Updated: Going for broke

31 03 2021

The regime apparently thinks it is strong enough to go for broke on lese majeste and nail its prime target Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit. Given that it was actions against Thanathorn and the Future Forward Party more than a year ago that set off anti-regime protests, this move represents the regime’s victory lap.

ThanathornThanthorn has appeared before police to acknowledged the Article 112 charge filed by the regime.

Now chairman of the Progressive Movement, he “went to Nang Loeng Police Station in Bangkok on Tuesday morning to acknowledge the charge involving his Jan 18 Facebook Live criticising the government’s vaccine procurement plan.”

In speaking with reporters, Thanathorn said “he was confident he had not said anything that tarnished the institution and the clip was his effort to sincerely check the government.” He claims nothing he said contravened the Article 112.

Additionally, he faces “sedition and computer crime charges involving the clip.”

In reality, Thanathorn must be worried, even if the charge is fabricated. But fabricated lese majeste charges have been used to lock up and/or harass several others in the past. Who can forget the ludicrous 112 charge against Thanakorn Siripaiboon in 2015 for allegedly spreading “sarcastic” content via Facebook which was said to have mocked the then king’s dog. Thanakorn finally got off in early 2021, but had endured seven days of interrogation and physical assault at an Army camp and three months in prison.

Thanathorn is the main target of ultra-royalist hatred and fear, and they have been urging the regime to lock him up. They see him as the Svengali behind the anti-regime protesters and rising anti-monarchism, refusing to believe the protesters can think for themselves. The regime sees Thanathorn as a potent political threat. They have threatened and charged him with multiple offenses, disqualified him from parliament, dissolved the political party he formed, and brought charges against his family.

By targeting Thanathorn, the regime seems to believe that it is now positioned to defeat the protesters and to again crush anti-monarchism. But, it is a repression that remains a gamble.

Update: Rabid royalists are joining the regime in going after actress Inthira “Sai” Charoenpura and activist Pakorn Porncheewangkul “over donations they received in support of the protest movement.” They are “facing possible tax and anti-money laundering probes over their acceptance of public donations in support of the Ratsadon protests.” It is anti-democrat Watchara Phetthong, “a former Democrat Party MP,” who has “petitioned the Revenue Department and the Anti-Money Laundering Office (Amlo) asking them to investigate Ms Inthira and fellow activist Pakorn…”.





Dead dog lese majeste

17 01 2021

A few days ago, The Nation reported that, after more than five years, including seven days of interrogation and physical assault at an Army camp and three months held in prison, a court had finally dismissed the most ludicrous of lese-majeste charges that royalist Thailand has ever mounted. Along with equally mad sedition and computer crime charges associated with the Army’s corrupt Rajabhakti Park royal project, the Article 112 charges against Thanakorn Siripaiboon were all dismissed.

The lese majeste and computer crimes charges resulted from Thanakorn clicking “like” on a Facebook page featuring a satirical picture of King Bhumibol and for a Facebook post about that king’s mutt, Thong Daeng. It is reported that the “court dismissed that charge … ruling that the evidence was not proof that he intended to defame the monarchy.”

The court dismissed the other charges, “upholding Thanakorn’s legal right to air his suspicions of corruption. It also ruled he had not violated the Computer Crime Act because it could not be proved the information he shared was false.” According to a more detailed Prachatai report, the court ruled that “the Court said that a call for transparency in the project was not an act of sedition.

While good news, the court’s “reasoning” on the lese majeste case indicates that the judiciary remains royalist mad:

With regard to liking the problematic Facebook page, an act which put him under lèse-majesté and computer crime charges, the Court said that there was no “following button” on Facebook at the time, so a user had to click “like” to follow a Facebook page.

Clicking “like” to follow the news on a Facebook page in September 2015 was not the same as clicking “like” on an allegedly lèse majesté picture which was posted in December, so the Court acquitted him of the lèse majesté charge.

And since the defendant only followed the page, and did not share it, he did not spread any false information from the page. Facebook may have promoted any public post or pages randomly on anyone’s newsfeed, but it was not Thanakorn’s doing. So the Court also acquitted him of the computer crime charge.

Thanakorn has since ordained as a monk.





Hyper-royalism dogs Thailand

10 10 2019

As the king moves to embrace economic and political power not seen since the days of the absolute monarchy, hyper-royalism is again on the rise, stoked by the palace’s propaganda machine. Nowhere is this clearer than in the linking of the dead king and the new one. In its more bizarre forms, this draws on dead dogs as well.

Khaosod reports that the long dead palace bitch Thong Daeng, complete with royal title, described in the report as “iconic,” has been resurrected through artificial insemination. Yes, “scientists” are mimicking Dr Josef Mengele, they do work to please the higher ups. Of course, we are exaggerating somewhat, but the image is of scientists making their work fit the regime.

The the royalist sycophants at the “Faculty of Veterinary Science at Kasetsart University revealed Tuesday that eight grand-dogs of Khun Thong Daeng were birthed earlier this year via artificial insemination with frozen semen from two of her dead sons. All of the eight puppies are healthy, and have been bestowed royal names from … the King.”

Not Thong Daeng. Clipped from Bohemian.com

The article then establishes the “royal” family tree of the Thong Daeng line. And, we learn in breathless reporting, the whole business “was approved by King Rama X…”. Official pictures of the mutts were released.

The palace promised “[m]ore information about the eight dogs … for a public release at a later time…”.

Thong Daeng is described as “the most eminent pet of … the [deceased] King” and is claimed to be “held in high regard in Thai society.” Not bad for an old soi stray.

Royal dogs were little heard of except for King Vajiravudh’s favorite pooch which apparently deserved a statue. In recent years, they have been considered newsworthy as royal insanity has infected many royalists and others. We’ve seen dopey journalists eating cake with a princess’s yapper, the prince’s poodle promoted in the military and the king’s bitch made into a model dog and a model for the Thai people to somehow emulate.

But the point of all this sycophantic nonsense is to show how everything associated with the kings is fabulous, erasing their huge wealth and the fear associated with the palace. Royal dogging seems a bigger deal than any normal human being would have thought. Thong Daeng, Fu Fu and other royal pooches get more protection than any of those normal humans.

The report notes this fear by mentioning that in 2015, Facebook user and political activist Thanakorn Siripaiboon was charged with lese majeste for comments about Thong Daeng. The last we heard of this case was that, even though the lese majeste law only applied to a few palace humans, this case would be heard by a military court. Even dead royal mutts get the full support of Thailand’s (in)justice system.

It gets worse from here as neo-feudalism takes hold and throttles the country.





Suppressing information on lese majeste trials

24 10 2018

Our second post on information missed earlier is from Thai Lawyers for Human Rights and is about a Military Court’s direction to suppress publication of witness testimonies and court dockets in the case against lese majeste detainee Thanakorn:

The Bangkok Military Court has conducted a hearing on a probable case against Anon Nampa, an attorney on 3 October 2018 at 13.30. It stemmed from the publication of evidence given by the prosecution witness, Maj Gen Wijarn Jodtaeng, in the case against Mr. Thanakorn (last name withheld) who was accused of sharing Rajabhakti corruption diagram and clicking ‘like’– deemed offensive to a royally adopted dog. The Court also ordered Anon Nampa to inform the Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) to have the information removed from the published article “Military official, who reported the case against a person for sharing Rajabhakti corruption diagram and clicking ‘like’– deemed offensive to a dog, actually did not know how to use Facebook, but he insisted that by just clicking ‘like’ on a page offensive to the monarchy is in itself the commission of royal defamation” (http://www.tlhr2014.com/th/?p=8950). The article to be removed by the Court’s order has been published on TLHR’s website. The Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) who is not a party in this case, would like to take this opportunity to explain to the public as follows;

1. The Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) has been providing legal and litigation assistance to vulnerable people whose rights have been affected by the exercise of the state power as a result of the coup in 2014, including cases concerning the freedom of expression and cases of civilians who are prosecuted in the Military Courts.

According to the statistics collected by the Judge Advocate General’s Department, from 25 May 2014 to 30 June 2018, civilians have been indicted with the Military Court in over 1,723 cases and at least 281 cases are pending the review. TLHR has been assisting in 58 cases in which the civilians stand trial in the Military Court, of which 12 cases have been “secretly” conducted by the court’s order. Furthermore, the Military Court also prohibited any observer from recording the court proceeding. Recently, the Military Court banned a public dissemination of dockets in two cases, namely, the case concerning a call for election on 24 September 2018, and the case against Mr. Thanakorn on 3 October 2018.

2. According to Section 30 of the Civil Procedure Code, “The Court shall have power to give to any party or any third person present in the Court such directions as it may deem necessary for the maintenance of order within the precincts of the Court and for the fair and speedy carrying out of the trial.” Nonetheless, the latest direction to suppress the public dissemination of the docket in this case is unrelated to the maintenance of order within the precincts of the Court. Besides, the dissemination of the docket shall not affect the justice to be served in the case. Thus, it cannot be deemed a violation to the Section 30 of the Civil Procedure Code.

3. A public trial is one of the core elements to ensure the right to the fair trial according to the Article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). As a state party to the Convention, Thailand is obliged to implement its provisions. According to the principle, a person is entitled to a fair and public trial. The public trial does not only involve those in the court room, but it must be open and accessible to every individual.

Moreover, the public trial can ensure the transparency of the justice process and can guarantee the rights and the freedoms of the people. Therefore, apart from being important in itself, the public trial is an entitlement– necessary to ensure other elements that constitute a fair trial and to build trust in the justice process among the public.

4. TLHR has been reporting details of every hearing that the Court did not order the trial to be conducted secretly and suppressed the dissemination of the docket. The information has derived from a summary of evidence given in the Court and from the trial observation.

The publication of contents summarized from the witness testimonies is not tantamount to the publication of the court documents. After all, such publication has been granted a consent by the defendants. This is to ensure transparency in the justice process, particularly the trial of civilians in the Military Court, where the defendants are supposed to enjoy less safeguards that protect their right to fair trial, compared to trials in the Court of Justice.

Therefore, the dissemination of information concerning the court proceeding does not only affect the trial, but also helps gracing the image of the Military Court itself. It is a better alternative than ordering the hearing to be secretly conducted and the suppression of the docket dissemination.

TLHR is determined to provide legal assistance to civilians tried in the Military Court and to inform the public of related information. This is to ensure the transparency and the safeguard of the right to the fair trial amidst the extreme deterioration of democracy and the rule of law.

With respect in people’s rights and liberties

Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR)





Dead king, dead dog, lese majeste case goes on

28 06 2017

Thanakorn Siripaiboon was arrested at his house in Samut Prakan Province on 8 December 2015. He was arrested by military and police officers who invoked Article 44 of the then Interim Constitution which gives The Dictator absolute authority to maintain national security. He was accused and then charged with violating the lese majeste law by spreading “sarcastic” content via Facebook which allegedly mocked Thong Daeng, the royal dog.

Both the king and the dog are now deceased.

In one of the most bizarre lese majeste cases ever heard in an increasingly bizarre royalist Thailand, Thanakorn, who has been on bail, sought to have his case heard in a civilian court.

But as Prachatai reports, his appeal was rejected and the “Court Jurisdiction Committee has decided that a lèse majesté suspect accused of mocking the late King’s favourite dog will be tried in a military court.”

He also faces charge under the Computer Crimes Act.

In a separate case, he has been indicted under the sedition law, for posting an infographic on the Rajabhakti Park corruption scandal on Facebook.





More on dog lese majeste

1 12 2016

With a new king meant to be in place on Friday, the lese majeste case involving the now dead king’s now dead dog raises the issue of whether the now dead Fu Fu is now on “sacred ground” too.

In arguably the most bizarre of the many lese majeste cases in recent years, Thanakorn Siripaiboon was arrested on 8 December 2015 by military and police officers. He was accused and has been charged with violating the lese majeste law by spreading “sarcastic” content via Facebook which allegedly mocked Thong Daeng, once the royal dog, favored by the late king.Thong Daeng

A provincial court is reported to have concluded that Bangkok’s military court has the jurisdiction to try the case.

On 29 November 2016, Bangkok’s Military Court of Bangkok held a deposition hearing on the case, reading “a statement from Samut Prakan Provincial Court, which concluded that the jurisdiction to try Thanakorn belongs to the military court according to the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO)’s[that’s the military junta] announcement No. 37/2014.”

This means that mocking the dead king’s pet pooch is considered a crime involving national security.

Bizarre.

Thanakorn also faces charges under the Computer Crimes Act for the alleged lese majeste post and another, unrelated sedition charge for having posted an infographic on the Rajabhakti Park corruption scandal on Facebook.

There remains some different view between the provincial and military courts over the details of the lese majeste case. That still has to be sorted out.

Meanwhile, Thanakorn remains on bail and lives as a monk.





Political crackdowns and witch hunts

13 05 2016

Back in March, when the military junta announced a “crackdown” on “dark influences” or “influential persons,” PPT listed six reasons for being worried. The fifth reason was:

“dark influences” can be defined in political terms, and the military dictatorship will certainly use the “crackdown” to weaken political opponents. As General Prayuth Chan-ocha explained: “These people could support politicians in the future, and we cannot allow them to break the law and attack the people; we should solve the political crisis to make our country more safe…”.

This is exactly what has happened.

Yesterday’s raids by scores of soldiers were almost exclusively targeted at the political rivals of the military-royalist regime. The Bangkok Post described the raids as being “part of the government’s crackdown on mafia-type figures.” It added that “[a]uthorities insisted the raids were in line with the regime’s order authorising nationwide action against people wielding ‘dark influence’.” Most of the “evidence” seized through illegal searches was political paraphernalia and computers, which will now be used to seek lese majeste, sedition or computer crimes charges. In such cases, the planting of evidence has been seen in the past. Trumped-up charges have so far been laid.

As well, the thugs raiding the houses destroyed evidence about the raids. Rather than raiding the mafia, this seems like the mafia doing the raids.

The political nature of the raids and the lack of attention to “influential figures” is seen in two other arrests associated with the raids. Sombat Thongyoi, a cameraman associated with red shirts, and dog lese majeste victim Thanakorn Siripaiboon.

These are political arrests, following Prayuth’s script.





Dogs and boats

9 03 2016

In something of a surprise, a military court has “granted bail to a factory worker accused of of lèse majesté for mocking the King’s dog.”

After denying two previous bail requests, Thanakorn Siripaiboon was granted bail on 8 March 2016. Bail was set at half a million baht.

In another story, this one at Khaosod, a singer-comedian has been “fined and forced to apologize to the public today for allegedly desecrating a monument to … the King’s sailboat in a since-deleted music video filmed in Pattaya.”

The monument is of a boat that is sometimes used by children to learn to sail.

For using the “royal monument” in a music video, “Padung Songsaeng was charged with causing a public nuisance, which carries a maximum penalty of 10,000 baht.” He was also forced to pay homage to the “monument on Pattaya Beach, which is dedicated to King Bhumibol’s favorite sailboat.”

Royalist ridiculousness knows no bounds and can only get worse as the king’s death approaches.





Dogged by lese majeste

1 03 2016

Lawyer Anon Nampa is trying to save the military dictatorship from even more ridicule, domestically and internationally.

According to a report at Prachatai, on Monday, Anon submitted a letter to the military Judge Advocate General’s Office,pointing out that the lese majeste charge being considered against his client Thanakorn Siripaiboon is ludicrous, lacking in legal merit even under the draconian Article 112 and likely to make Thailand even more of a legal pariah than it already is.

Thanakorn, a factory worker, stands accused of lese majeste for allegedly “mocking” the now dead mongrel dog that belonged to the king. The case is pushed by “military prosecutors” who seem willfully to ignore what Article 112 actually says.

Anon quite rightly points out that the lese majeste law simply “does not cover the King’s dog.”

Thanakorn is accused under Article 112 of “clicking ‘like’ and posting or sharing a message mocking Thong Daeng,” the king’s dog. He is also accused of clicking ‘like’ on a “doctored image of the King and sharing it with hundreds of others online.”

Thanakorn is also accused of sedition “for posting an infographic on the Rajabhakti Park [military] corruption scandal on Facebook.”

Anon accuses the plaintiff – military prosecutors – of “intentionally used Article 112 as a political tool to deal with political dissidents,” and adds that this use of “disproportionate offences” is itself unlawful.

We doubt the politically motivated prosecutors, acting on the orders of the military junta, will suddenly suffer an attack of good sense and legal probity.

Sadly, Thanakorn remains in custody, almost four months after his arrest, repeatedly denied bail requests.





The bitch is dead, lese majeste madness prevails

13 02 2016

PPT’s record of lese majeste cases is not always as complete as it should be. Although we try to keep up, we are hampered by inconsistent reporting, although, again, we have to give great credit to Prachatai, which does try to follow the cases and to iLaw, which tries to document them. Governments pursuing lese majeste cases don’t always advertise this and some cases are heard in secret. Cases in provincial courts seldom get mentioned.

So we are unsure if we have an accurate recording of lese majeste cases that have involved Thong Daeng, the now dead bitch that was the aged king’s favorite mutt, and which was added into the mix of ludicrous royalist adulation of the monarch and which the king decided to boost with the nonsensical notion that the royal fleabag should be some kind of model for the citizenry.

Our list of lese majeste cases involving the now deceased dog is three. Khaosod mentioned a case against Bundith Arniya who it states was convicted for “writing allegorically about a dog the court deemed a reference to Tong Daeng intended to defame the king.” There was also a report of businessman Praphat Darasawang for defaming the king on Facebook when he disagreed on Facebook with the king’s comparison of his dog to people. We have no further news on either case.

And, of course, there is the case of Thanakorn Siripaiboon who has been accused and will likely be charged with violating the lese majeste law by spreading “sarcastic” content via Facebook which allegedly mocked Thong Daeng while the royal tailwagger.

Prosecutors stated that on 6 December 2015 Thanakorn copied three images from Twitter and spread it on his Facebook page. The royalist bloodhounds said the images contained “sarcastic” content about the royal mongrel.

Thanakorn also faces another charge of lese majeste for clicking “Like” on a doctored image of the king on Facebook and a charge of sedition for sharing an infographic detailing alleged corruption behind the construction of the scandal-plagued Rajabhakti/Corruption Park.

Prachatai reports that a military court “has again denied bail to a lèse majesté suspect accused of mocking the King’s dog while the suspect’s defence lawyer maintains that the case does not fall under the lèse majesté law.”

Of course, no dead dog is covered by the law. But under the military dictatorship and under the royalist judiciary – military or otherwise – any interpretation of the law is possible for dead kings, ancient kings, dynasties and pet pooches. The result of this interpretation – and we use the term loosely because the law is actually very clear – is not only political but it is nonsensical and crosses the line into psychosis, where judges and those standing behind them have lost touch with reality and exhibit personality changes and thought disorder based on their perception that they are protecting the monarchy. Hence the courts and those promoting the use of lese majeste exhibit bizarre behavior, and experience difficulty with social interactions (say, with the media).

Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) report that on 11 February 2016, the military court denied bail and, for a sixth time, extended Thanakorn’s pre-trial detention. The police say they haven’t finished their investigations and are “now gathering forensic computer evidence…”.

Thanakorn’s lawyer made several representations: “that prolonging the detention of the suspect violates human rights since the accusations against Thanakorn are disproportionate to his actions and the investigation of the case is taking too long;” that he should not have been charged under Article 112 as the law is clear that no dead dog is covered by it; and that  Thanakorn “should not have been charged under Article 116, the sedition law, for posting an infographic on the Rajabhakti park corruption scandal.”

As is expected in these increasingly bizarre lese majeste cases, the military court dismissed all representations.

Thanakorn was taken into custody at his house in Samut Prakan Province on 8 December 2015. Military and police officers invoked Article 44 on national security to enable them to arrest him, a completely unnecessary ruse when it comes to the lawlessness that prevails in lese majeste cases.