Alleged poster of lese majeste comment on Prachatai web-board questioned by police

The internet user allegedly involved in a lèse majesté web-board thread posted on Prachatai discussion forum late last year met police for interrogation. He said he did not remember if he posted the comment and now the thread has been deleted.

 

Prajin had been issued a witness warrant by the police as suspects were ‘unidentified' at this stage. On Oct 18, he met police and was informed that the web-board topic in question was titled ‘The monarchy upholds or hinders democracy' and posted in his name on Nov 21, 2006.

 

On Oct 24, anti-coup activist Prajin Thanangkorn met Crime Suppression Division investigator Pol Lt Col Apichon Charoenpon to give his testimony on the case. He told the police that he could not remember if he was the poster. He had searched for the thread, but it was gone.

 

When asked by the investigator if he had any affiliation with Prachatai, he said no. Asked where he used a computer to post comments, he answered that he used his own computer. In response to a question whether he knew his IP number, he said he hadn't noticed what the number was and hadn't been interested.

 

After the interrogation, Pol Lt Col Apichon asked if he still posted comments on Prachatai forums. He said yes. The officer warned him to be careful because there would possibly be a penalty for each offence, adding that if the comment is considered an offence, and it is re-posted, that would be a separate offence.

 

Prajin asked Pol Lt Col Apichon if he ever visited the Prachatai website. The policeman just laughed and did not answer.

 

Prajin said there was no further appointment with the police. The police are gathering evidence to submit to a committee which will consider whether to pursue the case.

 

Prajin told Prachatai that he had kept other cyber fellows posted on the updates on this allegation for his own safety. He said he had to take the risk because he was more afraid of being quietly kidnapped than committing more offences.

 

"There have been precedents of such kidnaps. So I must speak out for my safety," he said.

 

He said while waiting to meet the police he visited reporters at the Crime Suppression Division, and asked their opinions on lèse majesté cases. He was told the reporters were afraid to make reports, and even if they sent in reports, their desk editors would not publish them anyway. He told them that he considered this kind of case important, and reporters could report the facts; this would benefit the public. There have been numerous cases of lèse majesté, and it might put the accused in danger if there was no media coverage.

 

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