Jaran Ditapichai is a anti-establishment red-shirt leader, leftist and ex-communist who has fled Thailand to France after the coup on 22 May 2014. Prachatai interviewed Jaran about his exile life and how he will fight for Thai democracy from abroad.
Since the coup on 22 May 2014, about a hundred pro-democracy activists have fled the country because they may end up in jails due to political charges. Aum Neko, a provocative transgender activist, fled to France after the coup and is beginning her new life. Aum tells about her long-term plan abraod and how she will continue to campaign for the Thai democracy.
Eight months after the implementation of the Thai government’s Master Plan to reforest the country, villagers in Isaan bear the burden of a flawed policy at the cost of their livelihood and health.
Four of nine suspects in a case related to explosions in Bangkok say they faced torture and ill-treatment during military detention in March. A communist-turned-red-shirt, Sansern Sriounruen is one of the four. He revealed his account of the story, which involves a hunger strike and brutal torture.
The junta cabinet has approved a bill on religion which can be used to prosecute, with jail terms, people who propagate ‘incorrect’ versions of Buddhist doctrines or cause harm to Buddhism. The bill also posts jail terms specifically for homosexual monks.
The Thai military junta is looking to enact a law to regulate public assemblies which puts in place severe restrictions that can easily lead to an assembly being outlawed and protesters or assembly organizers jailed. The rubber-stamp National Legislative Assembly (NLA) on Thursday passed the first reading of the bill.
The Prevention and Suppression of Temptations to Dangerous Behaviors which will ban specific kinds of pornography in a bid to increase efficiency in suppression, potentially paves way for a ban of group sex, and BDSM, in the name of public morals. The bill also poses a great threat to media freedom as it not only broadly defines a wide range of media content deemed inappropriate, it also adopts the notorious article of the Computer Crime Act which indiscriminately holds internet intermediaries liable for all pornographic/violent materials without safe harbour.
Throughout Thai history, state officials, especially police and army officers, who perpetrated torture and enforced disappearances, have never been punished and have never admitted their crimes. This year a bill against the 2 crimes was completed which has been praised by experts. However, under the military junta regime, which itself is a threat to human rights, one must be very sceptical about the bill really being passed into law.
The Thai police have been notorious for their use of torture to force confessions and the arrest of scapegoats. The two Myanmar suspects accused of killing two British backpackers on Thailand’s Koh Tao Island are good examples. In the restive Deep South, lawyers say that security officers regularly torture insurgent suspects to get confessions since the Thai police do not have enough evidence to issue arrest warrants by normal means. The Thai police are now aiming to optimize investigations by pushing for a law which will allow police from all divisions to intercept suspects’ communications. However, experts say the bill could ironically end up aggravating police abuses.
Almost all of the suspects in cases related to former royal consort face lèse-majesté. Unlike the political dissidents hunted down by the junta for their political speeches allegedly defaming the monarchy, claims about the monarchy for personal gain may not be deemed as “defaming, insulting, or threatening," What are the standards for this?