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Prosecution testimony exposes weakness of evidence against website editor

A prosecution witness at Chiranuch Premchaiporn’s trial on lèse-majesté charges revealed at the latest hearing on 9 September that it was a member of the royal family who alerted the police to the presence of messages criticising the monarchy on her website, Prachatai.

The witness, Police Lt. Col. Boonlert Kullayanamit of the Crime Suppression Bureau, said then interior ministry inspector-general ML Panadda Disakul notified the police about the messages on 24 October 2008. The initials ML (Mom Luang) are a honorific that is given to the grandchildren of Thai kings. Panadda is now the governor of Chiang Mai province.

It was as a result of Panadda’s information that an investigation was begun and the charges were brought against Chiranuch.

Other revelations during the hearing highlighted the weakness of the evidence against her. It emerged that at least one of the allegedly defamatory comments, one posted by “Bento,” had been copied word for word from Hi5, another website.

Lt. Col. Boonlert also revealed that the investigators worked with printed transcripts of the posts without ever comparing them with the originals.

In comments to the media, Boonlert said if a new case were brought against Prachatai, the police would request the cooperation of foreign companies, as the media’s server has relocated overseas.



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