An international writers’ association has demanded the unconditional release of youth activists imprisoned under the lèse majesté law for staging a play called the ‘Wolf Bride’. Pen International, an international association promoting freedom of expression, will mark the 34th anniversary of the Day of the Imprisoned Writer this coming Sunday, 15 November 2015, by campaigning on behalf of writers worldwide who have suffered persecution.
Translator’s Note: This is the fifth instalment of a fable that was initially published in Thai on Prachatai. The first four parts were published in English translation here.
This week, Patiwat S. was sentenced to two and a half years in prison for lèse majesté because of his role in the play, “The Wolf Bride.” Patiwat is the most recent student to have been imprisoned under the law, and has been an advocate for Isaan peoples’ rights and democracy for years. On Monday, the criminal court sentenced Khon Kaen University student Patiwat S. and activist Pornthip M. to five years in jail for their involvement in a satirical play that was deemed “damaging to the monarchy.” The court reduced the sentence by half for their admission of guilt.
On 23 February 2015 student activists Patiwat S., 23, and Pornthip M. (f), 26, were each sentenced to two and a half years in prison for violating Thailand’s “lèse-majesté” law. The charge of “lèse-majesté” criminalises alleged insult of the monarchy under Article 112 of the Criminal Code, and is commonly used to silence peaceful dissent. According to reports, there has been a considerable rise in arrests, trials and sentences relating to lèse majesté cases since the military coup of 22 May 2014. The case against Patiwat S.
On 23 February 2015 student activists Patiwat Saraiyaem, 23, and Pornthip Munkong (f), 26, were each sentenced to two and a half years in prison for violating Thailand’s “lèse-majesté” law. The charge of “lèse-majesté” criminalises alleged insult of the monarchy under Article 112 of the Criminal Code, and is commonly used to silence peaceful dissent.
On the morning of Monday, February 23, the live broadcast of the 87th Academy Awards from Los Angeles will be broadcast in Thailand. Almost simultaneously, at 1:00 pm, an entirely different type of show will be staged at the Criminal Court in Bangkok.
The criminal court sentenced two theatre activists to five years in prison for taking part in a political play "The Wolf Bride" deemed lèse majesté, but since the defendants pleaded guilty, the jail terms were halved to two years and six months. The court earlier scheduled the reading of the verdict at 1.30 on Monday. After weeks-long campaigns by rights groups, inviting people to attend the verdict reading in the afternoon, the court on Monday decided to read the verdict in the morning instead.
On Monday, 23 February 2015, at 1 pm in the Criminal Court on Ratchadaphisek Road in Bangkok, the court will read the verdict and sentence Patiwat S.and Pornthip Munkhong. They were formally charged on 25 October 2014 with one count of violating Article 112 of the Thai Criminal Code in relation to the performance of a theatre play, ‘The Wolf Bride’ (Jao Sao Ma Pa) in October 2013. On 29 December 2014, they pled guilty to the charge.
Translator’s Note: The fable below was originally published in Thai on Prachatai in four parts in October, December, January, and February.
This may be the first play attended at every show by Thai military officers. Not that the Thai military is impressed with the play, but because its content touches on the climate of fear, imposed superficial Thainess, and lèse majesté prisoners. The presence of the military officers, who were assigned to record the performance and audience every night, merely reinforces the message in the restaged Bang-La-Merd: the Land I Do Not Own. It sounds surreal but true that Ornanong Thaisriwong, the director and solo actress in the play, stages a performance about the climate of fear while being watched and taped by real military officers.