6, including human rights lawyer, arrested for lèse majesté

The Criminal Court has detained six people accused of royal defamation for sharing a Facebook post of an academic in self-imposed exile who the junta has blacklisted.  

On 3 May 2017, the Criminal Court on Ratchadaphisek Rd., Bangkok, granted the police permission to detain six people accused of violating Article 112 of the Criminal Code, the lèse majesté law.

They were arrested by police and military officers separately in different parts of the country in late April.

According to Anon Nampa, a human rights lawyer, the six are accused of lèse majesté for sharing a Facebook post about the missing 1932 Revolution Plaque posted by Somsak Jeamteerasakul, an academic currently living in a self-imposed exile in France.

Two of the six are Prawet Praphanukul, a human rights lawyer and Danai (surname withheld due to privacy concerns), 34, a political dissident from Chiang Mai. The identities of four other detainees are still unknown.   

The six will be detained for an initial custody period of 12 days with the possibility of further renewals by the court.   

Anon added that Prawet is also accused under Article 116 of the Criminal Code, the sedition law.

Since 4 October 2016, Prachatai has received reports of at least six cases of intimidation against people who follow Somsak.

On 14 April 2017, the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society (MDES) issued a letter, forbidding Thai citizens from sharing online content with or about Somsak, Andrew MacGregor Marshall, a well-known Scottish journalist who used to be based in Bangkok, and Pavin Chachavalpongpun, another Thai academic in exile.

Anyone defying the ban could face imprisonment under the Computer Crime Act (CCA), stated the MDES letter.