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.
An embattled anti-junta activist ‘Pai Dao Din’ has received a prestigious Gwangju Prize for Human Rights while attending a trial at a military court. On 22 May 2017, Jatuphat ‘Pai’ Boonpattararaksa, a law student and key member of the New Democracy Movement (NDM), was taken to the Military Court of Khon Kaen Province for attending a trial.
Human rights lawyers have condemned the arrest and detention of the four latest lèse majesté suspects, including a 14-year-old. Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) on 20 May 2017 issued a statement on the arrest of Chirayu, Rathathamanun, Akharaphong (surnames withheld due to privacy concerns), and a 14-year-old in Khon Kaen on 19 May. According to the police, the four were arrested for allegedly burning an arch erected in honour of the late King Bhumibol in Chonnabot District of Khon Kaen on 15 May.
The Criminal Court has refused to release on bail a human rights lawyer facing up to 50 years in prison for royal defamation and sedition. The Criminal Court on Ratchadaphisek Rd., Bangkok, on 11 May 2017, renewed the detention period for Prawet Praphanukul, a human rights lawyer accused of violating Articles 112 and 116 of the Criminal Code, the lèse majesté law and the sedition law.
The Army Cyber Centre (ACC) claims to have taken down 435 websites committing lèse majesté since October last year, when King Bhumibol passed away.
The Criminal Court has detained a 53-year-old Facebook user accused of lèse majesté after he was arrested by the military and held for six days in a military base. On 11 May 2017, the Criminal Court on Ratchadaphisek Rd., Bangkok, remanded in custody Ekarit (surname withheld due to privacy concerns), a 53-year-old man accused of violating Article 112 of the Criminal Code, the lèse majesté law.
The Criminal Court has refused to release a lecturer arrested for sharing a Facebook post written by an academic blacklisted by the junta, despite the defendant promising almost one million baht as surety for bail. On 9 May 2017, the Criminal Court on Ratchadaphisek Rd., Bangkok, denied a bail request with a 927,000 baht surety for a university lecturer who requested anonymity accused of violating Article 112 of the Criminal Code, lèse majesté law.
A provincial court has once again refused to release Pai Dao Din, making it impossible for the activist to attend a human rights award ceremony in South Korea. On 8 May 2017, the Provincial Court of Khon Kaen denied a bail request with 700,000 baht surety for Jatuphat ‘Pai’ Boonpattararaksa, a law student and key member of the New Democracy Movement (NDM).
The number of individuals arrested on lèse-majesté charges since the May 2014 military coup has passed the 100 mark, FIDH and its member organizations Union for Civil Liberty (UCL) and Internet Law Reform Dialogue (iLaw) said today. “In less than three years, the military junta has generated a surge in the number of political prisoners detained under lèse-majesté by abusing a draconian law that is inconsistent with Thailand’s international obligations,” said FIDH President Dimitris Christopoulos.