Court denies bail for detainees arrested for sharing FB post on 1932 plaque

The Criminal Court has refused to release two detainees accused of lèse majesté for sharing the Facebook post of an academic blacklisted by the junta.   

On 4 May 2017, the Criminal Court on Ratchadaphisek Rd., Bangkok, denied bail requests of 790,000 and 900,000 baht for two detainees accused of violating Article 112 of the Criminal Code, the lèse majesté law.

The two are among six people arrested by police and military officers on 29 April 2017. They are accused of lèse majesté and violations of the Computer Crime Act for sharing a Facebook post about the missing 1932 Revolution Plaque posted by Somsak Jeamteerasakul, an academic currently living in self-imposed exile in France.

On 3 May The court granted the police permission to remand the six in custodyafter they were detained for several days at the 11th Military Circle in Bangkok.

Three of them are identified as Prawet Praphanukul, a human rights lawyer, and Danai and Wannachai, political dissidents who requested that their surnames not be revealed. Three other detainees requested to remain anonymous.

Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) reported that some of the detainees were blindfolded after they were arrested by the military who did not present warrants for their arrest or searches of their houses.

According to Prawet, once he was taken to the 11th Military Circle, the military did not allow him to contact anyone. It was only when he staged a hunger strike for one day that the officers allowed him to make a phone call which they monitored.

Prawet faces 10 counts of lèse majesté, and violations of Article 116 of the Criminal Code, the sedition law, and Article 14 of the Computer Crime Act. He could receive up to 157 years in prison if found guilty.  

Danai is also accused under the sedition law.

The six will be detained for an initial custody period of 12 days from 3 to 14 May with the possibility of further renewals by the court.  

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.

The MDES letter stated that anyone defying the ban could face imprisonment under the Computer Crime Act (CCA).