Submitted on Fri, 20 Mar 2015 - 10:15 AM
The military court sentenced an elderly man to three years in jail for writing messages defaming the King on a toilet wall, but since the defendant pleaded guilty, the jail term was halved to one year and six months.
The military court on Friday morning found Opas C., 67, guilty of writing a lèse majesté message in a restroom of Seacon Square shopping mall in eastern Bangkok.
Due to Opas's poor health, Sauvakon C., Opas's wife, wrote a letter asking the court for mercy. The court explained that it cannot suspend the jail term because the message defamed the King and the jail term given is not severe.
“From the message, it is clear that the message written by the defendant was intended to defame and insult the current King,” the judge said.
Two observers from international human rights organization were present at the courtroom.
The alleged lèse majesté messages read: “The government of clowns that robbed the nation, led by f*** Prayut. They have issued ridiculous policies of amateur comedians. Their main job is to use the monarchy (uncle [censored by Prachatai*]). Their main weapon is Article 112. I’m sick of seeing your face [Prayut] every day. It tells me that you [Prayut] are near the end because of the looming internal conflict.”
Opas was caught by guards at Seacon Square mall in eastern Bangkok on 15 October 2014 and later handed over to the military by mall personnel. He has remained in custody in Bangkok Remand Prison since.
The court repeatedly denied his bail requests although the defendant is diabetic and is battling with retinopathy. According to Sasinan Thamnithinan, a lawyer from Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) who represents the defendant, Opas has suffered from symptoms of neurosis, which have developed since his arrest.
Opas told Prachatai that his health has been deteriorating because the medical facilities in prison are extremely limited.
“They have no equipment to treat me. I submitted a letter to ask if they could send me to hospitals outside the prison for two months, but there has been no reply,” said Opas.
Opas’s wife told Prachatai that since his arrest, a letter condemning Opas for defaming the monarchy was sent to her house.
“There were even some people who came to search for him around the neighbourhood and asked for his whereabouts. They also spread rumours that my husband is a criminal who has committed a serious public indecency” she added.
Opas is facing another lèse majesté charge for another message he wrote in a different restroom of the same department store on the same day. This case is now under investigation.