The Criminal Court on Monday ruled to try in secret the case of a man charged with lèse majesté for sending to the Stop Lèse Majesté blog a link to content deemed as defaming the King.
At 3.15 pm, Tanet (last name withheld due to privacy concerns) was taken to court for a preliminary hearing. His lawyer was prepared to submit a doctor’s certificate which states that Tanet is suffering from paranoid schizophrenia.
During the deposition hearing, the defendant admitted sending the link, but did so when he was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia, according to the defence lawyer. The lawyer also submitted the doctor’s certificate.
The court scheduled a witness hearing for five witnesses on 8 May 2015. Three of the five are defence witnesses comprising a psychiatrist, the defendant’s elder sister and the defendant himself.
Tanet was accused of sending an e-mail to Emilio Esteban, who the police identified as an Englishman residing in Spain. Esteban ran the Stop Lèse Majesté blog.
The police stated on the custody petition that they had sought a court order to hack into Esteban’s e-mail in 2010 and found an e-mail from the suspect.
In the e-mail, the suspect allegedly gave Esteban a link to an article deemed lèse majesté with the message “Can you post this web on your site for Thais to read? They need to read it. Thanks load.”
However, the police did not follow up the case against Tanet until 2 July 2014 when 10 military officers and plainclothes policemen raided his house and arrested him on the order of the junta's National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO). During pre-charge detention at a military camp, Tanet admitted sending the e-mail. On the sixth day of his detention, a court arrest warrant was issued. On the seventh day, the last day that martial law allows for detention without charge, the military transferred Tanet into police custody at the Technology Crime Suppression Division.
The police charged him under Articles 112 (for defaming the King), and 116 (for instigating unrest) of the Criminal Code and Article 14 (3) of the Computer Crime Act (for sending content deemed a threat to national security on a computer system).
Tanet, 45, is now detained at the Bangkok Remand Prison. Tanet is HIV positive and was treated at a hospital in central Phetchabun Province.
Earlier Nat S. and Suwicha T. were found guilty of lèse majesté and under the Computer Crime Act on charges involving Esteban in 2009.
Suwicha was sentenced to 20 years in prison for allegedly joining Esteban in defaming the monarchy. The sentence was halved because he pleaded guilty. He served about a year in jail before receiving a royal pardon in 2010.
Nat was sentenced to nine years in jail for sending an e-mail to Esteban with content deemed lèse majesté. The police found Nat’s e-mail after hacking into Esteban’s e-mail account. However, the sentence was reduced by half since Nat pleaded guilty. Nat was granted early release in 2008 after serving about three years in jail.