Papatchanan Ching-in has been found guilty of lèse majesté for her involvement in a red-shirt protest against the President of the Privy Council in Nakhon Ratchasima in April last year.
On 16 Dec, Nakhon Ratchasima Provincial Court sentenced local red-shirt leader Papatchanan Ching-in to three years in jail.
According to the court, during a protest on 7 April 2009, Papatchanan and other red shirts brought a mock coffin with a message which read ‘Phra Ong Than’ in the top line, and ‘Gen Prem…’ and ‘Died 8 April 2009’ in the following lines. Papatchanan poured gasoline on the coffin and burned it.
The court said that the word ‘Phra Ong Than’ referred to HM the King who is most revered by the people. The defendant, therefore, was found guilty under Sections 83 and 112 of the Criminal Code for conspiring with others to commit the crime of lèse majesté.
Papatchanan appealed the case and her bail request was granted by the court.
Police have not yet been able to find and arrest other red shirts involved in the protest.
According to news reports, Papatchanan and some 20 red shirts staged the protest at the Suranari Statue and burned the coffin bearing the message referring to Gen Prem Tinsulanonda, the People’s Alliance for Democracy and the Abhisit government, as well as images of the faces of Gen Prem and Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva.
In the message, they referred to Gen Prem by a royal prefix to mock what was believed to be PAD leader Sondhi Limthongkul’s slip of the tongue when he routinely appeared on his ASTV programme on 3 Apr 2009, saying, ‘…the yellow shirts come out to protect Gen Prem, as Phra Ong Than is President of the Privy Council’. (see clip)
Col Weerapattarapol Bunchiaw, a military officer attached to Army Region 2 at the province, filed charges with the police on 9 Apr 2009. On 10 Apr 2009, PAD members in the province also filed charges for lèse majesté and violations of national security under Criminal Code Articles 113, 114 and 115, and defamation under Article 326.