Activist Parit Chiwarak read out a statement during a hearing questioning the court's decision to reject bail for those who were charged with the royal defamation law and declaring that he would be fasting as an act of protest against the decision.
Parit Chiwarak (Courteasy of Banrasdr Photo)
The hearing was related to the 19 - 20 September 2020 protest, in which 9 people were charged with the royal defamation law and are being detained pending trial. Other 12 people were also charged in relation to the protest, but were granted bail.
Despite the judge's refusal to hear Parit's statement, he stood on a chair and read it out loud, as others in the room surrounded him to prevent court police from removing him from the room.
The statement reads:
To all the honorable judges,
Section 112 of Criminal Code is a law that is cruel, uncivilized, and backward. It is not accepted by the international community and it continues to bring disgrace to the nation and to the monarchy in the eyes of the world community. This law stigmatizes criticism of the monarchy as an offense. Even if those criticisms can be proven to be the truth, they are still offenses and incur a severe punishment of a maximum 15-year jail sentence. It can be counted as a law that entirely contravenes natural law, raising the monarchy to a deity whose whatever actions are without fault while pressing the people into servitude, without rights, without a voice to fairly speak for themselves, as they see the deity draining the blood, taking away the flesh before their eyes, this inhumane crushing of thought and harrying the rights and liberties of Thai people. It is no different from a thumbscrew or squeezing of the temples which was the punishment for those who had different political views in the ancient times.
Section 112 of the criminal code remains an evil cancer that’s been masticating Thai democracy the entire time. In this past decade of political conflict, Section 112 has been used as a weapon countless times to stab those on the opposite side of the the political divide, especially after 2014, the year when the dictator Prayut Chan-o-cha, citing the reason of protecting the monarchy, carried out a coup that overthrew the democratic government. There were many hundreds of patriots who cherished democracy and who did not surrender to the power of dictatorship and who were imprisoned in the name of the monarchy. Their right to bail so they could fight their case were denied without having been convicted of any crime whatsoever.
I would like to ask the honorable judges, when the judiciary has the duty of allaying conflicts through facilitating justice to the people, for what reason have you created conflicts by joining with dictators to rob justice from the hands of the people? And when the criminal court is the place of truth, where the truth must be brought forward and proved, for what reason do you imprison truth, not allow truth to be allowed bail so that it can prove itself, or it is that you so loath and so fear the truth that you have to rush to imprison it and cause torment, and hoping that such suffering and torment will be able to crush the truth and shatter it?
But the truth is the truth, whether it’s in a prison, in a machine of torture, or it is at the pillar of execution. The truth is still the truth. No matter how much suffering your imprisoning me causes, that suffering cannot destroy the truth. I am happy to accept the sufferent that you impose and I will ask to bring even more suffering on myself. Therefore, from this day forward, I will ask to fast and sustain myself on only water, sweetened water, and milk until you return to your common sense by granting my right to bail and be able to fight my case for myself, along with all those charged with Section 112 and all those charged with political offenses, or until my life is no more.
I do not intend to take my own life but I ask for self-mortification so that the torment that happens to me is a testimony to the injustice that has occurred, a spark that pricks your conscience and serves as proof that the truth is not afraid of any suffering whatsoever. If I have to give up my life, I am glad to give it up so that one day our country will not have an Article 112, there will be no political prisoners, and the three demands will be fulfilled. Thailand will belong equally and entirely to all Thai people.
“Feudalism shall perish. Long live the people.”
15 March 2021
The letter was originally translated and published at the Isaan Record on 16 March 2021.