Bogus 112 case dropped

30 01 2021

A couple of days ago, Prachatai’s Facebook page reported that on 28 January 2021, the Nonthaburi Provincial Court dismiss a lese majeste charge against Nattathida “Waen” Meewangpla.

Her case was always a fake one, concocted by the military to cover up its murder of red shirts.

When she was arrested, Nattathida was a 36 year-old volunteer nurse, accused by the military junta of terrorism and lese majeste.

She was essentially abducted by the military some time in mid-March 2015 and was held incommunicado for six days. She was then charged with “terrorism,” and was later accused of lese majeste.

Internal Security Operation Command (ISOC) pressed the charges and said Nattathida copied a text that insulted the monarchy from one chat room and posted it in two other chat groups.

This charge was simply meant to get her jailed as quickly as possible. Her particular threat to the regime was that she is a witness to the murder of six individual at Wat Pathum Wanaram Temple by soldiers during the crackdown on red shirts on 19 May 2010.

The court dismissed her 112 charge for lack of evidence. It said the only evidence provided “was a picture of the messages, and the person who was talking to Natthathida does not know her.”

As had been the case with all of her court appearances, the court met in secret: “The Court did not let anyone into the room when the ruling was read but Natthathida, claiming that it is a Covid-19 prevention measure.”





Red shirts engaged in political struggle

15 08 2019

Khaosod reports that the Court of First Instance has acquitted 24 red shirt leaders of terrorism charges related to protests in 2010.

Most significantly, in its ruling, the Court “stated that the Redshirt leaders engaged in ‘a political struggle and not an act of terrorism’.” However, one of the defendants, Weng Tojirakarn, said that “the prosecutor will likely appeal the lower court’s decision.

In fact, it was state officials who have been found by several courts to be responsible for most of the murders that took place in April and May 2010. Independent reports tend to agree.

Those who ordered the bloody crackdowns in 2010 – Abhisit Vejjajiva and Suthep Thaugsuban – got off (but have been ruthlessly punished by voters) and their eager military accomplices murdered with impunity, led by General Prayuth Chan-ocha and General Anupong Paojinda.





Bombs

11 08 2016

The media report two sets of bombings in Thailand.

The first was in Trang where it appears that one person died and 5-6 other were injured. The explosion was “about 200 metres from the house of the provincial police chief and near the city hall, government office complex and office of the provincial election committee.”

Interestingly, Trang is somewhat outside the area of the south where separatist bombings have been most common. The authorities “said initial reports did not indicate links to prevailing violence in the three southern provinces of Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat.”

The second – said to be two separate explosions – was in Hua Hin. This is certainly a long way from the southern violence. Initial reports were of one dead and a dozen injured. In later reporting, the number injured was said to be from 15 to 23.

Media outlets and social media is alive with speculation. Some say the explosions are significant for being almost a year after the Erawan bombings, which targeted tourist spots in Bangkok. Others – and the military junta may jump at this – point the finger at opposition groups as the explosions follow the referendum on the military’s charter. Another line is that the bombings coincide with the queen’s birthday, and at least at Hua Hin, a royal base, the royals may be targeted. The junta might like this notion as well.

One thing is sure: these events will threaten tourism, not least because tourists appear to have been among the victims in Hua Hin.

No one has so far claimed responsibility.





A DSI accounting

18 07 2011

Prachatai has an important post, reproduced in full below, on the Department of Special Investigation’s political cases under investigation and completed:

The Department of Special Investigation has been investigating 258 cases involving protest rallies of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship and 29 cases of offences against the monarchy.

The 258 cases include 147 cases of terrorism and sabotage, 22 cases of threats made against the government, 69 cases of attacks against the public and authorities, and 20 cases of abuse of state weaponry.

One terrorist case, for example, involves 25 suspects including Thaksin Shinawatra, Arisman Pongruengrong, Karun Hosakul, Jatuporn Phrompan, Veera Musigapong, Weng Tojirakan, Natthawut Saikua, Kwanchai Sarakham, Phayab Pankate, and Nisit Sinthuprai. All except the first two have been arrested or have turned themselves in. The case was brought to court by the public prosecutor on 11 August 2010. The case against Maj Gen Khattiya Swasdiphol has been dismissed as he died.

Another terrorist case involves 8 suspects who have been arrested or have turned themselves in and 5 more who are still at large. The court has merged this with the previous case at the request of the public prosecutor.

Among these 258 cases, suspects have been arrested in 58 cases, are still at large in 21 cases, and are unknown in 179 cases. So far the DSI has completed investigations into 91 cases.

Among 62 cases of arson — 49 in Bangkok and 13 in other provinces — the DSI has arrested suspects and completed investigations in 14 cases, all of which have been brought to court by the public prosecutor.

64 cases of terrorism/sabotage — 53 in Bangkok and 11 in other provinces — involve 642 suspects; 274 have been arrested, 366 are still at large and two have died including Gen Khattiya and Samai Wongsuwan, who was killed in a bomb explosion in an apartment in Bang Bua Thong, Nontaburi in October 2010. Among those still at large, 74 have been identified while 292 are sought based on photographs.

In its investigation into 89 deaths, the DSI has concluded that 13 were caused by the authorities who claimed to be acting in the line of duty, 12 by the UDD and 64 unknown.

The 29 cases of offences against the monarchy include, for example, a case in which the Centre for the Resolution of the Emergency Situation lodged a complaint against Thaksin and 39 others for disseminating materials offensive to the monarchy either directly to the public or through the internet between 19 September 2006 and 3 May 2010 within and outside Thailand.

In this case, the DSI is now investigating the connections among individuals and groups of individuals based on evidence acquired through investigation process.

The DSI has been seeking international cooperation under the International Cooperation in Criminal Cases Act on cases involving Giles Ungphakorn for his article posted on the internet on 29 October 2009, Jakrapob Penkair for his public speech made in the US on 10 November 2007, and Thaksin Shinawatra for his statement in English distributed to international press (no specific date reported).

The department has contacted the AFP news agency for information and interrogation in the latter case.

Thaksin also faces another case involving his video-link address to a red-shirt rally at a Chiang Mai sports stadium on 22 March 2009.

Kokaew Pikulthong, a UDD leader, is involved in a case for his speech at the same event.

Surachai Danwatthananusorn, or Sae Dan, who has been arrested and detained without bail since 22 Feb this year for lèse majesté for a public speech during a red-shirt activity on 18 Dec 2010, faces another two cases involving speeches at Doi Saked, Chiang Mai, on 11 September 2010 and in Udon Thani on 29 October 2010.

Veera Musigapong’s case involves his speech at a UDD rally in Sanam Luang on 6 May 2008.

Jatuporn Phrompan, now on remand on terrorist charges, also faces another case for his remarks during a UDD rally at the Democracy Monument on 10 April this year.





Still locked up

27 06 2011

The Bangkok Post has this small report: “The Appeals Court on Monday upheld the Criminal Court’s decision to reject a request for the release on bail of Jatuporn Prompan and Nisit Sinthuprai, who have been charged with terrorism in connection with the April-May violence last year. The court ruled that the charges against the two are serious and they could disturb peace and order if released. Winyat Chartmontree, a lawyer for the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship, said he was preparing another request to the Criminal Court, seeking permission for Mr Jatuporn to be taken out of jail to vote on July 3.





Updated: Wichian Kaokham responds on lese majeste

18 04 2011

The Isaan Record has an interview with Wichian Kaokham, one of the red shirts accused of lese majeste in the latest, Army-driven, set of cases that use lese majeste as a political weapon against the opposition.

The report explains that the term that appears to have been used against Wichian, a Pueau Thai Party member of parliament, in the recent lese majeste case was first used in parliament last month. The phrase he used was: “Why the hell are you shouting for your father?” [โห่หาพ่อมึงเหรอ]. He used this when Democrat Party members were heckling him. The Isaan Record says this term “amounts to a commonplace, moderately offensive ‘Shut up’.”

Apparently, the term caught the imagination of many red shirts and they chanted it back to him when he was on stage at the red shirt rally on 10 April. The Isaan Record says: “Two days later, on April 12, Army Chief Prayuth Chan-ocha charged Mr. Wichian with lèse-majesté.”

Wichian claims to be unconcerned by the lese majeste charge: “I didn’t say anything against the royal family. What I said is the phrase from [the debate]…. I just repeated it without any innuendo.” He says the innuendo comes from his political enemies, adding: “I’ve been charged because members of the military along with [Privy Council President] Prem want to destroy me and Pheu Thai. They want the Democrat … [Party] to win the election.”

Royalist's scattered marbles

That seems a pretty reasonable summary of events of the past two weeks.

Update: The Nation lists the 18 red shirts being investigated for lese majeste and sedition. PPT thinks the royalist elite has lost its marbles. The 18 are: Weng Tojirakarn, Nattawut Saikua, Korkaew Pikulthong, Thida Tawornsate Tojirakarn, Karun Hosakul, Yoswaris Chuklom, Wiputhalaeng Pattanaphumthai, Veera Musigapong, Chinawat Haboonpat, Wichian Khaokham, Suporn Atthawong, Kwanchai Sarakham (Praiphana), Nisit Sinthuprai, Prasit Chaisisa, Worawut Wichaidit, Laddawan Wongsriwong, Jatuporn Promphan and Somchai Paiboon.

Incredibly, many of these red shirts now look like facing charges of terrorism, lese majeste and sedition.





Updated: Another Chamlong victory?

14 02 2011

The Bangkok Post reports that “Pol Lt Gen Somyot Phumphanmuang, an assistant police chief who headed a team investigating the seizure of Bangkok commercial airports by the PAD in 2008, yesterday told reporters he had resigned as the investigation leader.”

This announcement follows PAD leader Chamlong Srimuang’s filing of a “lawsuit with the Civil Court, demanding 220 million baht in compensation plus 7.5% annual interest from Pol Lt Gen Somyot for charging him with terrorism.”

Somyot says that he actually resigned on 11 February, before the Chamlong suit. Somyot stated that he “wrote in the letter that he had been under pressure from several groups since being appointed to head the investigation team. His involvement in the case had affected his family and close friends, and so he asked the police chief to find a replacement.”

Another victory for the grizzled, grinning old man and his PAD?

Update: The Bangkok Post reports that “police spokesman Prawut Thavornsiri announced that no replacement would be appointed  for assistant police chief Somyot Pumpanmuang, who has resigned as chief investigator handling the cases against the PAD, since the investigation has been completed.” The police claim that: “All that remains to be done is for police to forward their investigation report to the prosecutors for indictment…”.





Further updated: Government tactless at best

13 10 2010

Over the past few days PPT has been urging that caution – indeed skepticism – is a reasonable approach to the Abhisit Vejjajiva government’s claims regarding red shirts, explosions, “terrorists-in-training” and so on (see here, here, here and here).

Strikingly, it seems that the government has also seen some of the problems associated with motor-mouthed accusations being bandied about. Abhisit has said that “urged security officials to exercise caution while making public statements after Cambodia issued a strong statement denying it was sheltering and supporting weapons training for red shirts. He said ongoing investigations into the activities of the red shirts would continue but officials should not verify and imply any information that would hurt bilateral relations as the probes were not completely over.”

Meanwhile, the commander of the 2nd Army Region covering the area adjoining the Cambodian border “has slammed special investigators for a report claiming Thais received terrorist training in Cambodia. Thawatchai Samutsakhon said yesterday the Department of Special Investigation should have been more discreet and sought to avoid inflaming tensions between the two countries.”

Others are suggesting that the government is talking a lot but showing little evidence. As PPT has said, evidence based on proper investigation would be appropriate. The problem is that the current regime has politicized the investigators.

Update 1: Worth reading Hun Sen’s statements in this report. Abhisit appears to be backing away from the DSI claims, but this may be because of the international relations impact rather than any question on his part about his political police at DSI.

Update 2: It seems our suspicion about Abhisit (above in Update 1) was correct. In a Bangkok Post report, Abhisit “responded to Cambodia’s demand for Thailand to explain the report from the DSI that red shirt militants had received arms training in Cambodia.” He disingenuously claimed that “Thailand had not accused anyone and he did not need to clarify the issue with Phnom Penh. The DSI based its report on facts, although it should be careful of releasing information that concerns another country…”.





Updated: The Cambodians and red shirts

11 10 2010

The highly politicized Department of Special Investigation (DSI) has decided to push ahead on the very unlikely story related to the 11 men arrested/detained/protected or something else in Chiang Mai, who were at one time accused of undergoing weapons training (but weren’t) at a resort in the north. PPT posted on this “case” of alleged red shirt “freedom fighters” or “terrorists-in-training” earlier. Our skepticism (and that of others) was expressed there.

DSI now claims that an “investigation” had discovered that “39 Thai men” – we presume DSI checked their passports and IDs – “have been trained for arms use in Cambodia for a mission to assassinate this country’s key public figures including Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva.”DSI claims this was a second round of alleged training in Cambodia.

Given that DSI is very much a flunky agency for the Abhisit regime, continually making political cases and rapid-fire allegations, all this is a bit hard to believe, but the report is carried by MCOT, so is going to get attention.

Pol-Lt Col Payao Thongsen, chief of DSI investigators probing the terrorism charge-related activities, told a news conference that the 11 (arrested/detained/protected or something else) men were “suspected of involvement in a movement to destabilise national security and plan to kill the country’s very important persons as well as overthrow the monarchy…”. This mirrors statements made by Chiang Mai police a few days ago. He claims that “police … have … solid evidence such as phone call details between these people and Red Shirt DJs group in Cambodia…”.

Apparently the men were “well-trained in using firearms” after a full one week of training (see below). Interestingly, trained assassins sent to kill king and prime minister, are now “under witness protection scheme in exchange for useful information which could lead to an arrest of other accomplices.” The colonel also said that these nasties had “confessed to being members of the anti-government movement, the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), and … were recruited and taken by Red Shirt leaders to Cambodia for arms training.” After that shock announcement, the DSI “investigator” linked this group to “men-in-black.” As he mentions the April and May events, we might assume that these men-in-black are not the one’s who took over an airport car park recently, apparently supporting a “business arrangement” for government-aligned politicians. In any case, these men had not undergone the alleged training until after 19 May.

Payao claimed that it was “Red Shirt leaders in northern region, mainly Red Shirt disc jockeys at community radio stations” who organised the training in Cambodia. Red shirt leader Arisman Pongruangrong is also said to have been involved. The colonel says one “group convened in Bangkok, leaving Thailand by way of the Chong Jom border crossing in Surin province, the second group gathered at Nakhon Ratchasima and left Thailand via Chong Jom, and the last group met at Sa Kaeo and crossed to Cambodia…”. Linking this story to the Privy Council-linked alarmist claims released over the weekend, Payao said the 39 were “in a Cambodian army camp and they were trained by Cambodian soldiers.”

Payao claims that the first week of the alleged training “focused on political education but inciting anger and hatred on the monarchy while the second week was how to use military weapons and the third week was field operations training…”. He says that DSI found a “map of routes leading to [the] home of former deputy prime minister Suthep Thaugsuban who oversees national security had been used for the training of how to carry out the assassination plot and how to deal with his security guards…”. The targets for assassination also included Abhisit, Newin Chidchob and acting Police Inspector-General Pol Lt-Gen Somkid Boonthanom.

Colonel Payao said the “35 armed men arrived Thailand August 16 and then went separate ways before reuniting again in Phufa Resort in Chiang Mai in September to be standby for the operation as asked by UDD leaders in the northern region.” There is no indication where the other 24 associated with this alleged plot are now located, although the DSI G-men are on their trail, including in Cambodia.

PPT awaits the evidence that will no doubt be made available in the (presumably open) court cases. We are also keen to hear the Cambodian response.

Update: The Nation now has a brief story on this Payao press conference. Meanwhile, the Cambodian government has denied the claims. Cambodian government spokesman Phay Siphan stated: “It’s made up. Our constitution does not allow anyone to do that sort of thing [on Cambodian soil]…. Nobody is allowed to do any such stupid thing in Cambodia.” As might be expected, he also referred to “recent meetings between Prime Minister Hun Sen and Abhisit in the United States and Brussels were evidence of Cambodia’s good intentions to improve relations.” Phay added: “So I think this accusation is a made-up story to blame Cambodia, and is also [part of the] campaign against the red shirts, using Cambodia as a springboard for Thai local politics…”.





Red shirt leaders face lese majeste and terrorism charges

21 05 2010

The Bangkok Post (21 May 2010) reports that the 5 red shirt leaders detained at the Naresuan military camp in Phetburi province – not a police prison, of course – face charges that carry the death penalty.

Deputy commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Amnuay Nimmano said “that some of the charges are terrorism and lese majeste.” Terrosim charges can result ina  death penalty and lese majeste charges can lead to up to 15 years in prison. The police commander reported that the leaders were confined to “the same room because of the limited space.” The named leaders in custody are: Natthawut Saikua, Jatuporn Prompan and Kwanchai Praipana.

It was also revealed that some 40 protesters “who refused to leave the Ratchaprasong rally site as demanded by the authorities were also detained at the camp…”.

Just the beginning perhaps.