Submitted on Tue, 2015-02-10 12:22
Three lèse majesté suspects accused of being involved in a copycat lèse majesté Facebook page were released on Tuesday morning after being detained for almost three months.
The three are Jaruwan E., 26, Anon, 22, and Chat, 20. The three were accused of using a Facebook page under the real name of Jaruwan to defame the King. The police charged them with offences under Article 112 of the Criminal Code and Article 14 of the Computer Crime Act (importing illegal computer content).
At around Tuesday 11 am, Jaruwan was released from the Central Women's Correctional Centre, while Anon and Chat were released from the Central Remand Prison at around 1.15 pm.
Jaruwan’s elder sister cried when reunited with Jaruwan. Their father has prepared two pig heads to present to a shrine in their hometown in Phetchabun to give thanks for her release, Jaruwan’s sister told Prachatai.
The military prosecutor dropped the case after the suspect had been detained for almost three months.
This is the first time that the military Judge Advocate General has set free 112 suspects.
Jaruwan's sister (left) is reunited with Jaruwan (right) at the Women’s Correctional Centre
The three were arrested in mid-November 2014. They were accused of being involved in the Facebook page “Jaruwan E. (full surname)” which posted explicit lèse majesté content and photos of Jaruwan. The military arrested Jaruwan. She denied all allegations, saying that she did not have control over the page and she believed that the page was a ploy by a disappointed admirer to cause her trouble, suspecting that “Chat”, a friend of "Anon" her boyfriend, was behind the Facebook page. The military then arrested the two men, one of whom cannot read or write.
Jaruwan said she earlier faced similar ploys to cause her trouble on Facebook such as posts saying that she sells sex, and posts which insulted her female friend whose boyfriend is a police officer.
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.
Thai Netizen Network in 2011 recorded several cases of copycat Facebook pages/profiles which posted explicit lèse majesté material as a ploy to cause trouble to ultra-royalists using the laws they themselves support.
Jaruwan left school after 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.
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