Election? Another coup? People’s uprising? Where is Thailand heading? Academics have said that if the military decides to prolong its regime, a people’s uprising is inevitable.
Thailand’s military courts have handled more than 1,400 cases involving more than 1,600 civilian defendants. The most pressing problem has been the overuse of pre-trial detention against those accused of lèse majesté or criminal possession of war weapons, which simply turned them into “forgotten prisoners.” If they decide to fight the charges, these civilians would face almost indefinite detention – both because of the seriousness of the charges against them and the Court’s own slow procedures.
Once I began to write, I realized that selecting the topic of the lives of the ‘beloved’ of Article 112 prisoners was not a very good idea. Relationships are never an easy matter — they are complicated and very personal. These relationships have been lacerated and seriously wounded by politics. My questions unearthed and scattered dust from the painful past and it was as if the retelling served to hammer in the injustice of what has happened. Simple questions about the future became filled with profound emotion.
Even though the disabled have long been seen in Thai dramas, the representation of them is problematic and unrealistic, which leads to misperceptions. Movie directors state that disabled characters should be seen as ordinary human beings.
January 2016 marked more than four years since Somyot Prueksakasemsuk, social activist and former editor of Voice of Taksin magazine, lost his freedom for the publishing of two articles in the magazine which were deemed to fall within the domain of lèse majesté.
This time of year, couples often show their love for each other. But political prisoners and their spouses are not so fortunate, and remain separated, often for many years. Romuelah Saeyeh spent one half of her married life – five years – going back and forth to Pattani prison in order to visit her husband, Muhamadanwar Hajiteh, whom she knows as Anwar, an activist working in Thailand’s three southern provinces.
Latest draft constitution has a lot of issues for us to examine: an outsider PM, increasing the power of independent state organizations, unelected senators, a Constitution that can’t be amended, extending the duration of the National Reform Steering Assembly (NRSA), a trick to dispose of PMs and Cabinet members, infinite amnesty for National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) members, and continued use of Article 44.
On 28 December 2015 a military court sentenced Tanitsak to eight years imprisonment, reduced to four years in light of his guilty plea. A defendant in the lèse majesté case concerning the distribution of Banpodj audio programs, Tanitsak, known as Neng Jungnup, is 50 years old.
Phongsak S., the person using the Facebook name “Sam Parr,” is the most recent conviction by the military court under Article 112, the so-called lèse majesté law. On August 7, 2015, he was sentenced to imprisonment for 60 years on the basis of six posts on popular social media site Facebook.
The right to freedom of expression under the military junta all year round of 2015 remains critical. The restrictions seemed to be a bit relaxed the middle of the year, but as the year is drawing to its close, it has become dramatically serious. Attitude adjustment continues to be the common tactic used, though the format has changed from summoning for a meeting to visiting the persons at home.