Article 19 on Amphon case

Article 19, the international human rights organization on freedom of expression, has recently published a statement calling for the reversal of Thailand’s latest lèse majesté conviction, 61-year-old grandfather Amphon, or the “Ah Kong” case.  Amphon was sentenced 20 years for allegedly sending four vulgar SMS to the personal secretary of Abhisit Vejjajiva, then Prime Minister. The four SMS contained content violating Article 112 of Thailand’s Criminal Code, which states “Whoever defames, insults or threatens the King, Queen, the Heir-apparent or the Regent, shall be punished with imprisonment of three to fifteen years."

The harshness of the punishment and the vagueness of the evidence used against the defendant have prompted reactions of concern from many international organizations such as the EU Delegation to Thailand, the Asian Human Rights Commission, Human Rights Watch, Article 19 and Amnesty International.

Article 19 however, is the only organization calling for a reversal of Amphon’s conviction. Prachatai interviewed the London-based organization regarding the reasons and motivations behind the demand.

1. The Article 19 statement demands the reversal of Amphon's conviction. Why did you demand that? And do you think it's possible for the Thai authorities to do that, since a verdict usually cannot be easily reversed.

First and foremost, we believe that Amphon’s conviction must be quashed upon appeal because it violates international law which protects the rights of all persons to hold opinions and to express those opinions, except in the most limited circumstances. The lèse majesté law illegitimately restricts freedom of expression as protected by international law, and it is being used as a political tool by those in power to silence their critics, a problem recognised even by the Thai Government just last month.

The Thai Government has signed and ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which obliges it to respect basic human rights including freedom of expression and the right to a fair trial. Any violations of those rights are illegal and any convictions made in violation are per se illegal and must be voided.

2. Can you tell us why Amphon deserves to be released?

Amphon deserves to be released because, from an international human rights perspective, he was exercising his legal right to free expression. He has the right to express his opinions, be it via text or any other medium, and should not be punished for exercising such a fundamental right.

Furthermore Amphon’s conviction is tenuous since - as the judge admitted - there was no proven evidence to directly link him to the messages in the first place.  The Thai authorities have the capability and obligation under the Thai Constitution to reverse this decision as a violation of his right to a fair trial, particularly given the lack of proof. They cannot simply claim that there is nothing they can do when innocent people are imprisoned by their officials for no reason. 

ARTICLE 19 is alarmed at the lack of reliable or compelling legal evidence in this conviction. Although the judge conceded that the technical evaluation of evidence could not conclusively incriminate Amphon, the court proceeded to find him guilty. It is inconceivable how that can happen in a state that is based on rule of law.

3. Recently our ICT Minister said in public that a person who clicks 'like' in Facebook posts with lèse majesté content can be charged with lèse majesté, since it would be considered as reproducing illegal contents. What are your thoughts on that?

Showing support for a comment by clicking ‘like’ on Facebook is not a reproduction of the statement. It shows the expression of a person’s opinion, which is protected under international law without limits. This statement shows that the CCA is so excessively vague that it allows the government to expand it to include basic social media interactions.
ARTICLE 19 continues to call for the Thai Government to take immediate and concrete action to reform the CCA in accordance with the Thai Constitution and international law. The provisions in the CCA are too vague and overly broad and allow for subjective interpretation by state officials, as demonstrated time and time again. The application of the CCA should be limited to crimes that affect systems or networks including illegal access to computer systems or using computer systems to create harm to the computer network such as releasing viruses or denial of service attacks, and to preventing fraud.  Sections 14 through 16 of the CCA criminalising the publication of information on public computers should be revoked.

4. Why do you call for the repeal of article 112? Some argue that such a law is needed to protect the monarchy. How would you suggest the law be used in a way that is in line with international human rights standards?

The lèse majesté law must ultimately be repealed because its very existence is a threat to freedom of expression and basic human rights. International law dictates that laws that are intended to protect an individual’s reputation should not be preferential, nor should they provide for heavier penalties on the basis of the identity of the individual who may have been impugned. By providing special protection for royalty, and in practice, individuals in power, the lèse majesté law is in breach of international guarantees of freedom of expression, which require public figures to tolerate more, rather than less, criticism and prohibit the use of laws to prevent criticism of public bodies and officials.

5. Also last week one of the opposition leaders called for the government to block YouTube and Facebook nationwide in order to get rid of lèse majesté content. In your view, how will that affect freedom of expression in the country?

The censorship of the internet and other communications networks in Thailand is of major concern. The government should cease all forms of censorship, especially through the use of the lèse majesté law.

The overly broad blocking of websites in Thailand is endemic. Websites are regularly being blocked without any court authority, based on subjective, unchallenged decisions by officials acting in secret. Millions of pages are blocked for no reason at all.

Again Prachatai posting

Again Prachatai posting propaganda paid for by the same US govt & corporate foundations that fund Prachatai .... Soros funded Prachatai interviewing Soros-funded Article 19 - how very journalistic! No conflict of interest here!

Article 19: Funders

Department for International Aid (DFID) / UKAID
Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs
European Commission
The Ford Foundation
Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO)
Fritt Ord
Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Open Society Institute (OSI)<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<< also significantly funds Prachatai
Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA)
The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

Article 19, Reporters Without Borders, FIDH, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, ALL of them ALLL OF THEM funded by the US government and Soros' Open Society. This is clearly a foreign-funded corporate fascist network working in concert using human rights to apply pressure to governments, armies, and political opponents around the world to subvert them and ultimately replace them.... unless you really think there is this much money and coordination being provided by a billionaire banker and the US government truly for human rights????

Considering Thaksin's Wall Street and London backing since 2006 it's an open and shut case as to who they're trying to get back into power in Thailand.

And Prachatai keeps posting it no matter how bad it looks - because at the end of the day they get millions from the US government and could careless what you think about them.

tony c ! you fuking fuking

tony c ! you fuking fuking NAZI ashole. howe much the pay you
for your rassist nazi coments ? i cut your hard with a rosti spoon...

Funny thing is - everything I

Funny thing is - everything I wrote about Prachatai & Article 19's foreign funding is TRUE! And you can't prove otherwise - Soros-funded Prachatai interviewing Soros-funded Article 19.

Now I'm waiting for US State Dept. funded VOA's article to be posted on US State Department funded Prachatai - they are literally making my case for them - and to think that Pravit had the NERVE to claim Prachatai wasn't carrying water for US foreign policy!!!!

Well done Article 19. Thank

Well done Article 19. Thank goodness DFID, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the European Commission, Ford Foundation, Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Open Society Institute, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and so on have the courage to fund an organization that defends a poor old man who is a victim of a gross law. And it is also noteworthy that Article 19 and Prachatai make their funding support transparent.

Lese majeste is now the the battle ground that the conservative establishment stands upon, and the battle is destined to become even more toxic.

Yes corporate fascism is the

Yes corporate fascism is the new brave heroes of the liberal progressive! Nothing like UK government, and corporate-funded foundation funding to bring humanity back to its senses. Now Albert - you are just being sloppy and insulting to any real readers stumbling across this article.

Albert - this is who these people really are and the people you claim are brave....

This is who REALLY funds Prachatai....

And their background.....

Prachatai and its craven corporate fascist sponsors make a MOCKERY out of human rights and freedom by leveraging disingenuously for their nefarious political agenda.

Hi Tony, 1) Can you explain

Hi Tony,

1) Can you explain why an organization that is funded by Soros like Prachatai or Article 19 are spreading propaganda?
2) I don’t think there is anything wrong for an organization to get funding from OSI as long as they remain independence. As far as I understand, OSI does not give funding with conditionality.

If you can come up with evidence that they fund organization with conditionality, that would make your argument much stronger. At this moment, your argument is full of flaws as they are simply backed by your emotions.
3) Can you elaborate how OSI is a fascist organization? How many people have it killed?

4) Does Prachatai get millions from the US government? Would be great if you can show this allegation as well.

US National Endowment for

US National Endowment for Democracy which funds Prachatai is in turn funded via the US State Department.

They claim:

"Q: Is NED part of the U.S. Government?
A: No. NED is a private, non-profit, grant-making organization that receives an annual appropriation from the U.S. Congress through the Department of State. Although NED’s continued funding is dependent on the continued support of the White House and Congress, it is NED’s independent Board of Directors that controls how the appropriation is spent."

However, its board of directors, as well as the directors of its subsidiaries, including the National Democratic Institute, the International Republican Institute, and Freedom House include both current and former members of the United States government - and not even respectable members but characters including:

Paula Dobriansky (neo-con warmonger)
Dan Quayle (formally)
Donald Rumsfeld (formally)
Kenneth Adelman (Thaksin's lobbyist)
Frank Carlucci (2002) (Carlyle Group of which Thaksin was an adviser)
James Woolsey (neo-con warmonger)
Vin Weber (Neo-Con and corporate lobbyist)
Zalmay Khalilzad (neo-con and corporate lobbyist)
current Senator John McCain
current Senator Lindsey Graham

Clearly these people are not interested in "human rights" in fact, they are guilty of committed and signing their names to some of the worst atrocities (Iraq war, Afghanistan war, Libyan war, Abu Gharab, Gitmo, etc.) committed in recent human history.

It might be interesting to see just who guides US State Department policy - and since Soros works in tandem with these organizations - it is pretty clear his intentions are disingenuous as well - why would you believe a billionaire who made his fortune cheating people is now flying straight?

I understand why people are

I understand why people are confused about Prachatai's funding - they are liars, deceivers and have done everything possible to coverup who they accept money from - done absolutely nothing to address very real concerns that their agenda has been compromised.

Yes - Prachatai receives millions of baht from Open Society and the National Endowment for Democracy - which is funded by the US State Department.

Right on their "About Us" page....

And they have the nerve to claim...

"The total operating costs of Prachatai for the current year (2011) roughly amounts to 8 million Thai baht. It is important to state here that none of our foreign donors has ever put up any demands connected to the funds they provided, nor did they ever interfere with our reporting."

If you need to say this - you know already how bad it looks - a conflict of interest causing daily improprieties as almost every article they post comes from organizations funded by their sponsors.

Umm, you still have not

Umm, you still have not answered my questions...

Hi Tony,

1) Can you explain why an organization that is funded by Soros like Prachatai or Article 19 are spreading propaganda?

2) I don’t think there is anything wrong for an organization to get funding from OSI as long as they remain independence. As far as I understand, OSI does not give funding with conditionality.

If you can come up with evidence that they fund organization with conditionality, that would make your argument much stronger. At this moment, your argument is full of flaws as they are simply backed by your emotions.

3) Can you elaborate how OSI is a fascist organization? How many people have it killed?

George Soros' Open Society

George Soros' Open Society which funds Prachatai MILLIONS per year - also funds Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International - both of which played a central role in setting the rhetorical justification for NATOs bombardment of Libya - killing tens of thousands and utterly destroying one of the most developed nations in Africa.

It turns out that this "information" that HRW and AI collected came solely from the rebel leadership who now admit on record to MAKING IT UP. This means that Soros' funded organizations, along with Prachatai I might add, helped sell a war based on FALSE EVIDENCE.... sort of like Iraq if you recall.

Prachatai is exclusively, myopically focused on backing NED's various groups operating throughout Southeast Asia, including Bersih in Malaysia and efforts to undermine and overthrow the government of Myanmar. This also includes supporting the UDD movement here in Thailand.

You might also take note that Prachatai, on a daily basis, promotes the talking points of other NED funding organizations who make no bones about pushing US foreign policy - including Freedom House.

So. 1. Match their propaganda to US State Dept talking points 2. You are not independent if you get funded millions and then peddle their talking points daily 3. OSI has helped kill MILLIONS of people over the decades by destabilizing governments and setting the rhetorical justification for US military aggression.

Part II - notice how neither

Part II - notice how neither talk about the fact that Ampon was participating in an attempted insurrection ... no mention of the foreign funding the UDD and Thaksin received in their bid to overthrow the Thai government. No mention as to how foreign funded sedition in the West would get you life in prison or perhaps a death sentence. No mention as to the possibility that Ampon made physical threats. And no mention as to how EU laws regarding "lese Jew" are just as bad as they claim Lese Majeste are.

There is also no mention as to who actually made the charges and who is so eager to push them through. A democrat? A Thaksinite?

Notice how the entire conversation is just a weepy narrative aimed at preying on your emotions and exploiting this old man's entanglement in this selfish power struggle for all they can get out of it. Really disgusting. Disgusting more so when you look at their funding and see the true depths of corporate fascist depravity staring back.

We know that the complaint

We know that the complaint was made by Abhisit's secretary and that all complaints are then taken up and investigated by the police who pass to the prosecutor's office for charges to be laid. No mystery there.

Amphon was arrested by the Crime Suppression Division police on 3 August 2010 and appeared at the Criminal Court on 18 January 2011. Seems pretty much as reported at many sources and that the whole process was conducted under the auspices of the Democrat Party government. Only the sentencing occurred under the current government.

I think it's good that

I think it's good that Article 19 clearly separates the issues : suppression of political speech and repudiation of the rule of law.

The repudiation of the rule of law by the Kourt is so egregious... requiring Amphon to prove a negative, that he is not guilty... that it tends to overshadow the structural flaw in this case : if Amphon had done what they said he has done he should still be a freeman today.

There is still no word that HM the King has freed Amphon... surely he will do so... ?????

All foreign missions in

All foreign missions in Thailand are funded totally by their respective governments. Thailand funds its own around the world. Are we to assume that thus those missions do not provide impartiality or fairness in dealing with any affair? Given the wide-scope of activities by these missions, should we thus find everything they are involved in to be offensive, wrong, and improper? Who is "Tony" funded by? Who is "Tony?"

"Tony's" argument that ALL pro-Thaksin/UDD/Red Shirts (and by extension any and all those who oppose antiquated lese majeste, criminal defamation and computer crime laws here in Thailand are part and parcel of the same international cabal that is fighting against the legitimate regimes that keep their own populations in a straight line, is replete with...lack...of logic.

Arguments against validity of objections to lese majeste/criminal defamation/computer crime laws - the most recent not in existence before 2007 - are being represented in terms of inference, implication, association, exclusion...including retroductive inference - regressing from a consequent to a hypothetical antecedent.

Part II of II I don't mind

Part II of II

I don't mind backpeddling when I am wrong, or when I need guidance or correction - all of us need this on a daily basis no matter how old we get. But when society is assaulted time and time again by massive prison sentences for individual expression - no matter what the topic - the matter of foreign meddling is not, and should not be, the sole criterion in uncovering what it is that ails society. Loyalty needs have been resurrected as force majure, becoming a national merit badge of a "Thainess" that dismisses the right to be different, to express differences, to live, think and act differently. It is - or should nowt be - plainly clear that there is only one way to quash these human needs: resort to armed force and intense use of state propaganda.

In some sense, of course, those who express opposition to the lese majeste law, computer crime provisions and criminal defamation statutes in general will sound to people like "Tony" as wayward birds of a feather flocking together. Like birds these days, they are all being shot down with a scattergun-approach of nationalism, forced loyalty and intensely repressed compliance. Add a lot more illusion and lies. To date the Thai state has been relatively free to prevent an open society from developing.

Finally, "Tony" - perhaps the point to be made is that you seem to find comfort with people being sentenced to decades of prison for expression of opinion. From your writings, I can see 10,000 years of imprisonment IF your writings are ever found to be a threat to national security. Would you be satisfied if retroactively your writings were seen as such?

AI, RSF, AHRC and others are not objecting to application of just laws; they are objecting to their abuse. People being put in prison are there because others object to what they said. There has been no demonstrated evidence, or even a pretense of the need to demonstrate evidence, that any of these put in prison really threaten national security. Evidence is often prohibited - cited as too offensive and itself criminal to illustrate! "Saying so does not MAKE it so." But in Thailand it does.

Repression works like this: ask for compliance, warn about non-compliance, make an example out of those who do not comply. Turn a deaf and blind ear to demands for justice. Finally kill if needed at your own discretion, without accountability. Not very Buddhist.

Note to all Prachatai English

Note to all Prachatai English language site readers:

The person commenting under the name Tony, TonyC, LandDestroyer is a professional internet crank whose rants should be entirely ignored as they are clearly being funded by the faux Libertarian Koch brothers in order to disturb and upset and add unwanted stress to the lives of normal followers of Prachatai.

I point out the VERY REAL

I point out the VERY REAL foreign funding, both US, UK, and Soros behind BOTH Prachatai and Article 19 and the immense conflict of interest and impropriety of Prachatai then "interviewing" a fellow recipient of Soros' dirty money and passing it off as "journalism" or anything other than self-aggrandizing theater ....

And this funding is beyond dispute....

And look at the enlightened response from a supposed "liberal progressive" audience claiming to be seeking openness, transparency, accountability etc...

All mere slogans to cover up their self-serving agenda.

Please do read the real story behind Prachatai....

And how they disingenuously leverage the tragedy of ordinary people snared by this power struggle to promote their poorly hidden, pro-foreign corporate-fascist agenda.

Just as Prachatai & Co. say - when you try to shut someone up, try to tell people to "ignore" their research and presentation - it shows how really insecure and illegitimate you yourself to be. The shoe never quite fits right when put on the other foot, does it?

Perhaps then we should demand

Perhaps then we should demand quid pro quo from Tony - if he denies all the right to comment on his blogs, reports, etc., then it is only fair that he be prevented from sending in this diatribe. Or.....?

More calls by Prachatai

More calls by Prachatai "readers" to censor any opposing views - IN AN ARTICLE ABOUT INFRINGING FREEDOM OF SPEECH!

Public participation is great until people start catching on to what Prachatai's real game is, who really funds them and that they are interested in peddling a political agenda hidden behind lofty ideals ultimately they could care less about.

Prachatai's own "About Us" section clearly states they are paid millions of baht a year by the US government to "promote active public participation" - so how does censoring opposing views - or even just plain facts as that is all I've been doing - contribute to that end .... unless of course they LIED again.

When you are built on a foundation of lies fraud and deception, your house will fall on its own - don't blame people for pointing out the faulty foundation, blame yourself for not redressing it with due diligence. Two NGOs interviewing each other - funded by the same billionaire banksters and foreign funds that have perpetuated the inequities of globalization IS nothing more than crass, intelligence insulting theater and PROPAGANDA. Don't blame me for pointing it out - blame yourselves and Prachatai for being such transparent hypocrites and committing such brazen unjournalistic improprieties .

One comment - and 8 in reply

One comment - and 8 in reply - many calling for censorship, none actually dealing with the very real funding - transparency, and open society I encouraged by showing you how both Prachatai and Article 19 are not only compromised by their ties to corporate special interests, but that their interview is theater as they are both funded by the SAME globalist bankster!

Prachatai - please do promptly post the new US State Department fluff piece put out by their funded propaganda arm VOA regarding you - and make sure you don't put any foreword warning readers YOU BOTH ARE FUNDED BY THE SAME US GOVERNMENT & REPRESENT THE SAME US AGENDA.

Perhaps just invite Hillary and her new corporate fascist foreign policy advisory board to make direct statements via your website?

& the corporate fascist advisory board the US State Department is now establishing...

What moral, intellectual and in general, human degenerates. You are duly judged by those with whom you associate. That Prachatai accepts money from a government that has by all intents and purposes declared itself an empire run by corporate fascist interests makes a mockery of the ideals you hide behind to peddle your agenda.

Each day that passes that you do not address these immense and ever-growing improprieties the deeper you sink in illegitimacy. What sort of society will be sprung from those congregating around such naked self-serving, exploitative duplicity?

Tony's postings are a good

Tony's postings are a good reminder to me as to why I don't take the time to read blogs - I read them and then realise they are poorly written, poorly researched and not even interesting. Tony, if you want to make assertions then back them up with proof - you throw around alot of adjectives and link to your own blog site. Maybe you should stick to writing your own blog and let people find their way into your web if they are interested in adjectives.

I didn't back up my claims

I didn't back up my claims that Article 19 and Prachatai are both funded by Soros' Open Society and foreign governments? I posted the link directly to Article 19's funding - and even copied and pasted it for you to read - the link to verify it.

Here it is again...

So let's get this straight "Margie" are you claiming Article 19 and Prachatai are not both funded by Soros' Open Society and that there doesn't exists an immense conflict of interest when they cite each other, interview each other and so on? This is not contrived theater all funded by foreign corporate interests? Is this really what genuine liberal-progressives apply their stamp of approval to?

What if George Soros interviewed himself in the mirror, taped it, and then called it "independent" journalism? That's essentially what he's done through this immense propaganda network he, the US and British government have created - the vast majority of those involved being warmongers, Neo-Cons, and corporate lobbyists - skillful in the art of invoking sympathy for their clients - please read the story of the Podesta Group and their "liberal-left" Center for American Progress organization.

"Progressive ideas for a strong, just, and free America...." Indeed. There are very rotten, evil people on this earth that will do and say anything to garner more wealth and power - including masquerade as humanitarians, liberals, and progressives - understand that I am NOT against these ideals - I stand against those abusing them.

Very brave "Margie," your call to stick one's head into the sand - truly in the spirit of progressive liberalism. Notice how FGA cheers you on in your promotion of ignorance - FGA being another little gardener here at Prachatai pulling out the ugly weeds of truth when they sprout up.

Margie - way to go! I think

Margie - way to go!
I think "Tony" can't be a genuine article. Anyone that reclusive, secretive, accusative and 'adjective' has to have an axe to grind but not one that's going to sharpen.

Accusative and adjective?

Accusative and adjective? Prachatai is not funded millions by the US government? By NED whose BoD is full of corporate fascists, warmongers, and corporate lobbyists? Prachatai doesn't re-post everything that the myriad of fake organizations NED funds puts out? (listed as Foundation for Community Educational Media)

NED's BoD:

Their backgrounds with links....

Here's another little gem about Vin Weber - corporate lobbyist, also a NED BoD member...

.... and Article19 isn't funded by Soros's Open Society?

As is Prachatai?

And then two NGOs funded by nefarious, duplicitous organizations, cited as having taken over much of the work of the CIA in subverting and overthrowing sovereign governments - interviewing each other and referencing each other does not constitute an immense conflict of interest and subsequent improprieties? FGA why is it that every time you respond you attempt to substitute with eloquent dismissals and ad hominem attacks for what should be an intelligent assessment and even a plea for Prachatai to clean up its act?

Again - I am not against progressive ideals - I am against them being abused. That all the LM cases have been against UDD/Thaksin supporters - a movement ALSO funded by the same foreign-corporate-financier interests - ALSO FACT - means Thailand is responding - if hamfisted - to foreign subversion - not "freedom of speech."

Tony, you've made the same

Tony, you've made the same post dozens - perhaps hundreds - of times. Everyone who is likely ever to read it has now read it so give it up and, sad as it no doubt seems, the fact that nobody takes you seriously is unlikely to change; in fact, the more you post, the more deranged you appear and the less likely you are to make converts to whatever bizarre delusions you entertain.

"Tony's postings are a good reminder to me as to why I don't take the time to read blogs" - the joys of RSS. Read the blog, don't read the psychotic ramblings of sting-collecting weirdos who smell of dead pigeons.

The intellectual cowardice

The intellectual cowardice here at US-funded Prachatai is absolutely stunning - now Dan you've managed to write 2 whole replies filled with nothing but ad hominem attacks - this makes it very difficult to take you and your criticism seriously.

You haven't even enumerated what you even disagree with.

All I pointed out was that Prachatai has hid its funding and failed to address the immense conflicts of interest it represents to such an extent its own defenders and readers oafishly try to defend and deny facts that are published in their own ABOUT US page. Did Prachatai lie about their funding?

My purpose is not to convince diehard, devotees to the cult of Thaksin or Prachatai and their "noble" crusade - my purpose is to expose to anyone sensible, objective, and curious who has accidentally happened upon Prachatai - and show them exactly what their suspicions might be telling them - that it is a foreign-funded propaganda front disingenuously leveraging human rights to perpetuate the agenda of their sponsors - on record, warmongering Neo-Con corporate fascists.

NED and Freedom House consist of the absolute worst of humanity - truly wolves in sheep's clothing.

Funding. Funding. Tony, what

Funding. Funding. Tony, what is YOUR funding? Give and THEN receive.