Muslim man in Pattani prosecuted for lèse majesté banners

A resident in Pattani has been prosecuted for hanging banners with the picture of HM the Queen on a pedestrian bridge in the town.

According to iLaw, he has been charged with hanging two banners containing messages about violent incidents in the south and other parts of Thailand, together with a picture of HM the Queen, on 12 Aug 2009, the Queen’s birthday, with unidentified accomplices.  

Before he was arrested for this alleged offence, the defendant had once been summoned by the village head to meet security officers in a case involving national security, but had been released after the military officers collected a DNA sample from inside his mouth.

In late Aug 2009, he was summoned by the village head to meet the military officers once again.  This time, the military officers told him that he had committed offences, but did not elaborate.  He was detained and investigated by the military under the security laws imposed on the three southern border provinces.

He claimed that he had been tortured to confess to his alleged crimes, by being punched, kicked and hit with ‘bags of ice’.  Only after he eventually confessed was he told by the military of the nature of his alleged offences.

He was granted bail during the investigation after he had confessed with his family members’ land title deeds as guarantee.

According to iLaw, on 12 Aug 2009 several similar banners were found hanging in public places and pedestrian bridges all over the Pattani town.