Freedom of Expression Updates: February 2015

ช่วงเวลา

Period

1 –28 ก.พ. 2558

1 – 28 Feb 2015

22 พ.ค. 2557 – 28 ก.พ.2558

22 May 2014 -  28 Feb 2015

คนที่ถูกประกาศเรียกทั้งหมด
Number of individuals summoned    

25

690

คนที่ถูกจับกุมทั้งหมด
Number of individuals arrested 

25

399

ผู้ถูกจับกุมจากการชุมนุมโดยสงบ
Arrests at peaceful demonstrations

12

146

 

จำนวนบุคคลที่ถูกดำเนินคดีหลังถูกเรียกหรือถูกจับกุม
Number of individuals facing criminal prosecution after summoned/arrested

142 คน

ขึ้นศาลทหาร
Before the military court

101 คน

ขึ้นศาลพลเรือน
Before the civilian court

44 คน

บุคคลที่ถูกดำเนินคดีด้วยข้อหาหมิ่นประมาทกษัตริย์ฯ (ม.112)
Individuals under investigation for lese majeste crime (section 112)

47 คน

Note: The numbers above are as much as iLaw is able to collect and verify. There could be more people being arrested/prosecuted and are not documented here.  

์Note: Please note that most of the reference link apart from iLaw's database were all in Thai        

 
Lèse majesté cases under the Article 112 of the Criminal Code: 8 more arrested 
 
 
From 1 - 28 February 2015, at least 8 individuals have been arrested under Lèse majesté for excercising the Right to Freedom of Expression. The arrests were made against two groups of individuals. 
 
6 individuals including Hassadin aka Banpodj, Saifon, "Saichol" and other three who asked not to be name were accused to be part of Banpodj Network.  
 
Other 2 individuals including Nirand and Krit aka "Ness" were accused to dissemminate a forged statement of the Bureau of Royal Household. Currently, both were released on bail.
 
 
6 More Arrested for Being Part of Banpodj Network  
 
In January 2015, 6 individuals had been arrested and were accused to be part of Banpodj Network. 6 more including Hassadin aka Banpodj were arrested in February with the same accusation. Banpodj was accused to produced about 400 sound clips where content deemed to be Lèse majesté.       
 
From January to late February, there were at least 12 individuals who had been accused to involved with Banpodj network and were arrested. 
 
7 February 2015
 
The inquiry officers requested the Bangkok Military Court to issued pre-trial detention order against Saifon and "Saichol". Saifon was accused to open a bank account where anyone can donated the money for the network to run its activities. "Saichol" was accused of getting hired to distribute Banpodj 's audio CDs for the Network. 
 
11 February 2015 
 
At the Royal Thai Police Head Quater, the police handed Hassadin aka Banpodj who was accused of producing and publicizing audio clips that deemed to be Lèse majesté to the inquiry officers from the Technology Crime Suppression Division (TCSD) for pressing the charge.  
 
20 February 2015
 
The source reported that the TCSD officers brought 3 individual including 2 females and 1 male who asked not to be named to the Bangkok Military Court to request for pre-trial detention order.
      
Currently, these 6 individuals were remanded in custody. 
 
 
2 arrested for the dissemination of forged statement
 
The evening of 2 February saw the online distribution of a forged statement claimed to have been issued by the Bureau of the Royal Household through social media causing misunderstanding in public. 
 
The authorities have promptly looked for the source of the statement, their investigation has led to the arrests of two alleged offenders including Nirand, the then webmaster of the ASTV website and Krit aka "Ness", a former assistant to the Chairperson of the United Front of Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD) Phetchabun, who was accused of intending to spread the forged statement as he was among the first to share it on his facebook.
 
3 February 2015 
 
Nirand went to meet the inquiry officer to give his explanation regarding the dissemination of the forged statement in the website. After the website found the statement unauthentic, they took it down promptly and made an apologetic announcement about the mistake. 
 
4 February 2015  
 
The Military officers took Krit or "Nes", a musician and a former assistant of the UDD’s Chairperson Phetchabun who was suspected to be one among the first to share the statement to the Royal Thai Police Headquater for the interrogation.
 
Pol.Gen. Somyot Pumphanmuang, National Police Chief, who made the intorogated in this case by himself stated that "Nes" admitted to being a poster of the statement on his own facebook with an intention to keep his friends informed. Nes’s facebook has more than 4,000 friends. 
 
6 February 2015
 
Pol.Lt.Gen. Prawuth Thawornsiri, Royal Thai Police’s Spokesperson twitted that the TCSD inquiry officer has applied for an arrest warrant against the webmaster and the distributor of the forged statement in the ASTV website already.  
 
The officers brought Nairand and "Ness" to the Bangkok Military Court  to request for pre-trial detention orders on 10 February. Nirand's lawyer request the court to release Nirand on bail. The court granted the request given that Nirand has turned himself in to the officer and shown no intent to flee.  
 
As for "Ness", no bail was initially applied since he could not afford to secure any money on 10 February. Later, on 13 February, he request the court to release him on bail placing 400,000 Baht as deposit. The court dismissed his request given that the inquiry officer in his case did not show up, the court could not ask for further information. The court then have to remand him as it afriad that he might flight.  “Nes" request for bail once again on 17 February with the same amount of deposit, the court approved his request this time.   
 
 
The Article 112 still applied to the false claim cases continuously 
 
In February, at least 5 individuals have been accused of Lèse majesté for making a false claim.
 
3 February 2015
 
The Crime Suppression Division officers arrested Ekachai aka “F” who is related to Pol.Lt.Gen. Pongpat Chayapan, a high ranking police officer who accused for committing fraud and lèse majesté offences and had been detained since 4 February 2015. 
 
The arrest was made as Bantherng Nemeesaen has reported to the police on 2 February that Ekachai claimed to have connections with the royalty and was able to help his son who was arrested with drug charges. In return, Ekachai asked for money in the sum of 1.3 million Baht. However, he failed to deliver what he had promised and refused to return the money. 
 
5 February 2015
 
Savita Maneechan, an officer of Mah Fah Luang Foundation filed a complaint to the police against Apiruj and Wanthanee Suwadee, parrant of Milady Srirasmi Suwadee, the former consort of the Crown Prince for forcing other person to file a false accusation to the police which might caused damage to another person, forcing other person to file a false accusation to the police by knowing that no criminal offence has been committed with an intent to maliciously cause any person to be punnish and for Lèse majesté.        
 
According to Savita, in 2003, Wanthanee claimed that she had sexual relationship with Apiruj and forced her uncle to press charge against he on fraud causing her to be sentenced to 24 months in jail which was then reduced to 18 months later. After her jail term compleated, she could not apply for any job due to her criminal record.  
 
Savita insisted that the accusation was false, but she had to confess to the charge fearing the influence of the Suwadee family. The mistreatment did not just impact her, her family had to move out from the Ratchaburi Province. On 27 February 2015 Officer from the Crime Suppression Division brought Apiruj and Wanthanee Suwadee to the Criminal Court to request the court to issue a pre-trial detention order. Both request the court to release them on bail with the deposit in the sum of 1,000,000 Baht each. The Court dismissed their request as it afriad that both might leave thre Kingdom.  
 
20 February 2015
 
The police arrested Setthewuth Pengdit, brother of Tharit Pendit, former Director General of the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) under Lèse Majesté. He was accused to false claim his connection with the royalties to lure the villagers in Pak Chong District, Nakhon Ratchasima to sell their land to Boontham Boonthepprathan aka “Pah Chuen” who claimed to know Pol Lt Gen Pongpat Chayaphan. "Pah Chuen" was also wanted by the police.  
 
27 February 2015
 
Officer from the Crime Suppression Division brought "Pah Chuen" to the Criminal Court to request the court to issue a pre-trial detention order. The officer also made an objection should "Pah Chuen" request the court to release him on bail as it afriad of flight. 
 
 
Updates on other lèse majesté cases in February
 
9 February 2015
 
Jaruwan's case, The military prosecutor did not file the charge to the court within 84 days of the pre-trial detention period, the correction department then need to release Jaruwan and other two accused.
 
Jaruwan and other accused were released on 10 February. Altogether, they were detained for 85 days, 1 day more than what is allowed according to the law.  
 
10 February 2015
 
Samak's case, the Chiang Rai Military Court proceeded with the examination of the second witness for the prosecution, Worawit Srikham, deputy village headman where Samak lives.  
 
He testified to the court that he received a phone call informing him that someone was dismantling the portrait of the King. He then went to the scene and reported the incident to the police. At the scene, he found the accused.
 
The defense lawyer questioned the witness regarding his mental problem. Worawit testified that Samak used to receive mental treatment. Worawit also testified that Samak once set fire on his own car and another time pounded his own house. 
 
23 February 2015
 
The Wolf Bride case, the Criminal Court read its verdict on the case and abruptly changed the schedule from 1.30 PM to 9.30 AM without informing both the lawyer and relatives of both defendants in advance.
 
The verdict was read at 11.20. In brief, both were found guilty under the Article 112 of the Criminal Code for performing in a theatrical play deemed offensive to the King. They were sentenced to five years in prison each. As both pleaded guilty, their sentence was reduced to 2 years and 6 months without suspension.  
 
 
Freedom of expression under Martial Law: Summoning for attitude adjustment, interference with public events and public discussions continue unabated 
 
 
Summoning individuals for attitude adjustment
 
From 1-28 February, at least 25 individuals were summoned by the military for a talk.  
 
3 February 2015
 
Pianrat Boonrit, Chairperson of the Southern Peasant Federation (SPF), a core member for those demanding the right to use the land after its lease contracts for palm plantation have ended, was invited by the military for attitude adjustment at the Wipawadee Camp, Surat Thani for three days claiming the need for peace and reconciliation in local area.  
 
Later on 28 February 2015, during a meeting of the Southern Peasant Federation, five military officers came in to the meeting place and wrote down names of 28 participants. The military claimed that the participants have failed to act in accordant with its warning, not to enter in to the area. In addition, the military threaten that if the villagers have failed to vacate from the area, they shall be summoned for attitude adjustment and might have to face the charges.  
 
3 February 2015
 
Ruengkrai Leekitwattana, a member of legal team of the Phuethai Party was brought to the military camp by the military personals in the evening. His  intimate rerevealed to the press that the security agencies were unhappy that he sent a letter to Patrick Murphy, the US Chargé d'affaires in Thailand to update the situation in Thailand, particularly on the impeachment against Yingluck Shinawatra.  
 
12 February 2015
 
About 60 officers including the military personals and local administrative officers including the District Chief Officer, Chief Executive of the Subdistrict Administrative Organization and officers from the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment, raided a public land in Khoke Nong Sim, Roi-Et Province 
 
The authorities told the villagers to sign an agreement at the Phone Thong TAO Subdistrict Administrative Organization Office within Friday 13 February to promise that they would leave the area. If the villagers failed to do so, the authorities will move them out.     . 
 
One monk was also arresteded and was threatened to defrock if he dared to return to his temple.  
 
Apart from the summoning of individuals for attitude adjustment or for setting forth different conditions to them, the military and security agencies have also employed a more lenient approach like invite individuals for a talk and a lunch.  
 
7 February 2015
 
Maj. Uthai Chaichana, Deputy Commander of the 33rd Military Circle, Kawila Military Camp invited over a dozen of core members of the Chiang Mai Red Shirt for a meeting and talk plus a lunch. The two hour meeting took place at the Lanna Golf Course, Chiang Mai, under the project to strengthen the social reform. 
 
25 February 2015
 
Five journalist from VoiceTV including Chuwat Rerksirisuk, Virote Ali, Teerat Ratanasevi, Lakkana Panwichai and Pannikar Wanich were invited for a talk with the military officers for two hours at the Signal Department, the Royal Thai Army.  
 
 
The Interference of public events 
 
7 February 2015
 
It was reported since 6 February that the military has asked for cooperation to call off political parade held annually as part of the Thammasat-Chulalongkorn University football competition. During the match day, the military asked to inspect the parade props of the Thammasat University's student and seized a few banners before being shown in the stadium.  
 
14 February 2015
 
The Resistant Citizen group organized a symbolic event “My Dear Election” in front of the Bangkok Art & Culture Centre. Two companies of the police and other plaint clothe police were deployed around the area. The police closely monitored the event and randomly asked participants to present their ID cards and took photos of some of them. The event has proceeded as planned.  
 
After the event, four activists were held in custody at the Pathumwan Police Station in the evening of 14 February and then charged for defying the NCPO Order no. 7/2557 which prohibits a political gather of 5 individuals and upward. After a protracted negotiation, four accused were allowed to return home around 3.00 AM of 15 February.
 
It is likely that all accused will face the charge in the Military Court.
 
21 February 2015
 
Pru Odochao, a member of one civil society group in the Northern Region was invited for a talk by the military for over 2 hours after organizing an event to light up candles for the Constitution and submitting their proposals to the President of the National Reform Council at the Three King Monument, Chiang Mai. While being held, his bag was subjected to a search and his mobile phone was seized.  
 
22 February 2015
 
The Seree Chon Thailand 58 organized a symbolic activity "the bird got tied up in mouth and legs" and distributed T-shirts with a screen "Seree Chon Thailand 58” at the Victory Monument. A company of male police and fifteen female police officers plus fifteen military officers in uniform and plain clothe were monitoring the event.  
 
As the group prepared to read its statement, the plain clothe police brought Akkharakit Noonchan along with other three in to a police box near by. They were later brought to an unknow location by the police truck for interrogation and for attitude adjustment for over 4 hours. They were then fine in the sum of 100 Baht each for caused a disturbance.   
  
 
The Interference with public discussions 
 
1 February 2015
 
Santi Prachatham Library organized a public discussion “People’ rights and liberties under the Cyber Security Bills” at its library in Suan Ngern Mee Ma. The military officers who came to the talk asked to speak as one of the speekers. Though the event was not stopped, but the military took part as a speaker and took photos and video of throughout the event.  
 
22 February 2015
 
Santi Prachatham Library organized a public discussion  "Tracing the path of democratization" (Wang Luang Rebels)". This time, the organizers were asked to write to the military to ask for permission to hold this event. They allowed the talk to take place, though they also videotaped the whole event.  
24 February 2015
 
Kridakorn Silarak, Coordinator of the People Movement For a Just Society (P-move), has reported himself to the Deputy Governor of Ubon Ratchathani in charge of security affairs and local security agencies at the Provincial Hall of Ubon Ratchathani. He was summoned to explain about the forthcoming commemoration to mark the two decades of Pak Mun movement to be held in March. He believes the authorities would allow the event to proceed with numbers of restriction.  
 
27 February 2015
 
The military intervened the preparation of the public discussion "Political reform for beauty, prosperity and justice" to be held at the Faculty of Police Science, Ubon Ratchathani University asking to have one speaker change and the alteration of the event poster as well as asking for a slot to be given to a member of the National Legislative Assembly to speak at the event. 
  
Updates on other freedom of expression cases: Libel against infamous TV hosts and violation of Computer Crime Act case and libel against an activist on migrant labour rights 
 
2 February 2015
 
The Bangkok South Criminal Court continued to proceed with a pretrial hearing on the Computer Crime + Defamation case against Andy Hall. Today, the defense lawyer proceed with a cross-examined on a witness for the prosecution Kachin Komneeyawanich, Vice President of the Natural Fruit. The examination of this witness was not completed pending re-examination by the plaintiff. The next hearing scheduled on 16 March 2015.
 
27 February 2015
 
Dakanda Sonpraset, a fundraiser of the campaign “To Be For Cancer”, filed a Criminal Defamation charge at the Criminal Court against Sorrayuth Suthassanachinda and Pornchita Na Songkhla, hosts of the TV programe “Ruang Lao Chao Nee”. 
 
Both were accused to claiming that Dakanda had invoked the name of other celebrity, Panadda Wongphudee, to raise funds including 3.4 million baht for the National Cancer Institute Foundation, though the Foundation had never received the money.  
 
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