A year after arrest, 1st witness testify in lese majeste case against Anchan

When Anchan was arrested last year, she was 58 years old and was about to retired after working for the Revenue Department for more than 30 years. Because she has become a lese majeste suspect, she will not get any pension and benefits.
Anchan P., a 58 year old Revenue Department employee of over 30 years, was one of the first among 10 people arrested in early 2015. The military raided her house and arrested her on 25 January 2015, and she was taken to a military camp. Her whereabouts were unknown until the police held a press conference on the sixth day of her arrest. 
Anchan continues to be incarcerated since her arrest last year. An attempt to request bail was denied. Having endured over a year behind bars, of 24 January 2016, the first plaintiff witness has finally testified in court. The witness, Pol Lt Col Olarn Sukkasem from the Technological Crime Suppression Division, is highly recognized for his ability to close numerous lese majeste cases following the 2014 coup. 
The second plaintiff witness scheduled to testify to the military court is slated for 16 May 2016. There are nine defense witnesses to be called to testify in Anchan’s case. The list of defense witnesses are not revealed. 
It is difficult at this juncture to predict the ending of this trial. Scheduling for the testimonies of the defense witnesses have not yet been made. It is hard to estimate when the legal procedure will end. Like other lese majeste cases tried by the military court, the trial of this case will be in  camera. 
Anchan’s predicament is markedly harsher than other suspects in the Banpodj Network, a collective group of 12 that is charged with lese majeste for producing videos and audio recordings considered critical of the Thai monarchy. For most of those implicated in the Banpodj Network their charges are lumped into one offence, while Anchan’s have not. The Department of Special Investigation pressed lese majeste charge with 29 offences on Anchan and pressed six offences on Tara, another suspect. The case against the others, including Banpodj himself, are under the care of the Technological Crime Suppression Division (TCSD), while Anchan’s and Tara’s are under the Department of Special Investigation. 
TCSD filed only one charge against 12 defendants. All of them face only one offence. 
  • Eights defendants have plead guilty and were sentenced to five years in jail: Hassadin (real name of Banpodj), Damrong, Paisit, (who’s about to be completely blind soon), Kornrat, Tiprachaya, Wittaya, Nongnut and Korawan. 
  • Two defendants plead guilty and were sentenced to three years in jail: Saifon and Natee. Both face less severe jail terms than the above because the court ruled that their guilt stems from their support of the offense of lese majeste. 
  • Two people are fighting their charges: Nguenkoon and Siwaporn. They have petitioned to both civilian and military courts to be tried by the civilian court given their offences took place before the coup. 
Ironically, Banpodj, who was accused of being the head of the movement, and producing more than 100 lese majeste voice clips, faced only one offence, while Anchan who was accused of being the finance officer of of the group and uploading the clips faces 29 offences. 
The military prosecutor accused Anchan of publicising the clips on two platforms, Youtube and Facebook, by using various usernames, such as anchana siri, Malee root, un un and Petch Prakery. The clips were uploaded from 12 November 2014 to 24 January 2015. 
The military prosecutor sued her for every upload. Most of the alleged lese majeste remarks in each clip involve rumors about the King’s health.  Since they are counting each upload as a separate charge, there are six clips that land Anchan into 13 offences because of alleged multiple uploads on both Youtube and Facebook with one particular clip was uploaded three times. 


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