After a woman was arrested and charged with lèse majesté and offences under the Computer Crime Act for a Facebook post defaming the King, suspected to be a ploy to cause the woman trouble, two more people face the same charges.
The military court on Friday approved the second custody request to detain the three suspects for another 12 days in detention.
Jaruwan E., 26, Anon, 22, and Chat, 20 were accused of defaming the King on a public Facebook page with the name Jaruwan E. (full name and surname in Thai). They face charges under Article 112 of the Criminal Code (the lèse majesté law) and Article 14 of the Computer Crime Act (for publishing illegal content on a computer system.)
The three denied all allegations.
The police and military first arrested Jaruwan on 18 November. Jaruwan, a factory worker, said she did not post the defamatory material on the Facebook page and that she was unable to access her own Facebook profile for long time after her boyfriend, Anon, ‘confiscated’ her mobile phone. She believed that the page was a ploy by Chat to cause her trouble. The police and military later arrested these two on the same night.
The police reasons for the custody petition are that the police have not yet finished collecting evidence and checking the backgrounds of the suspects.
Jaruwan left school at grade four and worked at a factory in Ratchaburi Province. Anon left school at grade six, worked as a welder and cannot read and write. Chat left school at grade six and is a fisherman.
All the three suspects have children. Since they are destitute, they could not afford bail.
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 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.