Chiranuch Premchaiporn, webmaster of independent Thai online news portal Prachatai, was granted bail this afternoon after the prosecutors eventually filed a lawsuit against her under Thailand’s Computer Crimes Act.
Ms Chiranuch had to wait nearly four hours before the bail was approved with 300,000 baht endowment, calculated by her sister (a nurse)’s salary, for the charge of not self-censoring web-board posts fast enough for government censors.
The criminal court set 31 May for the first meeting to check witness lists of both defendants and prosecutors.
Her charges resulted from allowing comments posted by readers of Prachatai’s online discussion alleged to be lèse majesté. If found guilty, she could get 50 years imprisonment, however, the practical maximum term for her could be as long as 20 years.
She was first arrested in March last year during the time of Thailand becoming touchy about references to the monarchy. The cyber law, which was introduced during the administration of Gen Surayud Chulanont, was first successfully applied to a blogger Suvicha Thakor, who later got 20-year sentence in April last year and is now waiting for the royal amnesty.
More than six people have also been arrested with this law and the prosecutors have yet to file the charges to the court.
Thailand has already curbed speeches and discussions that deemed lese majeste through the criminal law with maximum punishment of 15 year sentence but the information and communication technology has become a convenient tool for authorities upon the internet users with 20-year sentence.