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Songkran with Sighs

We’re going to have to find something else.

You mean sedition won’t be enough?  But he’s admitted giving that chappy a ride home and he’s now in his party, thick as thieves.  Cut and dried for a military court, surely.

Well, yes, they may make that stretch to aiding and abetting in escaping arrest.  But even then it’s not going to look good in court when they show that the NCPO rep who persuaded the students to leave the police station at the time is the same officer who is now bringing charges of evading arrest. 

Oh.  Maybe we shouldn’t have had him put his name on the docket.

How do you stop him?  Anything legal to do with these pro-democracy anarchists and he’s bound to turn up and sue somebody for something. 

Well it was 4 years ago.  Maybe when he testifies, he can say that on mature reflection, with the passage of time, he’s changed his mind about what happened.

I don’t think bringing up the 4 years will exactly help.  If this case really is a threat to national security, why have we waited 4 years to bring charges?

Well, we didn’t know how many votes they were going to get in the election until now.

Oh come on.  Even a military court can’t ignore political motivation as blatant as that.

Oh I see.  Will that not look good?

What?  You saw all the embassy types turn up at the police station.  Of course it doesn’t look good.  That’s why they want the whole world to be looking in that direction.

But the Minister has dealt with that, hasn’t he?

Oh yeah?  Here we are, writing our own laws as we go along and then breaking them right, left and centre and he goes and accuses them of breaking some UN rule of diplomacy that nobody’s ever heard of.  Have you not seen the foreign press on this?

No, not really.  None of us in the office can read farang and that translator chap took off for a long Songkran.

Well let me give you a potted summary.  What they’re all saying amounts to ‘Sedition?  Ha bloody ha.’

Oh, I see.  So maybe we can drop the sedition charge and just go with aiding and abetting.

No we can’t, because we need the sedition charge to get it in front of a military court.  Aiding and abetting alone and we’re back with the civilian courts and these days you just can’t trust them.  They’ve just let those Ratchaburi anti-constitution agitators off again.  It’s a lost cause as far as I can see but I suppose we’ll have to take it to the Supreme Court just to tie them up in legal fees.  But heaven knows if that bench of aging brains can come up with the legal pyrotechnics you’d need to change that verdict.

But I thought the judges had all been told to …

Yes, but we can’t expect all of them to do what we want.  Luxury housing in a forest reserve only buys you so much influence.

I see.  So you think this case is a non-starter.

It’s already bloody started.  That’s the problem.  And who knows how it will go.  They win and we look like vindictive bullies who can’t even rig a straightforward political trial.  We’d have Hun Sen and Duterte and all the other dictators laughing up their sleeves at us and there’s nothing gets his nibs pissed off as much as foreigners laughing at him. 

But it’s a military court.  We can order a win if we want.

But on what grounds?  He got pally with some pain in the arse 4 years ago and we’ve now suddenly realized he was really trying to overthrow the system?

Oh, so he wasn’t trying to overthrow the system?

Are you kidding me?  He formed a political party under our rules, he ran in an election under our rules, he’s won lord knows how many seats under our rules.  And all we can find is a clerical error in his CV.  Does that look like they were trying to bring down the state?

Well, have we no hotel room tapes?  There’s dozens of them look ready enough to drop their knickers for a selfie.

No, and the last clip we leaked just increased their Facebook likes. 

Well, we’ll just have to wait for the ECT to dissolve the party and all our troubles will be over.

But don’t you see?  A guilty verdict for sedition was supposed to be the reason for eliminating the party.  The ECT can’t rejig the party-list votes on the principle that ‘every vote counts’ and then promptly disenfranchise the 6.3 million who voted for them for no good reason.

So what are we going to do?

Lord only knows.  We’ve had 4 years to get all this lined up and we can’t even agree on what the rules mean and we wrote the damn things.  Maybe we’ll have to stage another coup and see if we can’t get it right this time.

Ah well, at least it’ll make him over at the Army happy.


About author: Bangkokians with long memories may remember his irreverent column in The Nation in the 1980's. During his period of enforced silence since then, he was variously reported as participating in a 999-day meditation retreat in a hill-top monastery in Mae Hong Son (he gave up after 998 days), as the Special Rapporteur for Satire of the UN High Commission for Human Rights, and as understudy for the male lead in the long-running ‘Pussies -not the Musical' at the Neasden International Palladium (formerly Park Lane Empire).