Military court detains two junta critics and supporter for lѐse majesté

The Military Court has detained two of the eight junta critics and another political dissident after they were charged under the lѐse majesté law.

The Military Court of Bangkok at 3:30 pm on Wednesday, 11 May 2016, granted a police request to detain Harit Mahaton and Natthika Worathaiwich, suspects under Article 112 of the Criminal Code, the lѐse majesté law.  

The two are among the eight abducted junta critics who have been charged with sedition for allegedly being involved in Facebook pages that mock Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha, the junta leader and Prime Minister, including a Facebook page called ‘We Love Gen Prayut’.

Unlike the other six, however, they are also accused of lѐse majesté for sending messages deemed to have defamed the Thai Monarchy in a private Facebook chat.

According to Winyat Chatmontree, the defence lawyer for the two, the court denied them bail, citing flight risk, the possibility that they might attempt to distort evidence and the seriousness of the offence.

The two have so far been in custody for more than two weeks. They were abducted by the military and taken to a military site on 27 April before the Military Court issued arrest warrants for them one day after their abduction.  

On the same day, Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) reported that the Military Court of Bangkok for the second time granted police from the Technology Crime Suppression Division (TCSD) permission to detain Burin Intin, a suspect under Article 112 of the Criminal Code and Article 14/3 of the Computer Crime Act, a law on the importation of illegal online content.

Burin is accused of defaming the monarchy via Facebook.

He was arrested by the police for gathering with 15 other activists to show solidarity with the abducted junta critics on 27 April. He was then taken from the police by soldiers and detained at a military base before the Military Court granted the first custody request.

The court reasoned that the TCSD police have not yet completed the investigation and interrogation process and that the defence lawyer in the case has no money to submit a bail request.

The three lѐse majesté suspects will be detained at Bangkok Remand Prison and Central Women’s Correctional Institute for 12 days with the possibility that their detention in remand will be further extended.

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