2nd postponement of military court trial of suspect defying junta’s order

The military court has again postponed the trial of a suspect charged with defying an order of the junta in 2014 due to the repeated absence of the first prosecution witness.  

The military court on Friday morning postponed examination of a prosecution witness in a case where Sirapop (family name withheld due to privacy concerns) was charged with defying the junta’s National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) Announcement No. 41/2014 for not reporting to the coup-maker in May 2014.

According to the judge, the examination of the first prosecution witness in the case, Col Burin Thongprapai of the Judge Advocate General’s Office, had to be rescheduled because Col Burin did not show up.

This is the second time that the case has been postponed due to Burin’s absence. It was rescheduled to 6 July.

Burin is the one of the key military personnel involved in arresting and charging suspects for offences under Article 112 of the Criminal Code, known as the lèse majesté law, and other political dissidents after the 2014 coup d’état.   

Sirapop was arrested on 25 June 2014 in northeastern Kalasin Province, while he was fleeing to a neighbouring country, and has since remained in custody in Bangkok Remand Prison.

He has never submitted a bail request to the court and vowed the fight the case to the end.

In the courtroom on Friday, Sirapop told Prachatai “I didn’t comply with the coup-maker’s summons because to me the coup d’état was illegitimate.”

“I only exercised my rights under the 2007 Constitution, which I respect, to peacefully resist the illegitimate military government,” added the defendant.

In addition, Sirapop was indicted for offences under Article 112 of the Criminal Code and Article 14 of the Computer Crime Act (importing illegal content into a computer system) for composing and posting lèse majesté poems on his personal blog and Facebook page under the pen name ‘Rung Sila.’