Bundit Aneeya, a 74 year-old writer charged with lèse majesté for the second time, has decided not to plead guilty in the military court and to fight the case.
Bangkok Military Court on Tuesday morning held a deposition hearing for a man known by his pen name of Bundit Aneeya, an elderly independent writer and translator who is charged with lèse majesté.
Bundit, however, pleaded innocent and will fight the case.
“I believe that I’m innocent and didn’t do anything wrong,” the defendant told Prachatai.
The court scheduled the preliminary hearing for Bundit at 8.30 am on 22 June 2015.
Due to the severity of the jail terms given by the military court in lèse majesté cases, most suspects decide to plead guilty so that the court will reduce the jail term by half.
Bundit was indicted for offences under Article 112 of the Criminal Crime Code, known as the lèse majesté law, on 19 February after making comments that allegedly defamed the monarchy during a seminar.
The seminar, organized by Waranchai Chokchana, was held on 26 November 2014, in Bangkok and was attended by about 15 people. Bundit was arrested at the seminar although he had not even finished his speech.
According to the case filed by the prosecutor, the alleged lèse majesté comment was made after the panel ended.
“My point is now Thai people are separated into two sides: The one which is in favour of a monarchy which does not abide by the law, as the head of the state,” said Bundit. Then Bundit asked about two choices concerning the monarchy. “which one ...” Bundit was arrested by police before he could finish his sentence. (The phrase in italics is a paraphrase in order to avoid repeating the alleged lèse majesté content.)
Bundit has been released on 400,000 baht (12,270 USD) bail due to his age and poor health. He is one of the few lèse majesté suspects granted bail by the military court.
The writer, who has been diagnosed with psychosis, has only one kidney and has to carry a urine drainage bag with him all the time.
In February 2014, the self-taught writer and translator, who has written and translated over 30 books, was found guilty by the Supreme Court under Article 112 for his comments at a seminar and sentenced to four years in jail, but the jail term was suspended for three years due to his mental illness. The allegedly lèse majesté comment that he made pointed out the general opinion of Thais toward the monarchy. If convicted again, his jail terms will accumulate.