Reviving 112 cases

4 01 2021

Thai Alliance for Human Rights reports on a disturbing development in the avalanche of lese majeste cases.

On September 22 of 2020, after attending a mass protest at Sanam Luang, Mr. Issaret, age 45, was arrested and prosecuted on an old lese majesty charge from 2016. He believes he was the first person prosecuted for lese majesty in 2020, this after a semi-official break from new lese majesty cases in 2018 and 2019. He was held in jail 4 days and released on bail.

The original charge relates to a Facebook post that pointed “out an unconstitutional delay in the succession from King Bhumipol to King Vajiralongkorn:

“Please don’t lie anymore. Open [things] up so the citizens can know. What are those [horrible] guys bargaining together about? I suggest all you bananaheads of this beautiful world [the phrase rhymes in Thai] study the Constitution sections 23 and 24 . Clear your brains. So why haven’t they announced the 10th monarch yet? Politics is a matter for all the citizens, every one of them, not excluding the trash collectors. Don’t be stupid. It’s been over 24 hours. They haven’t appointed a king because there is a fight for the throne.”

Whether Issaret was right or wrong – we happen to think the latter – is not the point. Clearly a 112 charge for this post is ludicrous.

A laborer, Issaret reportedly “briefly fled to Laos because of the charge in 2016, and says he knew the other lese majesty refugee there, including one who would later be assassinated, as well as all the members of Faiyen band. He says life was very difficult for all the refugees.”

He returned to Thailand when lese majeste charges were no longer being laid. Now, the situation has changed. But, as far as we can tell, his case is the first one from the past to be reactivated.





Erasing a concubine

8 01 2020

While doing a bit of catching up and on the topic of erasing, the fate of the king’s favorite and then dumped concubine should get some attention, not least because there’s been all kinds of rumors about Sineenat Wongvajirapakdi.

A quick refresher on the dumping:

It seems that now he’s king, Vajiralongkorn’s nastier actions can be more easily covered-up, when compared with his three earlier bust-ups. As such, there’s been nothing in the media about Sineenat since she was thrown out of the palace. About the only English-language reporting we can find is at the Thai Alliance for Human Rights, which seems comprehensively blocked in Thailand.

The most recent of these posts is dated 26 November 2019. It is a Facebook post from 22 November and translated by Ann Norman. It states:

More News on King Vajiralonkorn’s Abuse of His Former Concubine Goy and Her Relatives

รายงานข่าวการรื้อบ้านคนดังที่ท่าวังผา ต่อจากรายงานครั้งที่แล้วเมื่อ 5พย.62
News report on the demolition of the home of the star[let] at Tha Wang Pha [King Vajiralongkorn’s ex-Royal Consort Goy] since the last report on the 5th of November 2019

สถานการณ์บริเวณรอบๆบ้านสีเหลือง3ชั้น หลังงามที่อ.ท่าวังผา จ.น่าน ยังตึงเครียด ตัวบ้านวันนี้ถูกรื้อเรียบร้อยแล้ว (รูปที่1 คือรปเดิมขณะถูกรื้อ) แต่ขณะนี้ใครก็เข้าไปถ่ายรูปไม่ได้ เพราะมีแผงเหล็กกั้นถนนทุกแยกที่จะเข้าถึงตัวบ้าน (ตามรูปที่2-6 คือรูปปัจจุบันที่ได้ใหม่เป็นภาพบริเวณรอบบ้าน) พร้อมมีทหารและตำรวจสันติบาล อยู่เวรยามควบคุม (ห้ามรถวิ่งผ่านหรือเดินเข้าไปถ่ายรูปตัวบ้านและเจ้าหน้าที่ที่ยืนเฝ้า)
The situation at the perimeter of the beautiful yellow three-storied house at Amper Tha Wang Pa, Naan Province, still is tense/serious. The house today has been now been demolished; it is completed. The first picture is from before, but at this time no one can get to it to take a picture because there is a iron stand protecting the road at each road that approaches the house (as in pictures 2-6 that are current new pictures of the area surrounding the house) as well as soldiers and security police taking turns controlling the area (they forbid cars to pass or for anyone to walk by and take pictures of the house or the officers guarding it.)

ข้าวของในบ้านที่รื้อถูกนำไปเก็บไว้ที่ค่ายทหาร ม.พัน15
The things in the house that was demolished have been taken for storage at a military camp.

ผู้อาศัยในบ้านหลังงามต้องหลบไปอยู่กระท่อมกลางนา เพราะไม่กล้าไปพักกับเพื่อนบ้านเนื่องจากผู้ให้ที่พักกลัวจะเดือดร้อนจากเจ้าหน้าที่ ส่วนน้องสาวคนดัง ที่ชื่อ ก.ไก่เหมือนกัน ขณะนี้ยังไม่แน่ชัดว่าถูกจับ พร้อมพี่สาว หรือว่าอยู่ที่ใหน …จะได้ติดตามรายงานข่าวให้ทราบต่อไป ( ขอขอบคุณนักข่าวพลเมืองในพื้นที่ส่งข้อมูลให้)
The people living in the beautiful house had get out of the way and go live in a little hut in the center of a field. Because they didn’t dare go live with neighbors, as those neighbors were afraid the officers would cause them distress. As for the younger sister of the star[let], also named “G.” [I thought Goy’s younger sister was named “ณัฐพร อุ่นพรม Nattaporn Umprom” but she probably has a nickname], at this time it isn’t clear whether she was captured at the same time as her older sister or where she is. I will keep following this news.

It is generally accepted that Sineenat is imprisoned somewhere in Thailand – various prisons have been mentioned – but the rumors of a week or so ago that she had died or been killed have not been given much credence. Still, as Sineenat has been completely wiped from the public record and because Thailand is so hopelessly censored, self-censored and people are frightened of the erratic and grasping king, no one can officially have any knowledge of this young woman’s fate.





Where’s Burin Intin?

25 10 2019

The Thai Alliance for Human Rights website has posted three parts of an article by Ann Norman. These posts follow the case of Burin Intin, who was arrested, convicted and sentenced to 11 years and 4 months in prison on dubious lese majeste charges. He remains in jail and thes posts ask why.

What happened to Burin Intin? Part 1: His lese majesty case in light of the attacks on Ja New

What Happened to Burin Intin, Part 2: Some Clues from the Songs of Resistant Citizen

What Happened to Burin Inten? Part 3: Why is He Still in Jail after a String of Royal Pardons?





Updated: Targeting anti-monarchists

11 08 2019

A few days ago AFP reported (and here too) on the travails of the anti-monarchist, anti-junta and pro-democracy band Faiyen, living in self-exile in Laos. As is well-known, most of the other high-profile anti-monarchists who were in Laos have fled, been forcibly disappeared or murdered.

 

Clipped from Thai Alliance for Human Rights website

Because of this, the band members live in fear and regularly receive threats. “Taking turns to keep watch at their hideout in Laos … ‘Faiyen’ believe they are on a hit-list like eight fellow dissidents who have already disappeared.” Singer Yammy states: “There’s not a single night that we can sleep. A dog’s howl gives us the chills…”.

She adds: “All the firebrand activists have gone, disappeared…. We are the last targets.”

For a time, Faiyen members could stream their political commentary and music: “We could say what we want … but then the hunting started…”. A tearful Yammy worried: “There might be no tomorrow…”. The group “now fear time is running out for them … and are seeking asylum in a European country.”

While Thailand’s royalists and regime will cheer the success of the murders and disappearances – in quieting anti-monarchism – let’s hope that a country with real laws and protection for human rights decides to receive them.

Helpfully, in following Faiyen’s situation, the Thai Alliance for Human Rights has a List of English-language articles on the Faiyen Band during the #SaveFaiyen Campaign. While at that site, it is also worth reading the spine-chilling account of the enforced disappearance in 1954 of Haji Sulong and its resonance with the torture, murder and disappearance of anti-monarchy activists in Laos.

Update: Thankfully, the band members are now in France.





More on assaults

6 06 2019

The Thai Alliance for Human Rights has a couple of posts well worth reading.

The first provides a detailed account of the 2 June attack on Sirawith Seritiwat. Read on down and there’s an interesting account of another activist being threatened:

… another activist Parit Chiwarak, a student at Thammasat University, who goes by the nickname Penguin, said he that he had previously been warned by an important person that both he and Ja New [Sirawith] would be attacked.

The details are worth reading before moving to the second post, which continues the story of the threats against Parit. But what’s different is that one of those doing the threatening appears to have outed himself. In a story taken up by various newspapers, Uthai Yodmanee is reported as threatening Parit.

One reason for taking the threat seriously is because Uthai is a rightist thug. He was a leader of the neo-fascist Network of Students and People for the Reform of Thailand (see here, here, here, here, here and here). While he claims that someone else has used his Twitter account, his track record is of an extremist and his pedigree suggests he’s capable of organizing such attacks.

Uthai is close to Suthep Thaugsuban and stood for his Action Coalition for Thailand.





Assassinations of red shirts who fled

19 02 2019

The Thai Alliance for Human Rights has produced a compilation of articles on the assassinations and the plight of the Thai refugees in Laos. We thought it useful and worth getting to a wider audience, so reproduce it as it is at their website:

The first set were written by the Thai Alliance as a whole or by individual members of the Thai Alliance during a period of high alert for the dissidents in exile. We were in fear that the dissidents, especially Ma Noi (Ko Tee), were being hunted. These references are here to illustrate that we at the Thai Alliance believed that the dissidents were being hunted and were in grave danger about 4 months BEFORE the disappearance of Ma Noi.

“TAHR Statement on the 9 Suspects Held in Relation to Weapons that Exiled Broadcaster Ko Tee Says Were Planted at His House,” by Thai Alliance for Human Rights, March 21, 2017, http://tahr-global.org/?p=32252

“In Defense of Ma Noy and the Core Leaders of the Organization for Thai Federation,” [in Thai and English] by a member of the Thai Alliance for Human Rights, at Thai Alliance for Human Rights website, March 24, 2017. http://tahr-global.org/?p=32265

“Last Voice of Democracy,” by Red Eagle, posted at Thai Alliance for Human Rights, March 31, 2017, http://tahr-global.org/?m=201703

“Meet My Friends in Exile: เราคือเพื่อนกัน” by Ann Norman at Thai Alliance for Human Rights website, April, 2, 2017, http://tahr-global.org/?p=32293

Here is the one reference in English I can find about the disappearance of Ittipol Sukapan (DJ Zunho), whose disappearance/assassination did not get much coverage in English:

“Recollections of Itthipol Sukpan (DJ Zunho) Who Was Disappeared; Almost One Year Later Still no News” by Red Eagle, posted by admin on Thai Alliance Facebook group page, May 24, 2017: https://www.facebook.com/groups/thaiahr/permalink/1329416870506696/

Here are references in English on the disappearance/assassination of Ma Noi or Ko Tee (real name Wutthipong Kochathammakum)

“Further Updated: Ko Tee disappeared?” Political Prisoners in Thailand, July 31, 2017, https://thaipoliticalprisoners.wordpress.com/2017/07/31/ko-tee-disappeared/

“Thai Monarchy Critic in Exile Reportedly ‘Disappeared,’ Junta Denies Knowledge,” by Pravit Rojanaphruk, KaoSod English, July 31, 2017. http://www.khaosodenglish.com/news/crimecourtscalamity/crime-crime/2017/07/31/thai-monarchy-critic-exile-reportedly-disappeared-junta-denies-knowledge/

“Statement on the Abduction and Possible Assassination of Ko Tee or Ma Noi,” Thai Alliance for Human Rights, August 1, 2017. http://tahr-global.org/?p=32547

“Laos/Thailand: Investigate Abduction of Exiled Red Shirt Activist: Armed Men Kidnap Wuthipong Kachamakul in Vientiane,” by Human Rights Watch, August 1, 2017. https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/08/01/laos/thailand-investigate-abduction-exiled-red-shirt-activist

“More on Thai dissident Ma Noi or Ko Tee, who was disappeared on July 29, 2017,” by Ann Norman, at Thai Alliance for Human Rights website, August 2, 2017. http://tahr-global.org/?p=32557

“English Translation of Evidence in the Case of Ma Noi (Ko Tee): He Predicted His Death,” August 29, 2017. August 29, 2017. http://tahr-global.org/?p=32605

Kidnapping in Thailand of the wife and son of dissident in exile Sanam Luang (Sanam Luang at one time worked with Surachai). In retrospect, we realized this kidnapping overlapped in time with the disappearance of Surachai, Gasalong, and Puchana, and is thus relevant:

“ALERT: Wife and Son of International Dissident “Sanam Luang” Kidnapped in Thailand,” by the Thai Alliance for Human Rights published as a “Note” at the Facebook page, December 12, 2018, https://www.facebook.com/notes/thai-alliance-for-human-rights-tahr/alert-wife-and-son-of-international-dissident-sanam-luang-kidnapped-in-thailand/512446922569423/

References relating to the assassinations of Surachai, Gasalong, and Puchana, memorials to the five assassinated dissidents, and the plight of the remaining Thai refugees in Laos.

“Translated letter from wife of Kidnapped dissident Surachai Saedan” December 25, Letter by Ba Noi translated by Ann Norman, at Thai Alliance for Human rights website, December 25, 2018. http://tahr-global.org/?p=32809

“Surachai and Refugee Friends Disappear from Home, wife begs those with power to spare their lives” Prachatai, December 27, 2018. https://prachatai.com/english/node/7854

“Opinion: Fear and Foreboding in Laos” by Pravit Rojanaphruk of KaoSod English, December 29, 2018, http://www.khaosodenglish.com/opinion/2018/12/29/opinion-fear-and-foreboding-in-laos/

“DNA confirms one of the Mekhong bodies as disappeared activist,” Prachatai, January 21, 2019. https://prachatai.com/english/node/7885

“Thai police says bodies from river were missing activists,” Associated Press, January 22, 2019. http://www.startribune.com/thai-police-says-bodies-from-river-were-missing-activists/504688152/

“Photos Suggest Third Mekong Corpse Was Found, Then Lost,” Pravit Rojanaphruk, KaoSod English, January 22, 2019. http://www.khaosodenglish.com/news/crimecourtscalamity/calamity/2019/01/22/photos-suggest-third-mekong-corpse-was-found-then-lost/?

“Laos: Investigate Disappearance of 3 Thai Dissidents: Battered Corpses in Mekong River Identified as Missing Activitsts,” Human Rights Watch, January 22, 2019 https://www.hrw.org/news/2019/01/22/laos-investigate-disappearance-3-thai-dissidents

Video clip posted on Facebook by Jom Petchpradab in which Surachai’s wife explains why she has given up hope. Janurary 25, 2019, It is entirely in Thai, but could be translated: https://www.facebook.com/jom.petchpradab/videos/pcb.10156866118368965/10156866114138965/?type=3&theater

Picture of the body believed to be Surachai Saedan, posted on Facebook (but not taken by) Jom Petchpradab, January 25: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10156866113548965&set=pcb.10156866118368965&type=3&theater

“What do Thailand and Saudi Arabia have in common: Answer: the brutal killing of dissidents in exile,” by Ann Norman, Washington Post, January 30, 2019. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/01/30/what-do-thailand-saudi-arabia-have-common/

“It’s time we listened to the plight of Thai dissidents abroad: The gruesome deaths of two anti-royalist Thai activists should be a wake up call for the international community,” by Claudio Sopranzetti, Al Jazeera, January 31, 2019. https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/time-listened-plight-thai-dissidents-190130124839715.html

Video clip of one group of activists lead by Siriwit Seritiwat (Ja New) singing “Duan Pen” in Thailand at a memorial for the 5 assassinated dissidents, Facebook Live on the page of Anon Nampa, February 2 [in Thai, could easily be translated]: https://www.facebook.com/100000942179021/videos/2493720380669343/

“Demonstration at Ratchaprasong in memory of the disappeared dissidents,” Prachatai, February 3, 2019. https://prachatai.com/english/category/surachai-saedan

“แถลงการณ์ หยุดทำร้ายนักกิจกรรม Statement: Stop Harming the Activists!” statement in Thai by Anurak Jeantawanich (signing as Ford Sentangseedaeng) with English translation (by Ann Norman), at Thai Alliance for Human Rights website, February 3, 2019. http://tahr-global.org/?p=32820

“Why we can NOT go to a third country,” by Thanthawut Taweewarodomkul, Prachatai, February 5, 2019. https://prachatai.com/english/node/7914

“Thaïlande : le crime de lèse-majesté pourchassé jusqu’au Laos,” by Pierre Touré, in Liberation, [In FRENCH]. February 14, 2019 https://www.liberation.fr/planete/2019/02/14/thailande-le-crime-de-lese-majeste-pourchasse-jusqu-au-laos_1709434?fbclid=IwAR01yaAZ29zQ0d1kjYWsBYjUJPw3rPQVkogOou_kXvVopT14nUjWDkLAlKM
English translation of Liberation article available at: https://www.facebook.com/zenjournalist/posts/10156629021066154?__tn__=K-R

For more information contact Ann Norman of the Thai Alliance for Human Rights at ann.norman@tahr-global.org





Murderous monarchists VII

1 02 2019

Two recent op-eds on the grisly discoveries of the bodies of tortured, disemboweled and murdered activists deserve wide attention.

One is by Ann Norman at the Washington Post. The author is a member and former director of the Thai Alliance for Human Rights.

She refers to the “disappearance of … three Thai political refugees in Laos” in December, bringing the total disappearances “to five in three years.” These three were among the “40 to 50 active dissidents (and some 200 altogether) living in Laos.”

She notes that the “disappeared” Surachai Danwattananusorn “was one of many regime critics in exile producing YouTube shows skewering the military dictatorship of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha …[and] the corrupt and oppressive Thai monarchy.”

The op-ed reveals that Surachai and his two comrades disappeared around the time Gen Prayuth made a visit to Laos, when “Lao officials told all the exiles to hide before the arrival of Prayuth…. Rumors flew that Prayuth might be bringing a death squad targeting ‘lèse majesté suspects’…”. In Surachai’s case, he “had told his wife there was a $300,000 price on his head.”

Norman compares Surachai’s case to that of Wuthipong Kachathamakul:

[He] … was kidnapped and presumably assassinated in Laos on July 29, 2017, just one day after the birthday of the new Thai king. The rumor among the Thai dissidents was that Wuthipong’s murder was King Vajiralongkorn’s present to himself. Wuthipong was tied up and tasered, and the last words heard from him were “I can’t breathe” – eerily reminiscent of Jamal Khashoggi, whose recent assassination by a Saudi hit squad shocked the world. Wuthipong had complained on his YouTube show that he was being “hunted by the king’s servants.”

She mentions another case that has not received wide media coverage:

One year earlier, on June 22, 2016, yet another anti-monarchist in Laos, Itthipol Sukpan, a 28-year-old pro-democracy broadcaster known as DJ Zunho, was snatched from his motorcycle by unknown assailants and pulled into the woods, leaving behind just one shoe. He was never seen again. Everyone, including his family, believes he is dead.

Her conclusion is as bleak as it is frightening: “It is no longer plausible that these are random killings.”

In the second op-ed, academic Claudio Sopranzetti writes for Al Jazeera.Aon the same grisly topic, also referring to a “pattern of disappearances.” He suggests that “a Thai death squad [is] operating abroad…”.

The similarities in the disappearances of so many with anti-royal profiles is no set of accidents:

All five disappeared activists were adamant anti-monarchists, wanted in their homeland on charges of lese majesty. All five of them were refused refugee status in Europe, Japan, and Australia, despite continuous attempts. And all five refused to remain silent and used social media to amplify and disseminate their dissent from outside Thailand.

Sopranzetti observes that there are “[m]any other activists with similar profiles … still in Laos and Cambodia, [and] abandoned by an international community that refuses to see them as persons at risk…”.

Exiled Thai political activists believe that “these extrajudicial killings are replacing the use of lese majesty in this new royal regime.” He cites one of them who argues that:

Lese-majesty cases have been attracting too much attention, both internally and internationally…. Instead of arresting us, killing us may be a better way to stop us from talking about regime change, republic, and freedom of speech.

Sopranzetti asks: “How many more of them[bodies of exiles] will need to pile up before we start paying attention?”





More on the king’s personal prison

2 07 2017

Not that long ago we posted on Pavin Chachavalpongpun’s article in the Japan Times where he wrote of  a small prison established in King Vajiralongkorn’s Dhaveevatthana Palace. He said it was used to “lock up those betraying the trust of the new … king…”. He had some details.

We also noted the response by Thailand’s ambassador in Japan, saying little more than “we object.”

Interestingly, there is now a response to the ambassador’s letter,headlined, “Thai prison is real, should be shut down.” We reproduce it in full with the hyperlinks:

In his letter to The Japan Times in the June 11 edition, Thai Ambassador Bansarn Bunnag accused Pavin Chachavalpongpun of making unsubstantiated claims when he reported that there is a temporary prison on the grounds of the Daveevattana (Thavi Wattana) Palace of Thailand’s King Vajiralongkorn, a prison that inmates describe as “hell on Earth.” The prison is real, and our organization has already translated the public documents authorizing this prison into English and paired it with a Google Earth map, so both Thai- and English-speaking people can know the shocking facts. You can see the evidence at tahr-global.org/?p=32209. [PPT guesses that following the link or reposting it might constitute lese majeste.]

The Thai Alliance for Human Rights has been concerned about this prison since we learned of its existence at the beginning of March, when Jumpol Manmai, who had been a close aid to the king, first disappeared, then reappeared, and was taken from court back to this prison.

So the prison exists. The only remaining mystery is what all goes on there. Having a secret prison that cannot be visited by the public, at the home of a king who is above the law, is a recipe for rampant human rights abuses, including enforced disappearance, torture and even murder. Indeed, Chachavalpongpun lists the names of three men who died there under suspicious circumstances.

If the rumors of rampant human rights abuses are false, the king can put them to rest by inviting an international human rights organization such as Amnesty International to visit the temporary prison. If they are true, the Thai government should close this shadowy prison and take away Vajiralongkorn’s power to persecute people on a whim.

The Thai ambassador also claimed that Thailand respects freedom of opinion and expression, when in fact Thailand’s barbaric lese majeste law prescribes three to 15 years in jail for anyone saying anything negative about this king, and Chachavalpongpun has been exiled simply for doing his job as a political scientist. If only Thailand did have free speech, ongoing human rights abuses could be brought to light and future abuses prevented.

Ann Norman, Executive Director, Thai Alliance for Human Rights, Pittsburgh





Transnational vigilantism for the monarchy

29 10 2016

The military regime has recently appeared attention-seeking, if contradictory, on political exiles and others writing or social media posting on the monarchy in ways that are different from the hagiographic syrup and fairy tales served up in Thailand.

Fascist ultra-royalists have been hard at work, egged on by the military junta’s unending search for those who think differently within Thailand.

As we noted in our first post on Major General Rienthong Nah-nah and his so-called Rubbish Collection Organisation, these fascist vigilantes have a long historical heritage of military backing and funding to do some of the military’s dirty work. Rienthong’s group emerged prior to the 2014 military coup and was meant to inject royalist venom into the anti-democrat movement. Its fascist gang of thugs was another means to threaten and repress those with different political positions. At the time, Major-General Rienthong, a director at the Mongkutwattana General Hospital and a medical doctor, said his thugs “will work to find and hurt those who insult the monarchy.” He declared his group was established “exterminate … people who insult the monarchy.”.

These fascist ultra-royalists have been very active through social media, calling on like-minded Thais overseas to hunt down and harass and use violence against anti-royalists to silence them.

There have been several recent cases of these vigilantes showing up at the homes of their victims seeking to intimidate them. They also target victims with social media campaigns that also intimidate and threaten.

The latest victim is a Thai living in Sydney, Australia. ABC News reports that Somsak Rachso “has been sacked from his restaurant job after being targeted by an ultra-royalist group known as the Rubbish Collection Organisation (RSO).”

The fascist ultra-royalists accuse him “of insulting the Thai monarchy” but the report says “it is unclear exactly what sparked the campaign against him.”

The Fuhrer of the RSO called on “Thai people there [in Australia] — don’t associate with him, don’t give him or his family a job…”.

The resulting online harassment saw Somsak “fired from his part-time job at Siam Cuisine Thai Restaurant in Penrith, for fear of attracting vigilante attacks.” It seems some Thais in Australia are willing to break the law for the fascist pride it gives them to “protect” feudal notions of a monarchy.

Somsak is said to be a red shirt supporter and associated with a small Australian organization of the Thai Alliance for Human Rights. He is also reported to repost material that critically assesses the monarchy on his Facebook page (now removed).

Somsak says the campaign launched by  by Fuhrer Rientong – he calls him a “criminal gangster” – has brought pressure for him “to stop any movement or fight with undemocratic Thailand which is ruled by dictatorship and military…”.

He notes the obvious: his group and his commentary do not violate any Australian law. In fact, those intimidating him are law breakers.

It seems royalist Thais are unable to adapt to the laws of democratic nations or the culture of freedom of expression.





Bombs, red shirts, martial law and torture

19 03 2015

PPT has held off posting on the recent arrest of persons allegedly involved in an incident where a grenade was lobbed into a car park at the Bangkok Criminal Court on 7 March 2015. We held off because, as is often the case under the military dictatorship, the information released appears politically compromised, partial and the details of the case/s contradictory and suspicious. We made similar comments when the police made statements about bombs at Siam Paragon. It has also been a developing story, and our account does not include even a proportion of the material available.

Bomb networkAs much as we’d like to support a movement against the junta, the story the junta and the police are weaving is anything but believable. As seems usual in such cases, the police have a network diagram, which we reproduce here. The previous claims about networks have all proven unfounded and were concocted by military and military-backed regimes for political gain, smearing opponents.

Not coincidentally, along with the bombers’ plot, pinned to red shirts, the military has “discovered” a small cache of weapons, mostly BB guns, in a temple they claim linked to red shirts in the northeast (although, the temple is actually in Saraburi…, but, hey, this is “military intelligence” at work). The really big “evidence” seems to be a pin with Thaksin Shinawatra’s image on it. This sounds like yet another arranged discovery meant to link red shirts to political activism against the military dictatorship. We simply find it impossible to believe a military with a huge record of deception, lies, murder and concoction of “evidence.” We wish there was an organized movement against the military dictatorship.

For PPT, the plot had a whiff of fish from the beginning, which according to the police and military, goes back to the Siam Paragon case. It got even whiffier when The Bangkok Post reported that the military junta was using the “plot” to seek the extradition of Manoon Chaichana (we know him as Anek Chaichana) said to be a lese majeste suspect, from the United States “as he also faces an arrest warrant for his alleged involvement in the grenade attack at the Criminal Court.”

The junta has been trying to extradite lese majeste suspects who have fled the country, but with no success. This is mainly because those other jurisdictions do not recognize the feudal lese majeste law. So tying Manoon to a bombing case seemed rather convenient. Defense Minister General Prawit Wongsuwan said the junta “would seek the cooperation of the country where the suspect lives.”

The cops say Manoon “gave financial support for the grenade attack…”. They also mentioned his leadership of the Thai Alliance for Human Rightsand linked the suspects to it. The Thai Alliance for Human Rights was formed in San Francisco in October 2014. The Alliance includes both Anek and Chupong Thithuan, both accused of lese majeste, in multiple cases. The police accuse this group of attempting to “raise public panic.” There are said to be 14 in the group.

One of the early reports on the arrest of the suspects in Thailand also caused us to think of fish. The military claimed to have a tip-off that there was to be an attack on the Court and soldiers lay in wait for the suspects to arrive and throw a grenade into a pretty much vacant car late at night, seemingly not trying to cause any damage. They were promptly arrested after a brief shoot out. Even if the military did have “intelligence,” and they rarely do, this bomb plot seems entirely different from that at Siam Paragon, which was conducted during the day with many people around. The similarity is that neither seemed designed to kill.

Then things got even more smelly when Nattathida Meewangpla was suddenly abducted by the military, who denied it was them, and then produced her – a witness to military crimes – as a suspect in the “bombing plot.” In the Bangkok Post it was reported that police said that “Nattatida was in the same group of people accused of attempting to hire others to launch grenade attacks at five locations in Bangkok last month. Targets included the 11th Infantry Regiment, Lumpini Park, the Chatuchak MRT station, the Criminal Court and the parking lot of the Siam Kempinski Hotel near Bangkok’s Siam Paragon shopping mall.”

Finally, the Thai Lawyers for Human Rights claim that some of the suspects have been tortured (see the press release below).

Abduction, torture, lese majeste, police and military. That’s quite a combination. And, it all allows for the maintenance of martial law.

Press Release

Investigation of alleged torture against suspects of the Criminal Court Bomb urged, Martial Law must be lifted

For immediate release on 17 March 2015TLHR

          A bomb exploded inside the compound of the Bangkok Criminal Court on 7 March 2015 and nine suspects have been arrested so far. Today, 17 March 2015, the Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) has received complaints from four of the suspects in this case including Mr. Sansern Sriounruen, Mr. Chanwit Chariyanukul, Mr. Norapat Luephon and Mr. Wichai Yusuk. It was alleged in the complaints that the four suspects had been subjected to torture including being hit, punched, booted in their head, chest, back and threatened with an assault in order to extract information from them. In addition, some suspects were electrocuted leaving visible traces on their skin while being held in custody invoking Martial Law during 9-15 March 2015.

          TLHR is gravely concerned about the use of Martial Law to hold a person in custody and to prevent the person from communicating with his or her relatives and lawyers during the seven days. Previous detentions invoking Martial Law since the coup have taken place in undisclosed facilities and were conducted without transparency and accountability. The latest case of its kind of the detention of Ms. Nutthathida Meewangpla which was made known later that she had been subjected to military custody. The deprivation of liberty of a person invoking Martial Law may give rise to arbitrary exercise of power, torture and ill treatment, and enforced disappearance. Torture inflicted on a person while being held in custody is considered a gross human rights abuse and is a breach to obligations regarding the UN Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (UNCAT) to which Thailand is a state party and was obliged to follow since 1 November 2007.

          TLHR demands the following from concerned agencies;

          1. The National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) must bring to a halt the invocation of Martial Law to suppress any criminal act since the police are already able to invoke their power as per the Criminal Procedure Code to effectively apply for arrest warrants and to investigate the case.

          2. The Department of Corrections which supervises detention facilities must ensure access to independent and impartial physicians of the four suspects. They along with other suspects in the same case should have access to physical and mental examination so as to create a guarantee against any possibility of being subjected to torture and ill treatment during the time Martial Law is imposed.

          3. The Royal Thai Police must conduct an investigation and collect evidence related to the abuses committed against the four suspects and to bring to justice the perpetrators.

With respect of people’s rights and liberties

Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR)








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