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.
Political activists have urged the police to release Jatuphat ‘Pai Dao Din’ Boonpattararaksa, saying the court decision to repeatedly reject his bail requests is ‘unconstitutional’. On 5 May 2017, Chalita Bundhuwong, a Kasetsart University lecturer, and Nuttaa Mahattana, an independent political activist, submitted a letter to Pol Gen Chakthip Chaijinda, Chief of the Royal Thai Police, at the National Police Office in Bangkok.
Facebook has complied with a request from the junta to restrict user access to a video posted by an exiled critic of the monarchy, citing Thailand’s newly amended Computer Crimes Act. On 4 May 2017, the exiled academic Somsak Jeamteerasakul announced on his Facebook page that he had received an email from Facebook informing him that one of his posts violates Thailand’s 2007 Computer Crimes Act (CCA).
The United Nations Human Rights Office for South-East Asia (OHCHR) urges the Thai Government to halt the practice of arbitrary detention of political activists, and to immediately release six people recently charged with criticising authorities. On 29 April 2017, two political activists - Mr. Danai Tibsuya, a former military officer from Chiang Mai, and Mr. Prawet Prapanukul, a Bangkok-based lawyer - were arrested and detained by the military under the lese-majeste law for criticising the King on Facebook.
The Criminal Court has refused to release two detainees accused of lèse majesté for sharing the Facebook post of an academic blacklisted by the junta. On 4 May 2017, the Criminal Court on Ratchadaphisek Rd., Bangkok, denied bail requests of 790,000 and 900,000 baht for two detainees accused of violating Article 112 of the Criminal Code, the lèse majesté law.
The Criminal Court has detained six people accused of royal defamation for sharing a Facebook post of an academic in self-imposed exile who the junta has blacklisted. On 3 May 2017, the Criminal Court on Ratchadaphisek Rd., Bangkok, granted the police permission to detain six people accused of violating Article 112 of the Criminal Code, the lèse majesté law. They were arrested by police and military officers separately in different parts of the country in late April.
Labour activists in South Korea and Indonesia have displayed banners to campaign for the release of Somyot Prueksakasemsuk. On 1 May 2017, International Labour Day, many labour activists and others in South Korea and Indonesia displayed banners at labour rallies in support of Somyot Prueksakasemsuk, a long-time labour activist imprisoned for lèse majesté.
The Thai military have arrested a group of people in southern Thailand who are allegedly involved in a network making false claims about the monarchy for financial gain. On 27 April 2017, soldiers arrested Nonglak B., a radio host from Thung Song District of Nakhon Si Thammarat Province after several individuals were arrested and taken to a local military base a day earlier for interrogation.
The Appeal Court has sentenced a man accused of defaming the monarchy on Facebook to six years’ imprisonment. On 27 April 2017, the Appeal Court confirmed the verdict of the Court of First Instance in the lèse majesté case of Piya J., a 47 year-old programmer. In January 2016 the lower court sentenced him to nine years’ imprisonment with the sentence reduced by one third.
On a Saturday night in mid-September 2013 I was sat at table in a deserted restaurant in an exclusive beachside resort in Phuket. My companions were graduate students and researchers from Chulalongkorn University and Japan’s prestigious Kyoto University.