March 28, 2012 - The court today sentenced 38-year-old Ekkachai Hongkangwan five years in prison term and fine of 100,000 baht for selling documentary CDs produced by Australian Broadcasting Corporation and copies of wikileaks documents deemed defaming to the Queen and the Prince. Later it reduced sentence to three years and four month imprisonment with 66,666 baht fine, stating that defendant’s testimony benefitted the court.
On 28 March, the Criminal Court sentenced Ekkachai Hongkangwan to 5 years in prison for selling CDs containing an Australian television documentary and copies of WikiLeaks documents, but reduced the prison term by one third to 3 years and 4 months due to his useful testimony during trial.
A pioneering initiative to discuss the sensitive issue of the Thai monarchy on public television hit a snag when an episode of the political talk show was abruptly cancelled on 15 March, prompting a heated debate on the how such issues should be tackled, or if it should be discussed at all.
Academics from the Nitirat (Enlightened Jurists) group and well-known scholars are calling for whole scale reform of the courts, from legal texts to ideologies, to achieve a judicial system more in line with democracy.
Censorship was blatantly at work for all to see at Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS) last Friday night when it abruptly cancelled the promised airing of the fifth and last episode of a much-anticipated debate on the monarchy.
Thai PBS television channel decided to cancel the broadcast of the last programme of its talk show series discussing the issue of constitutional monarchy, after a group of about 20 ‘Thai patriots’ protested at the station on the evening of 15 March.
In a rare case in Thailand's deep south, Pattani Provincial Court is proceeding with an in camera lèse majesté trial against a Malayu Muslim man, who is accused of putting up banners about the country's conflict with a picture of Her Majesty the Queen in 2009.
The Campaign Committee for the Amendment of Article 112 is to appeal to the House Speaker, Somsak Kiatsuranont, to review his decision to reject parliamentary consideration of the draft amendment to the lèse majesté law.
On 2 February, Sathian Rattanawong was released from Bangkok Remand Prison after serving a year and eleven months for selling CDs with lèse majesté content in 2011.
Somyot Prueksakasemsuk’s request for bail was dismissed by the Appeals Court on 25 Jan, said his wife Sukanya after she went to the Criminal Court on 4 Feb. The bail request was submitted to the court immediately after the verdict was delivered on 23 Jan, she said.