Thai Police send lèse majesté suspect to psychiatric hospital before indictment

A man accused of lèse majesté for making false claims about the King’s property has been sent to a psychiatric hospital after three months of pre-charge detention.  

According to the Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR), investigating officers of Tung Song Hong Police Station of Bangkok on Thursday, 20 August 2015, sent Sao (surname withheld due to privacy concerns), a suspect under Article 112 of the Criminal Code, the lèse majesté law, to Galya Rajanagarindra Institute in Bangkok, after he had been detained for the maximum period of pre-indictment custody of about three months.

The investigating officers have not yet submitted the case file on the suspect to the prosecutors because the suspect seems to be suffering from mental illness and needs to be treated at the psychiatric hospital, TLHR reported.

The officers responsible for the case have transferred the custody of Sao to Sala Daeng Police Station in central Bangkok where the psychiatric hospital is located.

Sao, a Thai Lue ethnic minority from the northern province of Chiang Rai, is accused by the Criminal Division for Political Office Holders of the Supreme Court of making false claims about the monarchy’s property.

On 13 March 2015, he came to the Criminal Division for Political Office Holders of the Supreme Court to submit a complaint which stated that the controversial former Prime Minister, Thaksin Shinawatra, misallocated the property of the King. He claimed that he was in charge of managing 7 billion baht (196 million USD).

Later, police from Tung Song Hong Police Station summoned him to hear the accusation in late May and held him in custody at the Remand Prison from 28 May to 19 August 2015.

TLHR added that the suspect was earlier imprisoned on cases related to narcotics abuse and that he claimed that he could contact the former PM, Thaksin, by a telepathic method through a TV.

In the past, there have been many lèse majesté suspects with records of mental illness. However, this is the first time that the authorities have sent a lèse majesté suspect who is reportedly suffering from mental illness to a psychiatric hospital before the indictment.