after reading the story at Prachatai, we are not so sure of this statement.

The Prachatai account states that Suraphot “has received a summons to report to the police in Roi Et province in the Northeast as a result of a local yellow shirt’s complaint against him for his comments on the Prachatai website. On 2 Dec, Suraphot received a summons from plainclothes policemen, issued by Roi Et police and dated 22 Nov, to report to Roi Et Provincial Police Station on 7 Dec to answer accusations of lèse majesté.”

The report states that the police complaint “was lodged by Wiput Sukprasert, a local yellow shirt in Roi Et who uses the alias ‘iPad’ on the Prachatai website.”

According to this account, the summons relates to comments Suraphot made on Somsak Jeamteerasakul’s article “How will we situate the monarchy in Thai society and politics?” that was published by Prachatai on 10 August 2010. Apparently police first made inquiries on 6 October 2010. And nothing more happened until he received the summons.

It seems this case has a longer history that began under the Abhisit Vejjajiva regime. It is notable, however, that the case has been processed under the Yingluck government.





Academic faces lese majeste charge

8 12 2011

Prachatai reports, in Thai, that Suraphot Thawisak, a lecturer in philosophy at Rajaphat Suan Dusit University’s Hua Hin campus has received a summons and been charged about a week ago. This is a case that appears to have been processed under the Yingluck Shinawatra government.

According to a comment at New Mandala, Suraphot “writes regularly for the Prachatai websites; his writing on political issues and especially on Buddhism and politics (he’s a specialist), appears at Prachatai almost every week, under both his real name and a well-known pseudonym ‘Nak Pratchaya Chai Khob’ (a philosophy at the margin).”

That account points out that the “current government had already pledged to the public and the UN that it would end indiscriminate, abusive use of LM of the past few years (for which it blamed the previous government).”