Latest lèse majesté suspect will plead guilty and seek leniency

Warawut Thanangkorn, known as Suchart Nakbangsai in cyber political forums, who was arrested for lèse majesté on 1 Nov, told Prachachat Thurakij newspaper that he would not fight his case in court, and expected to do time in jail and then seek leniency for an early release as in the cases of Suwicha Thakor and Bunyuen Prasertying.

Photo from Thaienews

Warawut was a member of an anti-coup group called ‘Saturday People against Dictatorship’, which was formed by members of a political webboard.  After the coup in 2006, the group gathered regularly at Sanam Luang on Saturdays to speak against the coup, and was among several other anti-coup groups which preceded the advent of the red shirts and the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD). 

On the day following his arrest, the police brought him to court to request for him to be held on remand.  He told the newspaper that he had refused to give interviews to many reporters because he did not want to draw attention to his case.

‘I don’t want to be in the news.  I don’t want publicity.  I don’t want the media which may not understand my intent to report on me, because that would cause trouble to my family.  So I think that this should be kept low-key, and end properly.’

He would plead guilty in order to have his sentence commuted by half, and would do good [as a prisoner] to seek further commutation. 

He said that he was not associated with any red-shirt leaders, and ‘they did not accept me.  I mean nothing to them.  I fought for democracy, but not for elections.’

He said that he did not want to be a politician, was not a UDD member, and had nothing to do with Thaksin Shinawatra, whom he described as a [political] ‘victim’.

When asked whether he had been contacted by any politicians or political parties during two years on the run, he said that no one had contacted him and he had not contacted anybody, and he was alone.

He chose to plead guilty because he saw that as the best option, citing the examples of Suwicha Thakor and Bunyuen Prasertying who had recently been released after spending about a couple of years in jail.

He cited his family as the reason for his decision, and, ‘another thing is that what I said or did was all captured on video already.  That cannot be changed.  To say that I did not say it is impossible.  So I [choose to] confess.  And I believe that the court will consider the case based on facts.’

‘In fact, I could have avoided being arrested.  Frankly.  But I chose [to be arrested].  OK.  The police were also good.  I have to admit that.  But I came to look after my family.  And when things were properly arranged for the family, I thought that probably the time had come.  I became less careful about myself.  And then it was not difficult for the police to arrest me.’

The newspaper asked whether he had fled to Cambodia, and he said no.  He also denied having been in contact with fugitive UDD leader Jakkrapob Penkair, or known his whereabouts.

Asked whether he would still do the same, if he could go back in time to 14 Oct 2008 when he delivered the speech that caused his troubles, he said that he would not.

‘I would not speak to end up in jail.  Never.’



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