Activist taken from sickbed to face lèse majesté charges

Plainclothes officers have reportedly arrested from his sickbed one of the activists calling for a probe into the Rajabhakti Park corruption scandals to face lèse majesté and sedition charges.   

At about 12:10 pm on Sunday, 13 December 2015, two officers in plainclothes reportedly arrested Thanet A., a 25-year-old activist who was one of more than 30 activists detained last week en route to Rajabhakti Park, a royal theme park constructed by the military and plagued with corruption allegations.

The officers allegedly took him from his sickbed while he was in Sirindhorn Hospital, Bangkok.

The Bangkok Post reported that Thanet was taken to the temporary prison in the 11th Military Circle on Nakhon Chaisi Road, Bangkok, for interrogation. He will be held for at least seven days before being transferred for further proceedings at the Crime Suppression Division.

The arrest warrant for Thanet was approved on Saturday. He faces charges under Article 112 (the lèse majesté law) and Article 116 (the sedition law) of the Criminal Code, and the 2007 Computer Crime Act.

The young activist was charged with sharing an infographic about Rajabhakti Park which implicates Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha, the junta leader and Prime Minister, and his wife in alleged corruption.  

The authorities also alleged that he joined the red shirt demonstrations in 2010 and posted online messages deemed to be defamation of the Thai monarchy.

The activist could be imprisoned for up to 27 years if found guilty.

Last Tuesday, 8 December 2015, security officers invoked their authority under Section 44 of the Interim Constitution, which gives them absolute power to maintain national security, to arrest Thanakorn S., a 27-year-old factory worker, at his house in Samut Prakan Province.

Similar to Thanet, Thanakorn faces sedition and computer crime charges for sharing an infographic on Rajabhakti park online.

Later, Maj Gen Wicharn Jodtaeng, the head of the law office of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), and Col Burin Thongprapai, a member of the military Judge Advocate General’s Department, filed additional charges against Thakakorn under the lèse majesté law.  

The military officers said that on 2 December, Thanakorn clicked ‘like’ on ‘inappropriate’ Facebook pictures. Although the officers did not disclose any information about the Facebook. pictures, they alleged that Thanakorn’s actions defamed the Thai monarchy and threatened national security.

According to Matichon Online, police investigators are now gathering information and evidence to press charges against 20 administrators of an anti-establishment red-shirt Facebook group called ‘the National Red Shirts Association’, of which Thanakorn was a member.

Hundreds of members of the Facebook page will also be charged under the lèse majesté law for pressing ‘like’ on pictures and content allegedly defaming the Thai monarchy, Matichon reported.

The authorities added earlier that the red-shirt Facebook group is an ‘anti-government’ and ‘anti-monarchy’ group, with about 60,000 members.