The police have detained a key witness of the 2010 military crackdown and another suspect in the Criminal Court bombing immediately after a military court released them on bail. On 24 July 2017, the Military Court of Bangkok released on bail Nattatida Meewangpla, Nares Intharasopa, Wasana Buddee, and Nuttapat Onming, suspects in the 2015 Criminal Court bombing.
Human rights lawyers are arguing that suspects accused of defaming Princess Sirindhorn should not be indicted under the lèse majesté law. According to Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR), from 18 July until December, the Provincial Court of Kamphaeng Phet will try four suspects charged with violating Article 112 of the Criminal Code, the lèse majesté law.
The military has detained at a military base a senior activist who has campaigned against the lèse majesté law. Kimpiew Saetang told Prachatai that at 6 am on 2 July 2017 about 10 soldiers arrested Charoenchai Saetang, his 60-year-old brother, at his home in Dao Khanong Subdistrict of Bangkok, and took him to the 11th Military Circle in Bangkok. He reported that the soldiers did not present any arrest warrant, but cited their absolute authority under Section 44 of the Interim Constitution. They also confiscated the mobile phones of the two brothers and Charoenchai’s laptop.
A provincial court has for the 10th time refused to release Jatuphat ‘Pai Dao Din’ Boonpattararaksa, a well-known anti-junta activist detained for royal defamation. On 30 June 2017, the Khon Kaen Provincial Court denied granting bail valued at 700,000 baht to Jatuphat, a law student and key member of the New Democracy Movement (NDM).
The Criminal Court has for the sixth time refused to release a human rights lawyer facing up to 50 years in prison for royal defamation and sedition. On 26 June 2017, the Bangkok Criminal Court renewed the pre-trial detention period for Prawais Prapanugool, a human rights lawyer accused of violating Articles 112 and 116 of the Criminal Code, the lèse majesté law and the sedition law.
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.