Court to rule on Thanthawut’s case on 15 MarchSubmitted by prachatai on Fri, 11/02/2011 - 17:55
Thanthawut Thaweewarodomkul has told the court that he did not post the allegedly offensive messages and he was forced to confess by police, and insisted that he is not the administrator of www.norporchorusa.com.
On 10 Feb, Thanthawut testified to the court that he was the owner of a company which designed and developed websites for customers mostly in the tourism and hotel businesses. In March 2010, a person contacted him at his website, www.redthai.org, asking him to design a logo and background for the website. They later corresponded through email, and he received a link to access the website via FTP (File Transfer Protocol). Through the link, he found one folder, but he could not go further than that.
When he was arrested at his apartment on 1 April 2010, the police told him that his case was serious and he should confess. When he was taken to the police station, other police officers also said the same and told him to confess so that he could stay with his son, saying the sooner the better.
Thanthawut did not confess. So the police told him to think it over during the night, and said that if he wanted to go home, he should sign a confession. He and his 10-year-old son spent the night at the police station. The next morning, he woke up when someone came into the cell and told him that he did not love the king and he was a dangerous person. The police then resumed the interrogation, and repeated that he should sign quickly so that he could go back to be with his son, or else the social welfare department would come to adopt his son.
He then signed on that day, admitting that he was the poster of two messages as charged. But with regard to another item which he gathered to be an article by Giles Ungphakorn, the police told him not to sign, saying that they had ‘other ways’ to deal with it, and telling him to add in writing, ‘This item I did not post’.
Thanthawut retracted the confession which he had made during the investigation, and insisted to the court that he was not an administrator of the website and did not post the messages.
Then lecturer at the Faculty of Engineering of Kasetsat University Dr Jitthat Fhagcharoenphol testified as a defence witness. He read, as instructed by the court, a record of internet traffic which was used as evidence in the case, and explained that this was a log of internet activities of a person who accessed a computer system from an IP address through a File Transfer Protocol programme. He told the court that anybody could use such a programme.
The document contained two pieces of information. The defence lawyer asked the witness whether the information in the first part showed that the person had posted anything. The witness said that, according to the information, the person logged in to the system but did not do anything. And when the court asked whether the log showed that any transfer of data had occurred, the witness said no.
The second part showed, the witness explained, that that person had tried to transfer files from his or her computer to the system, but it was not clear whether the transfer was successful, because there should have been a response from the system saying something like 200 OK or 250 OK, but no such response appeared in the log.
The defence lawyer asked the witness what was meant by the phrase ‘written by admin’, which appeared on a screen capture of the website which was used as evidence. The witness said that this meant that the message was posted by a user who used the alias ‘admin’ on the website; the user did not have to be an administrator because on modern websites users are allowed to choose their own names, but in most cases they cannot use duplicate names.
The court will give its ruling on 15 March.