Suspects in alleged terrorist plot indicted for lèse majesté

Military prosecutors have charged suspects in an alleged Bike for Dad terrorist plot under the lèse majesté law; the suspects continue to plead innocent.  

Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) reported that on Tuesday, 23 February 2016, Benjarat Meetian, a defence lawyer for suspects in the alleged Bike for Dad terrorist plot, visited her clients, Nattapon Na-wanlae, Wanlop Boonchan, and Weerachai Chaboonmee, at the remand facility in the 11th Military Circle on Rama V Rd., Bangkok.      

The lawyer informed the suspects that military prosecutors from the Judge Advocate General’s Department had charged them with offences under Article 112 of the Criminal Code, the lèse majesté law.

In additional to the lèse majesté charges, the three suspects are accused of crimes under Article 14 of the 2007 Computer Crime Act for allegedly contacting each other online while planning to stage an attack on the cycling rally in celebration of the King.

The three were arrested and have been detained since late November 2015. Pol Gen Srivara Rangsibrahmanakul, Deputy Police Commissioner, told the media last year that there are altogether nine suspects in the case, most of whom are associated with the ‘Khon Kaen Model’ uprising, an alleged 2014 plot by an anti-establishment red shirt group in Khon Kaen to take up arms against the coup-makers.

Pol Gen Srivara added that one of the planned operations of the foiled terrorist plot was the assassination of Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha, the junta leader and Prime Minister.  

Yesterday, Benjarat told TLHR that the three were devastated upon hearing that they were indicted and that they maintain that they are innocent.

She added that one of the suspects informed her that he was summoned by the authorities as a witness on the case, but when he reported to the authorities, he was arrested.

The defence lawyer also reported that she and her clients hadno freedom to talk privately during the visit because two military officers were monitoring their conversation all the time.

In December 2015, 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 a criminal defamation charge against Benjarat.

The military officers filed the complaint against Benjarat after she filed a complaint on 29 November 2015 under Articles 172, 173, 174, 181, and 328 against Maj Gen Wicharn and Pol Gen Srivara Rangsibrahmanakul, the Deputy Police Commissioner, for allegedly filing false charges and defaming her client, Thanakrit Thongngernperm, another suspect in the same case.

Despite the fact that Thanakrit has been in detention for more than a year since shortly after the 2014 coup d’état as he is one of the 26 suspects in the ‘Khon Kaen Model’ uprising case, the police claimed that he contacted other suspects via mobile phone from the prison cells.