Submitted on Mon, 2014-11-17 13:35
The woman who was accused of posting lèse majesté material on her Facebook page told police that she did not have control over the page and that the page was a ploy by a disappointed admirer to cause her trouble.
On Saturday, Lt Col Burin Thongprapai, a staff member of the military Judge Advocate General’s Department, accused Jaruwan E. of defaming the King on her Facebook account and submitted three pieces of content posted under the public Facebook page with the name Jaruwan E. (full name and surname in Thai). At the time, Burin said to the media “I think she did too much -- defaming the revered institution of the Thai people. This kind of person should not be born Thai.”
The military and police on Sunday evening went to meet Jaruwan, 26, at her residence in western Ratchaburi Province and ‘invited’ her for interrogation at the Crime Suppression Division (CSD) Headquarters in Bangkok.
The woman told the police that she suspects that “Chat”, a friend of her boyfriend, is behind the Facebook page. She said her mobile phone has been seized by her boyfriend and is now in the hands of Chat. She added that Chat used to hit on her, but she was not interested in him.
Apart from the posts defaming the King, Jaruwan added that there have been several other posts which caused her trouble, such as posts saying that she sells sex, and posts which insult her female friend, whose boyfriend is a police officer.
She said she has not seen the posts which led to the lèse majesté accusation since she has not been able to access her Facebook account since.
The police said Jaruwan will be detained and taken to the military for further interrogation.
Although the formal charges have not been filed, some Internet users have already judged and bullied her, calling her an anti-monarchist.
Prachatai has inspected the Facebook page and found that it was created only on Friday. Most of the posts are selfie pictures of a woman. In one post, a picture of HM the King was posted along with a curse. This post appeared on Friday, but was shared almost 6,000 times, and received about 43,000 likes. Most of the comments on the page fiercely condemned her.
The problematic posts have since been deleted.
Since Thailand has a severe lèse majesté law and whoever speaks publicly against the Thai monarchy easily becomes the target of political cyber bullying, most of the explicit lèse majesté comments online are posted anonymously or under pseudonyms. There are only a few cases where Thais living abroad have defamed the King using social network accounts under their real names.
According to the Thai Netizen Network (TNN) 2011 Annual Report, there have been a few cases where spoof Facebook pages/accounts using names and photos of third parties were created to disseminate messages defaming the monarchy, with the aim of having these persons bullied and face lèse majesté charges as a way to cause them trouble. In 2011, however, spoof Facebook pages were one of the tactics used by anonymous defamers against royalists/bullying groups.
A ‘classic’ case of this tactic is the case of Bussababun K., a royalist woman, who was at the time new to Facebook.
According to the TNN report, in 2011, Bussababun used a Facebook account under her real name to post several comments condemning an anti-monarchy Facebook page. As she was new to Facebook, she did not restrict access to most of her personal information. A day later, a Facebook age appeared called “Bussababun K. hates [the King’s name]” with profile photos similar to those used on Bussababun’s Facebook profile with similar personal information. The copycat page also posted photos and comments defaming the King.
The copy seemed to provoke opposition. She faced intense hostility from people who love the King. Later five more pages appeared created specifically to condemn Bussababun.
According to T News, a pro-monarchy news agency, Bussababun said she did not create the copycat page and insisted that she loved the King. She also filed police complaints against the copycat page.
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