January 2016: “Ja New” kidnapped right in front of Thammasat University, Even rallies on making a living were intervened.


Period 22 May 2014 – 31 January 2016 January 2016
Number of individuals summoned 884 55
Arrests at peaceful demonstrations 214 2
Individuals prosecuted before military court 155 3
Individuals prosecuted before civilian court 47 -
Number of individuals charged with lese majeste offense (Section 112) 62 4
Number of individuals detained under lese majeste charge in January 2016 50

Updates on the Criminal Code Section 112 Cases

There were not many issues in January 2016 in terms of number of cases comparing to during the end of 2015. But there were updates on 2 cases which were quite worrisome.      


Thanakorn’s case: the military court dismissed the bail request, because Thanakorn did not file the request while on the first detention together with the first denial order. 

Thanakorn was brought to the military court to be detained for the fourth time. The Central Military Court denied the appeal on the military court’s bail refusall order. The judge reasoned the order was issued while on the first detention.  But now was on the third detention. So there was no ground to consider the appeal filed on 6 January 2016. This approach has become a standard when considering bail requests. Before this, political cases trialed by the military court occurred when the martial law was active, during which cases could not be appealed. But Thanakorn had a chance to appeal to the central military court. It was such the first time for any civilian. This approach differed from a civilian court whereas defendants could request bails or could always appeal bail denials while being detained.     


Thanakorn was arrested on 8 December 2015, and was charged under the Criminal Code, Section 112, for clicking like on a lese majeste Facebook page and satirized royal dog. He was also charged under the Section 116 for posting the diagram of Ratchapakdi Park scandal on Facebook. His first detention at the military court was on 14 December 2015. He filed a 900,000 Baht bail request on 25 December 2015, but the military court denied his request.


For more information please visit:http://freedom.ilaw.or.th/en/case/702


Piya broke the record with the longest prison sentence ordered by the Criminal Court. The judge believed the plaintiff’s witnesses without computer evidence.   

20 January 2016. Piya was sentenced to 9 years in prison, and mitigated to 6 years by the Criminal Court. His crime was insulting the King by posting on Facebook. The plaintiff had only a captured picture from a phone as evidence. There was no any other digital evidence whatsoever. The judge chose to believe a witness testimony who filed the complaint. The judge had postponed the verdict reading from 28 December 2015, because it was an importance case and the judge had to discuss with the Chief Justice of the Criminal Court.       


Piya was arrested on 11 December 2014. He was accused for using a Facebook account named “Mr. Ponsatorn Buntorn” and posting a Lese majeste message. He denied all changes before confessed that he had logged in as “Pongsatorn”. He insisted that he did not post the alleged message, which together with his profile picture had been captured and shared on the internet. The message contained four other pictures combined in one picture. Complainers reported this in several other areas including Nakhon Pathom province and Nan province. The plaintiff had no digital evidence such as IP address. They could not even verify this with the service provider, Facebook because their office was overseas. The defendant’s computer and mobile phone that were seized by the Office of Forensic Science contained no information either.           


As far as iLaw is concerned, Piya’s prison sentence which was 9 years for 1 count was the longest term for the Section 112 case ordered by the civil court.


For more information please visit: http://freedom.ilaw.or.th/en/case/645



Updates on political activists’ cases

5 activists examined the Rajabhakdi Park scandal vowed not to work with NCPO-led justice system.  

8 January 2016. 8 activists, who organized a train ride to examine the Rajabhakdi Park scandal and had been summoned, came to Thon Buri Railway Police Station. 5 of them, Sirawit, Chanoknan, Abhisit, Chonticha, and Korakoch, stated that they would not work on the justice system with the NCPO. They also insisted not to report according to the summons.

On the same day the other 3, Visarut, Anon and Kornkanok, came and reported to the Police Station, acknowledged, and denied all charges to the inquiry officer. They would submit an official statement later. Vichit and Kittatach, both activists, also reported to the officer on 29 December 2015.          

Out of 11 activists of the train ride, who were detained at Banpong Railway Police Station on 7 December, and were charged with defying head of NCPO order no.3/2558 for gathering more than 5 people, 5 of them had reported. Another 5 came to the Police Station but did not report. Another activist was Thanet who was charged incitement under the Criminal Code, Section 116, did not turn up.  


 “Ja New” arrested right in front of Thammasat University. 5 other activists also arrested, but later released by the military court without conditions. 

 20 January 2016. About 22.45 hrs., New Democracy Movement reported on their Facebook that a group of 8 dressed as army personnel arrested Sirawith Seritiwat, aka Ja New, a student and an anti-coup activist, at Chiang Rak Gate, Thammasat University Rangsit Campus. They came by 2 pick-up trucks with no license plates. BBC Thai also reported that journalists tried to contact Sirawith on the phone, but there was no signal. Either the military or police personnel informed where Sirawith was taken to. On 21 January 2016, NCPO spokesman Col. Winchai Suvari stated that the arrest procedure was correctly and lawfully carried out without violence. While Gen. Prayuth Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister, commented that Sirawith had committed offences many time. And there were ways to arrest him.            


Sam Pornchai, a New Democracy Movement activist, granted permission to travel overseas.


11 January 2016. The military court scheduled for testimony and reading the verdict on a request to leave the country for the case of the 1st anniversary of the coup at the Bangkok Art and Cultural Center (BACC). This time was set for only the defendant who was Sam Pornchai, who was accused under the NCPO order No., 3/2558; the prohibition of political assembly of more than 5 people.


Sam denied all accusations. The prosecutor requested to examine together with Natchacha and Tatchapong’s case. Pornchai agreed. The judge asked the prosecutor to file a formal request to consider 2 cases together. Pornchai requested a permission to leave the country to go to study abroad. The judge granted the permission and agreed that it was a sufficient reason. But Pornchai had to come as scheduled every time.


A group of students and activists gave their testimony for this case. The group was in front of the BACC 22 May 2015 to commemorate the 1st anniversary of the 2014 coup. This symbolic activity led to the arrests of 38, and 11 of them were prosecuted. 8 other suspects whose warrants had been issued had not been arrested yet. But Pornchai was prosecuted before others because he had reported to the officers, and asked the permission to leave the country for his studies. If he had not asked for the permission, he would be blacklisted and could not leave the country.

For more information please visit: http://freedom.ilaw.or.th/en/case/687


Updates on summons and visits.

The military still visited activists who had involved with political issues.

14 January 2016. The military visited 2 activists of the New Democracy Movement at 2 different places. At 10.30 hrs., a scout and 3 plainclothes officers from Khon San Police Station, Chaiyaphum Province, visited Payu Boonsopon, who had been prosecuted for political gathering before. The police had no warrant. They took pictures of Payu and the family members. They took Payu to meet the Superintendent of the police station. The Superintendent asked Payu to stop political activities in the areas under the NCPO administration.     


Then at 16.30 hrs., Songtham Kaewpanpruek, a lead activist of the New Democracy Movement, posted on his Facebook that the military went to Sirawith Seritiwat, aka Ja new, another activist of the New Democracy Movement, for not reporting and acknowledging this charge. An arrest warrant had been issued for Sirawith after the train ride activity. Songtham mentioned that the military reached Sirawith’s room and took the train tickers which were Sirawith’s collection. While they searched only Sirawith’s grandmother was home.


For more information please visit: https://goo.gl/GTVUPn and https://goo.gl/u5l8dt    


25 January 2016. Facebook of Klum Look Chaobaan Group reported that at 11.30 hrs., some 10 plainclothes personnel visited Jakkapon Phonlaor, aka Gun Gun, a 3rd year student of the Faculty of Political Science and Law, Burapha University. It was unclear whether they were the police or the military. They took Jakkapon by a black Chevrolet pick-up truck. They had no arrest warrant. They only informed that Jakkapon would be taken to the 14th Military Circle Headquarters, Chonburi Province. Jakkapon was released at 16.00 hrs. of the same day. On 21 January 2016, Klum Look Chaobaan Group made a statement condemned the government’s response to the New Democracy Movement’s train ride activity.    



Indoctrination still enforced upon people rallying for their livelihood. Farmers and labourers were those who suffered. 


6 January 2016 at about 02.00 hrs. More than 500 members of Sanko Gosei Technology Thailand Trade Union came to the Ministry of Labour to hold a protest after layoff negotiation failed. On that day representatives of the union and the Ministry discussed issues at 10.20 hrs. later the representatives of the employer joined the discussion at 16.30 hrs. But the agreement was not met. Arounf 19.20 hrs., the Ministry informed the protesters that if they still continued protesting, they would be prosecuted under the Public Assembly Act. The protesters did not comply with the announcement. 20 minutes later the police invited the President and the Vice President of the Thai Labour Solidarity Committee for a talk. They were handcuffed. An announcement was made to dissolve the protest. While the fearsome-looking two police companies and some military personnel were in positions. But the protesters still held their ground, because they were worried about the leaders. Finally the two leaders were released. The leaders told the protesters to go back home. There were transportation taking the protester back to their hometowns.      


7 January 2016. Wilaiwan Saetia, the President of Thai Labour Solidarity Committee was followed by 4 – 5 plainclothes and uniform military while leaving from her workplace. The following morning, Yongyooth Mentapao, Vice President of Thai Labour Solidarity Committee was also followed by the unknown police and military personnel. So Wilaiwan reported to the police. It was believed that this incident happened after the protest at the Ministry. There was another report that on 13 January 2016, around 20.00 hrs., many military personnel in uniform came to talk to Wilaiwan at the trade union office in Om Noi – Om Yai.     




11 January 2016. The military summoned some 50 leaders of rubber tree growers from the South for an attitude adjustment at Fort Vibhavadi. The talk was to brainstorming and finding out solutions for declining rubber prices. Academic were invited to inform the current rubber market. Col. Somkiet Rattanacharoenpornchai, Deputy Director of Internal Security Operations Command, and the Chairman of the meeting, urged everyone to work together and not to protest and to pressure the government. This indoctrination could have been another response to the farmers who demanded a solution to the rubber prices that was at the lowest in ten years. In late December 2015 until the beginning of January 2016, third grade rubber was bought and sold at only 25 Baht per one kilogram.             



Updates on other cases

Bangkok South Criminal Court granted bail to Andy Hall for the case of defaming National Fruit Co. but  his passport was seized.

13 January 2016, around 10.00 hrs., Andy Hall, a human right activist for migrant workers, came to the Bangkok South Criminal Court to report and to file a bail request to the Court. Mr. Hall was sued by the Company under defamation and the Computer Crime Act after a research titled “Cheap Has a High Price” was released. The report accused the Company of violation the rights of the migrant workers. The Court had considered the case. The bail was granted around 13.30 hrs. And Mr. Hall’s passport was seized. If he wanted to leave the country, he had to file a request each time at the Court.      




After Mr. Hall learned that the passport was to be seized, he tweeted that he would contact the British Embassy to retrieve it back.  

Other than this case, the Company had sued Mr. Hall for 3 other cases. The claims for damages totaled 400 million Baht.

For more information please visit: http://freedom.ilaw.or.th/en/case/469


Thai Royal Navy vs Phuketwan news agency case was closed. Phuket Provincial Court dismissed the case, and the prosecutor did not appeal.  

Phuket Provincial Court dismissed that case on 1 September 2015. After that the prosecutor requested to extend the appeal period many times until the prosecutor did not appeal in time on 15 January 2016. This made the case end of trial. The judge informed the interpretation of the Computer Crime Act that the Act was not meant for online defamation. But the defamation was instituted on the Criminal Code.


This lawsuit was filed in 2013. It was after Phuketwan news agency copied a part of an article from Reuters. The article mentioned that Thai officials gained benefits from the trafficking of Rohingyas. The Thai Navy felt that their reputation was damaged. They filed a suit for defamation by means of publication and for the Section 14 of the Computer Crime Act. Mr. Alan Morrison and Ms. Chutima Sidasathian were the defendants.   


In order to defend themselves, the defendants explained that the Thai Navy translated incorrectly. The word “Naval Forces” in the article meant any naval sector. It did not specify that it was the Thai Navy. The content of the report was not false. It was for the public interest and did not mean to harm the Thai Navy. And the Computer Crime Act was exercised in a wrong context, because the Act was not enforced for defamation.       


For more information please visit: http://freedom.ilaw.or.th/en/case/554

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