November 2015: Arrest warrants issued for numbers of lese majeste cases. Students’ activities banned. Fahhai TV shut down.

Period 22 May 2014 – 30 November 2015 November 2015
Number of individuals summoned 798 8
Number of individuals arrested 501 16
Arrests at peaceful demonstrations 212 -
Individuals prosecuted before military court 152 3
Individuals prosecuted before civilian court 47 -
Number of individuals charged with lese majeste offense (Article 112) 56 2
Number of individuals detained under lese majeste charge 46


The Royal Thai Police Headquarters announced the arrest warrants issued for 4 more high-ranking police and army officers for lese majeste. Mor Yong died while in custody.  

Lese majeste charge of the criminal code section 112 during November 201, just like previous months, were still a popular issue among the public.  
There was a rumour during the end of October that Suriyan Sucharitpolwong, aka “Mor Yong”, one of the lese majeste offenders died. General Paiboon Koomchaya, Justice Minister, denied the rumour but confirmed that Suriyan had been sick. Then on 9 November 2015, General Paiboon announced that Suriyan died on 7 November from bloodstream infection.  
Suriyan being escorted to the military court for detention on Oct 21. (Photo by Prachatai Facebook)
Suriyan was the second offender died while being detained at Nakorn Chaisri temporary remand facility (the 11th Military Circle). The death of Suriyan raised questions about the condition of the facility, the treatment to the detainees and the access to medical care. Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) gave an opinion about the deaths of Suriyan and Pol. Maj. Prakrom Warunprapa. They stated that the detention was not appropriate. It was a small solitary confinement without communication to outside. This could have been an abuse of human rights. The TLHR was worried that the facility was located within the military base and was difficult for outsiders to investigate. The TLHR agreed with the Department of Corrections to appoint a committee to investigate the deaths and asked to shut down the facility.         
Other than Suriyan, Pol. Maj. Prakrom and Jirawong Wattanathewasilp, there were 4 more warrants issued for lese majeste, Col. Khachachart Boondee, a staff officer attached to the 3rd Army, warrant issued on 9 November 2015, Maj Gen Suchart Prommai, a special aide to the army, Pol. Col. Pairote Rojkachorn, chief of the 2nd sub-division of the Crime Suppression Division, and Pol. Lt. Col. Thammawat Hiranyalekha, deputy chief of the CSD's 2nd sub-division. The warrants were issued on 25 November 2015.
There has been no confirmation for the arrests of the 4 suspects. Some source suggested that Col. Khachachart had fled to Burma.    
Since the coup of May 2014 until November 2015, there were at least 40 people, who have been charged, arrested or prosecuted for violating a lese majeste offence under Section 112. 

Lese Majeste Case for Expression reoccurred

23 November 2015, General Prawit Wongsuwan, the Deputy Prime Minister and the Defence Minister, informed that there was a group of people plotting unrest during both important events; Loy Krathong Festival and “Bike for Dad” activity. On 26 November 2015, the Royal Thai Police announced the arrests of Pol. Sgt. Maj. Prathin Janket and Nattapon Nawanlae, the two suspects of plotting unrest during the events. The police officers stated they also had had weapons. The suspects had sent and shared messages online that deemed to be violating Section 112 of the Criminal Code. The officers further informed that 7 other people would be sought. And on 27 November 2015, two more suspects were arrested; Wanlop Boonchan and Pahiran Kongkham, in Northeastern region.       
The officers claimed that the suspects of the plot were too involved with the suspects of "Khon Kaen Model", who were arrested on 23 November 2015 before being released on bails while defending the accusation. The lawyer of 1 of the 9 suspects according to the police’s list mentioned that something was suspicious. His client, Thanakrit Thongngernperm, was being detained in Khon Kaen prison at the time. Therefore it was impossible that he would have committed other lese majeste and computer crimes as the officers claimed during the news conference.   
Since the coup of May 2014 until November 2015, there were at least 56 people, who have been charged, arrested or prosecuted for violating a lese majeste offence under Section 112. 

Ekkachai, the convict of ABC's news documentary CD case is free at last.


Ekkachai, the convict of ABC's news documentary CD case, was released.


15 November 2015. Ekkachai, a convict of the criminal code section 112 case, and was found guilty of selling ABC’s news documentary, was now released from Bangkok Remand Prison after serving the sentence.     

Ekkachai was arrested in March 2011 while selling CDs at Sanam Luang after attending a Red Shirt rally. Ekkachai was granted bail while defending his case. But he was convicted and sentenced to 3 years and 4 months in March 2013 by the Court of First Instance. In May 2014, the Appeals Court upheld the Court of First Instance’s ruling, which remained 3 years and 4 months imprisonment. Then in October 2015, the Supreme Court

reduced his sentence to 2 years and 8 months. This made him free and he was released in November 2015.



Electricity shut down, Chairs removed, and being watched at the cinema. Public Activities prohibited in November 2015.

13 November 2015. Seri Non Thri Group, Liberal Kasetsart Group, and New Democracy Movement held a public talk titled “From Tung Bang Khen to Ratchadamnoen: Kasetsart and Thai Politics” at the yard of Building 8, Kasetsart University. Before the beginning, University staff informed them that they were not allowed to hold this event, because the Student Affairs Division had not granted the permission. Some staff started packing their chairs away. The activists insisted and sat down on the ground. After the talk had begun for sometimes, the power was shut down. The place was dark and the sound system failed to work. The activists then lid candles and kept going until 19.00 hrs., according to the schedule. There was a report that the police informed the activists about the event. Should they still held the talk they would be charged due to the Public Assembly Act. The activist insisted and reasoned that it was an academic lecture held in a university, and was not the assembly described by the Act.          


20 November 2015. A group of social activists got together to see The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 at the cinema, Siam Paragon. According to iLaw’s observation, at 17.40 hrs., there were about 15 people who turned up for the event, and at least 20 plainclothes officers in front of the cinema. The officers took some pictures and recorded the activities. One of the activists informed that the movie banners were removed from the cinema foyer. Booking tickets for this timeslot and for the activists was very difficult. They could not book online or buy from an automatic machine. They had to buy from the staff only. The informant also mentioned that the seats behind theirs were fully booked for the whole row. They thought that the officers could have been there watching them in the cinema.       

Public Talk “Lai Prang Gong Chat (Camouflage corrupts the Nation)” after the power was shut down. (Picture by New Democracy Movement Facebook)

21 November 2015. New Democracy Movement (NDM) and League of Liberal Thammasat for Democracy (LLTD) held an exhibition and a talk titled “Camouflage corrupts the Nation” at Sri Burapha Auditorium, Thammasat University, Tha Prachan Campus, from 12.00 – 20.00 hrs. The exhibition and another talk titled “Field Marshal Sarit and the legacy of development era” were held. In the afternoon the officers asked the organisers to remove some of the exhibits. They were about the military hardware and Rajabhakti Park. And only the exhibits of Field Marshal Sarit could still be there. If the organisers did not cooperate they would be forced to finish the event. So the organisers did and the event went on till 18.30 hrs., when University staff shut down the electricity in the Auditorium. The organisers came out and held the talk with a megaphone.     

25 November 2015. The Democracy Study Group held an event “Loy Krathong and Chasing Away Bad Dictatorship” at Thammasat University. One of the activists said about the intervention. Before they began the officers asked the organisers not to hold this. The officers were worried about the event poster that had faces of the Prime Minister and the Defence Minister. The informant also mentioned that the officers forced them to finish by 20.00 hrs. or they would lock the wheels of the speaker truck that they had hired. 


 “Targeted Individual” were “visited” continually.  

11 November 2015. Somsak Jeamteerasakul posted on his Facebook that some army personnel came to his mother’s house. They took picture inside the house. The mother asked who they wanted to see, but they did not answer. 
17 November 2015. Apisit, a NDM activist, posted on his Facebook that 6 army personnel in uniform visited his parents’ house upcountry. A message was passed on to tell Apisit to stop activities or he would face prosecution.   
18 November 2015. Jittra Cotchadet posted on her Facebook that the army personnel took pictures of her sister’s house in Suphan Buri province. The army complained the sister for not reporting to the army when Jittra was home.    
On the same day, Anusorn Eamsaard, Acting Deputy Spokesman of Pheu Thai Party, was invited to the 1st Army Area. It was thought to be the result of he criticised Rajabhakti Park. Anusorn went to the 1st Army Area in the morning and came back in the afternoon on that day.    
27 November 2015. Nat, a former convict of a lese majeste case, who was summoned by the NCPO after the coup, posted oh his Facebook that the army personnel wanted to meet him. Nat asked not to meet him at his house but told them to meet at Big C Lat Phrao instead. The schedule was on 28 November 2015 at 9.00 hrs. After meeting Nat posted again said that the army personnel came to meet targeted people according to their superior’s order. The personnel said that if he traveled upcountry he had to report to the army. And if he attended any political activity he would be watched very closely. There was a staff from TLHR observed during the meeting. 
In November 2015 there were at least 12 people who have been summoned or have been visited by the army personnel, and there were 798 people since the coup of 22 May 2014. 

Other Freedom of Expression Cases in November 2015

University Lecturers were charged for holding a news conference “Universities are not barracks”. 

Academics came to hear their allegation at Chang Phuak Police Station. (Photo by Thai Lawyers for Human Rights) 

24 November 2015. 5 university lecturers; Mana Nakham of Khon Kaen University, Attachak Sattayanurak, and Somchai Preechasinlapakun of Chiang Mai University, Charoon Yuthong, and Nattapong Jitnirat of Thaksin University came to meet the inquiry official at Chang Phuak Police Station to hear their allegation for violating the NCPO’s Order No., 3/2558 (2015).   

The charge occurred after the academics read out their statement titled “Universities are not barracks” on 31 October 2015 at Ibis Hotel, Chiang Mai. They wanted to reaffirm the academic freedom. It was a response to the NCPO leader when he criticised the higher education curriculum that might be against the Government.      


The two leaders of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship were taken to military base, en route to Rajabhakti Park  


After media reported the corruption scandal of contracting Rajabhakti Park, Nattawut Saikuar a leader of UDD would ask Jatuporn Prompan, the Chairman of UDD, to visit the Park to find out the truth on 27 November 2015. Both leaders said on 29 November 2015 that after they announced that they would visit the Park, there were army vehicles parked and watched in front of their house.         

In the morning of 30 November 2015 which was the day of the visit, a great number of police and army personnel were all over Mahachai market, which was the place for Jatuporn and Nattawut to line up their caravan. The arrests of the two leaders happened at about 10.20 hrs. Both of them were taken by vans to some unknown location.    

UDD Leader, at the moment of arrest on his way to Rajabhakti Park (Photo from Peace TV)

After the arrest, Kokaew Pikulthong, another UDD leader, demanded the army to unconditionally release both of them, and to reveal the facts of constructing Rajabhakti Park. Col. Winchai Suwaree, NCPO spokesman, informed that the two were arrested because of trying to cause a political unrest. There was announcement and incitement. They also gave unclear information to the public, especially when saying “corruption”, when there had been no authority or individual concluded investigation yet.       

Nattawut and Jatuporn were released from the 9th Infantry Division, Kanchanaburi Province during nighttime of the same day. Before being released, the two had to sign an additional agreement for not being involved with political activities.                                                                           

On the same day, officials from the National Security Agency met two other UDD leaders; Somwang Asarasi and Thanawut Wichaidit, at a petrol station in Ratchaburi province. They were summoned to talk in Rat Burana district, Bangkok. They were asked to stop any political activities before being released.    


Shutting down Fahhai TV

18 November 2015 Col. Burin Thongprapai, Staff Judge Advocate, by referring to the power of the NCPO’s Order No. 3/2558 (2015), brought army personnel to search Fahhai TV Satellite Station. There was a report of a TV programme’s content that could have been incited and caused unrest.   

After searching, the personnel brought in 5 individuals to be charged. One of the suspects was Porntipa Supattanakul, aka DJ Fah, the owner of the TV station and a former PDRC activist. It was believed that the search and arrests could have been a result of Pol. Gen. Sereepisuth Temeeyaves hosted the TV show and criticised the Government.  


Criticism about Rajabhakti Park Scandal on Facebook led to the Section 116 charge. 

30 November 2015. Pol. Lt. Gen. Sanit Mahataworn brought in Juthatip to the inquiry official after the Technology Crime Suppression Division (TCSD) intercepted Juthatip’s post about the Park’s corruption scandal in Prachuap Khiri Khan province. The information was not correct and deemed defame others. So the charge was reported to Phra Khanong Metropolitan Police Station. Juthatip was charged for incitement under Section 116 of the criminal code and the Computer Crime Act.           

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