Another democracy activist threatened with lèse majesté law

The Thai military has threatened a prominent anti-junta activist from the New Democracy Movement (NDM) with the lèse majesté law over a Facebook post.

On 8 December 2016, Chanoknan Ruamsap, a key member of NDM, posted a message on her Facebook account explaining that the military contacted her family while she was in Brazil.  

“My mother just called me from Thailand, telling me that the military called her to talk about the Facebook status I posted three days ago about the monarchy. [They] said I might be detained at the airport once I return to Thailand … for an offence under Article 112 [of the Criminal Code]” wrote Chanoknan on her Facebook account.

The activist added, “To any soldier who might read this message, inform your units that pressuring my family will not shut me up.”

Chanoknan said that she does not believe that that any of her Facebook posts are defamatory to the Thai Monarchy.

On 3 December, she shared on Facebook a biography of King Vajiralongkorn, Rama X, published by BBC Thai. On 5 December she shared another article published by the Daily Telegraph about King Rama X.

Authorities are currently investigating whether the BBC Thai article on King Rama X, which has already been censored, violates the lèse majesté law. Many ultra-royalists have criticised BBC Thai for the article, saying that its content defames to the new King of the country. Nevertheless the article was shared by almost 3000 other users.

On 3 December, police officers arrested Jatuphat Boonpattaraksa, a key member of the New Democracy Movement (NDM) anti-junta activist group, for sharing the biography on his Facebook account. After one day of detention, Khon Kaen Provincial Court granted him bail to a tune of 400,000 baht.

Chanoknan will have to stand trial at the Military Court of Bangkok on 23 December over an unrelated charge of defying the Thai junta’s ban on political gatherings. The National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) Order No. 3/2015 prohibits political gatherings of five or more persons.

She and five other key members of the NDM were indicted for organising a field trip to Prachuap Khiri Khan province to investigate the Rajabhakti Park corruption scandals.

 
Chanoknan Ruamsap, a key member of NDM