The Commission on Jurisdiction of Courts has decided that a lèse majesté suspect accused of mocking the late King’s favourite dog will be tried in a military court. On 26 June 2017, the Military Court of Bangkok read the verdict of the Commission on Jurisdiction of Courts on the case against Thanakorn S., a 27-year-old man from Samut Prakan Province.
A military court has postponed sentencing an elderly lèse majesté suspect who faces up to 50 years in prison after the suspect recanted his not guilty plea and confessed. At about 10 am on 26 June 2017, the Military Court of Bangkok postponed the sentencing of Tara W., a 59-year-old seller of Thai traditional medicine accused of violating Article 112 of the Criminal Code, the lèse majesté law, after he pleaded guilty. The hearing has been postponed to 9 August 2017.
Supporters of well-known anti-junta activist Jatuphat ‘Pai Dao Din’ Boonpattararaksa gathered to demand his release after half a year in detention for sharing a news article deemed defamatory to the monarchy. To mark the six months in prison of Jatuphat, a law student and key member of the New Democracy Movement (NDM), at least a dozen of people gathered at 6 pm on 22 June 2017 on the skywalk at Ratchaprasong Intersection, Bangkok, to demand his release. About 20 police officers in uniform and plain clothes closely monitored the event, but did not disrupt it.
A national park official has accused the owner of an elephant camp of making lèse majesté comments at a press briefing about missing elephants. On 15 June 2017, Chaiwat Limlikhitaksorn, former superintendent of Kaeng Krachan National Park, filed a complaint under Article 112 of the Criminal Code, the lèse majesté law, against Laithongrian M., owner of an elephant camp in Ayutthaya Province.
We are very concerned by the rise in the number of lèse majesté prosecutions in Thailand since 2014 and the severity of the sentencing, including a 35-year jail term handed down last Friday against one individual. A Thai military court found Wichai Thepwong guilty of posting 10 photos, videos and comments on Facebook deemed defamatory of the royal family. He was sentenced to 70 years in jail, but the sentence was reduced to 35 years after he confessed to the charges.
A military court has handed a 35-year jail term to a man accused of creating a copycat Facebook profile and posting lèse majesté messages on it to take revenge on his friend. The previous longest sentence for lèse majesté was 30 years (reduced from 60) which was passed on Phongsak S. on 7 August 2015 by the Bangkok Military Court for comments he posted on Facebook.
The Supreme Court has handed a two years and six months jail term to an elderly anti-establishment red shirt accused of defaming the monarchy by uploading lèse majesté audio clips. On 9 June 2017, the Supreme Court confirmed the Appeal Court verdict, sentencing Chaleaw J., a 58-year-old tailor from the northeastern province of Chaiyaphum, to five years’ imprisonment
Three years after the last coup d’état, human rights lawyers have argued that the junta could not hold power without the support of the country’s judicial institutions. Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) on 27 May 2017 released a report about the relationship between the military government and judicial institutions.
Note: On 29 April, a university professor was arrested as part of a sweep of six individuals accused of committing lèse majesté by posting to Facebook. He has been denied bail, as most are in these cases. Last week, Yukti Mukdawijitra, an anthropology professor at Thammasat University went to visit him. What follows are his reflections on their conversation, which was first published in Thai in his usual blog column for Prachatai.—trans.
The authorities have reportedly spent 28.4 million baht on a computer programme that targets viewers of lèse majesté content. BBC Thai reported on 23 May 2017 that the Technology Crime Suppression Division (TCSD) spent the money to procure a social network data analysis programme.