Supreme Court summons academic for ‘contempt of court’

Sarinee Achavanuntakul, writer, translator, and independent researcher, has been summonsed by the Election Cases Division of the Supreme Court after she was accused of contempt of court for the publication of an article in the Krungthep Turakit newspaper, says TLHR.

Sarinee Achavanuntakul

Sarinee said she received the summons on Sunday (25 August). The summons said that she has been accused of contempt of court for the publication of her article “The danger of excessive rule by law (again): the case of MP candidates’ media shares” ("อันตรายภาวะนิติศาสตร์ล้นเกิน (อีกที) กรณีหุ้นสื่อของผู้สมัครส.ส.") in Krungthep Turakit on 14 May 2019.

A copy of a memorandum attached to the summons states that the civil case was filed by Supradit Jeensawake, Secretary of the Supreme Court’s Election Cases Division. Supradit said that the article criticized the Supreme Court, saying that the Court was careless in its interpretation of the law preventing individuals with shares in media companies from running as MP candidates and that this interpretation is dangerous. Supradit also said that the article accused the Election Cases Division of the Supreme Court of using the law incessantly and interpreting it without considering the facts and the spirit of the law. Supradit thinks that Sarinee did not criticize the Court’s ruling with pure intentions, but is attacking the Court.

Sarinee and two others are required to report to the Supreme Court on the morning of 9 September to testify in the case against them. Her article in Krungthep Turakit has since been taken down from the paper’s website.

Earlier this week, Associate Professor Dr Kovit Wongsurawat, a lecturer in political sciences at Kasetsart University was also summoned to meet the Secretary-General of the Office of the Constitutional Court for an “inappropriate” tweet in which he called the Constitutional Court “shameless” for not suspending 32 MPs who also hold shares in media companies.