Military prosecutes poet, social and labour rights activists, and hospital mental case

Thai Lawyers for Human Rights have announced details of six cases they are defending brought by Thailand’s military officers. 

The cases which start next week include social and labour activists, a poet and even a person with a long history of mental problems, the lawyers group claims. One of the defendants alleges he was tortured.

The following is the statement by Thai Lawyers for Human Rights.

March 2015: Hearings on six cases handled by the Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR)

In March 2015, there will be hearings of six cases including five in the Military Court and one in the Court of Justice assisted by the Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) as follows;

1. The case against Sombat Boonngamanong, aka “Bor Kor Lai Jud” for disobeying the summonses and Article 368 of the Penal Cord (Black case no. O1515/2557, District Court of Dusit)

The District Court of Dusit fixed the date to hear the results of the witness examination conducted in another court on 2 March 2015 at 09.00am.

It stems from that on 26 January 2015, the District Court of Dusit has referred witness examination to the District Court of Chonburi in the Black Case no. PO3/2558 since the witness resides in the province of Chonburi. One witness was supposed to give evidence including Maj. Ekasit Nongnut, a military official of the 21st Infantry Regiment the King’s Guard at the Nawamin Rajini Military Camp, Chonburi. Invoking Martial Law, the arrest of Mr. Sombat was made by the military and he was held in military custody. After the completion of the witness examination, the District Court of Chonburi asked fixed the date to hearing result at the District Court of Dusit.

Mr. Sombat Boonngamanong, a social activist, through electronic media including facebook and twiiter,  was alleged to have persuaded people to commit a symbolic act against the coup. On 24 May 2014, the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) issued an order no, 3/2557 summoning Mr. Sombat, but he failed to turn himself in.  Thus, he was arrested and held in custody invoking Martial Law .His arrest was me invoking Martial Law and the police press charge against them to cause public uprising and a violation of the order to report oneself.

2. The case against Sombat Boonngamanong, aka “Bor Kor Lai Jud” for violating Article 116 of the Penal Code and the Computer Crime Act (Black Case no. 24K/2557 Bangkok Military Court)

The Bangkok Military Court fixed the dates for prosecution witness examination on 10, 13 and 30 March 2015at 08.30am.

On 10 March, the Court shall issue a warrant to summon the prosecution witness no.1, Pol Col. Prutchaya Prasansuk, to give evidence as he had conducted an investigation to determine that the accused had inputted data into the computer system including messages of incitement to persuade people to come out and oppose the seizure of power by the NCPO.

On 13 March, the Court shall issue a warrant to summon the prosecution witness no.2, Pol Capt. Metha Pimapirittiya, who together with the prosecution witness no. 1, has carried out the investigation to ascertain the guilt of the accused as per the allegation.

3. The case related to alleged possession of explosive material (Black Case no.  137K/2557 Bangkok Military Court)

The Bangkok Military Court fixed the date to give evidence on 5 March 2015 at 08.30am.

There are three accused in this case including Mr. Apichart (last name withheld), accused no.1, Mr. Charoen (last name withheld), accused no.2 and Mr. Nutthapan (last name withheld), accused no.3. The case was indicted with the Bangkok Military Court on charges concerning the possession of explosive material on 4 November 2014. In this case, TLHR has received complaints about an act of torture which has been committed against the accused to force them to confess to the charges while they were held in custody invoking Martial Law.

4. The case against Jittra Cotchadet for disobeying summonses (Black Case no.  28K/2557 Bangkok Military Court)

The Bangkok Military Court fixed the date to hearing the decision after a request has been made to ask the Constitutional Court to review if the law invoked in this case was in breach of the Constitution or not. And the prosecution witness examination is slated to take place on 6 March 2015 at 8.30am with Col. Burin Thongpraphai as the complainant.

Ms. Jittra Cotchadet, a social activist and Former President of the Triumph International Labour Union of Thailand who has been actively to promoting labour rights and democracy was summoned to report herself to the NCPO on 1 June 2014 as per the NCPO Order no.44/2557 and her name was on no.10 of the list, but she failed to turn herself in since she was still in Sweden. She had chosen to report herself to the Embassy of Thailand in Stockholm instead, but the officials there refused to acknowledge her reporting. Thus, she had made a written explanation to the NCPO stating that she had no intent to disobey to the summonses. Upon her return to Thailand on 13 June 2014, she was nabbed by the immigration officer at the Suvarnabhumi Airport and the Judge Advocate indicted her case with the Military Court on 31 July 2014. 

5. The case against Mr. Samak (last name withheld) for violating Article 112 (Lese Majeste) of the Penal Code, for property damage and for carrying knives in public way or village without necessary reasons (Black Case no. 8K/2557 Chiang Rai Military Circle Court)

The Chiang Rai Military Circle Court fixed the date for prosecution witness examination on 10 March 2015 at 08.30am. 

The accused in this case suffers from mental illness and in the past several years has been receiving treatment from local hospital. The case against him stems from an incidence on 8 July 2014 when he was alleged to destroy a portrait of the King at the entranced of his village using a knife.

6. The case against Mr. Sirapob Kornarus for disobeying the summonses (Black Case no.  40K/2557 Bangkok Military Court)

The Bangkok Military Court fixed the date for prosecution witness examination on 27 March 2015 at 08.30am and the witness to continue his evidence giving is Col. Burin Thongpraphai, the complainant.

Sirapob Kornarus is an online poet known for his pen name “Roong Sila”. On 1 June 2014, the NCPO issued an order no. 44/2557 summoning individuals to report themselves including Sirapob no. 22 on the list, but he had failed to report himself as requested. Thus, he was nabbed and held in custody at the 1st Military Circle invoking Martial Law and then brought to the police for prosecution for violation of Article 112 of the Penal Code. For disobeying the summonses, his case has been indicted with the Court on 15 August 2014.  

4 thoughts on “Military prosecutes poet, social and labour rights activists, and hospital mental case

  1. During his birthday speech in 2005, King Bhumibol Adulyadej encouraged criticism of himself:

    "Actually, I must also be criticised. I am not afraid of the criticism concerns what I do wrong, because then I know. Because if you say the king cannot be criticised, it means that the king is not human." He later added, "If the king can do no wrong, it is akin to looking down upon him because the king is not being treated as a human being. But the King can do wrong," in reference to those he was appealing to not to overlook his human nature. While the King indicated that he could be criticised, it should be for constructive reason and not politically motivated.

    The people using this lese majeste law are using it as a political tool to stifle free speech and silence people with a different point of view. Thailand has no hope of moving forward democratically if different points of view are not accepted. Thailand is supposed to be the land of the free and dissent is part and parcel of democracy -even if it is offends some people.

  2. Tommy's right. But times change and Thailand is moving to another era. It's precisely because democracy isn't working that we are in the present situation and it doesn't help that the foreign media are not reporting the "other side" of what the present government is doing and why. (I assume that's why GW isn't commenting and he's right not to do so. Unfortunately not many people can read between the lines and to be entirely open about events can get troublesome )

    And there's a misunderstanding of what the Thais actually think because the media and most westerners look at Thai culture with western eyes. Democracies aren't working in the West (Look at the problems Obama has with automatic opposition to all his policies although he was elected by the American people. Look at the how most people in the UK have given up on our "elected" political class. (Straw, Rifkind) )

    The Thais see how democracy does not work and are culturally tuned anyway to a feudal system (and that applied under the Shiniwatra-led administrations as well as governments of other parties.)

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