Red-shirt suspect denied bail, while yellow-shirt editor gets bail over forged royal statement

The military court on Friday denied bail to a red-shirt suspect accused of posting a forged royal statement, when the court had earlier granted bail to a yellow-shirt media ex-editor facing same accusation.

Krit B. was accused of posting a forged statement of the Bureau of the Royal Household, which said King Bhumibol had decided to appoint a Regent to act on his behalf, on his Facebook page on 2 February. On Friday he submitted a 400,000 baht bail bond to the military court. The court denied the bail request. 

On Tuesday, the court approved a police request to hold in custody Krit and Niran Yaowapa, the former editor of the ultra-royalist ASTV-Manager Online news. On the same day, the military court granted 2.9 million baht bail to Niran, citing that there was no flight risk. Krit however could not collect enough money to ask for bail on that day. 

Niran was accused of circulating the same forged royal statement on the news website. The incident caused ASTV-Manager to demote Niran from the post of editor. 

According to Winyat Chatmontree, the lawyer from Free Thai Legal Aid who is representing Krit, the military court on Friday gave two reasons for the denial of bail: 1) the police investigators were not present when the bail was submitted, so the court was not able to ask whether the police objected to the bail request or not, 2) the case is serious since it involves the revered institution of the monarchy, so bail should not be granted due to the flight risk. 

Winyat said he and the suspect's family were disappointed by the court's decision. On the first reason, the police investigator had testified to the court on Tuesday that the police would not object a bail request. "The court has asked the police and recorded it. Why doesn't the court look at its records, or call the police or summon the police to ask them?" asked the lawyer. 

On the second reason, Winyat said, "Compared with Niran, they face exactly the same accusation, they both have jobs and, in the case of Krit, he is still studying at university. Why does the court think that Niran won't run away, but Krit will?" asked Winyat.

"This is definitely not fair to the suspect and the suspect's family," he added. 

Krit and Niran were accused of offences under Article 112 of the Criminal Code and offences under Article 14 of the Computer Crime Act (distributing false information on a computer system) for distributing the fake statement. He is in his third year at Phetchabun Rajabhat University.

Krit is an active member of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), the main faction of the anti-establishment red shirts.