Arrest for running satirical FB page

On 21 September, Narin (surname not revealed) was arrested on suspicion of violating the Computer Crime Act, says Thai Lawyers for Human Rights. The 31-year-old has been accused of running a Facebook page which produces political memes involving the monarchy. 

He went live on Facebook to defend himself when police raided his home in Bang Sue District.

The eight officers in the raid from the Technology Crime Suppression Division (TCSD) were led by Pol Lt Col Phakhin Kraikittichan. Only one was wearing a uniform.

Pol Capt Charat Milam read out a search warrant saying that the court authorized the police to search from 14.30-18.00 on 21 September. They pressured Narin to open the door when they arrived at 16.30.

The cell phone he used to go live on Facebook was seized along with his other phone.  A tablet, a security camera and its sim card, and three portable computers were also confiscated. One of the computers in his home does not belong to him.

Narin were detained for two nights.

On 21 September, he was brought to the TCSD Office in the Government Complex at 19.00. The process went slowly while his lawyer claimed that the police had no authority to confiscate Narin’s electronic devices.

The police only had a search warrant, but the seizure required a separate court order under the Computer Crime Act.  

Narin was accused of violating Section 14 (2), (3), and (5) of the Computer Crime Act for publishing 4 posts on a Facebook page ‘GuKult’ in August 2019, satirising and attacking the monarchy.

Section 14 of the Computer Crime Act can put Narin in prison for a maximum of 5 years and make him pay a fine of up to 100,000 baht for posting anything which threatens Thai security, the economy, or public safety.

Narin denied all the accusations. He was taken to Tungsonghong Police Station where he spent one night.

On 22 September, the investigation officers went to court to request a confiscation authorization after they had already seized the devices. They also requested the court’s permission to access the devices, invoking Sections 18 and 19 of the Computer Crime Act.

The police asked him to give them the passwords after Pol Col Phichet Khamphiranon read the court order to him. With regard to the computer which does not belong to Narin, he said the owner must also go through the same process as Narin.

Pol Col Phichet Khamphiranon said the police were unable to request in time a court order to transfer Narin to prison, so he had to spend another night at Tungsonghong Police Station. 

Narin was released on bail of 100,000 baht on 23 September and must appear before the court again on 10 November. The police tried to make a case not to allow a bailout reasoning that he may escape or interfere with evidence.

Source: 
https://prachatai.com/journal/2020/09/89634