Pattaya Daily News

04 April 2009 :: 21:04:00 pm 1785

Thai Man Jailed:10 Years for Insulting Monarchy

BANGKOK, April 3 - Thailand‘s Bangkok-based Criminal Court on Tuesday sentenced a Thai man for insulting the kingdom‘s revered King Bhumibol Adulyadej to 20 years imprisonment, but commuted the sentence to ten years after the defendant‘s confession.
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BANGKOK, April 3 – Thailand’s Bangkok-based Criminal Court on Tuesday sentenced a Thai man for insulting the kingdom’s revered King Bhumibol Adulyadej to 20 years imprisonment, but commuted the sentence to ten years after the defendant’s confession.

Suwicha Thakho, 34, burst into tears when he heard the verdict.

Mr. Suwicha was arrested in the northeastern province of Nakhon Phanom in January.

He was found guilty of violating cyber law and committing multiple instances of lese majeste, or insulting the royal institution, by posting edited photos of His Majesty the King and Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn on a website. It is a violation of Thai law to criticise the monarchy, less majeste, with such action being liable to three to15 years in prison.

Anyone found guilty of violating the Computer Crime Act can be imprisoned for up to five years and fined Bt100,000 ($2,770).

The most recent case of lese majeste involves Giles Ji Ungpakorn, an outspoken academic, who fled to Britain last month after being charged with lese majeste in regard to a book he wrote about the 2006 coup in Thailand.

Australian novelist Harry Nicolaides of Melbourne was granted a royal pardon late February after being sentenced to three years in prison for writing a fictional work deemed insulting to the monarchy Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said last month he would look into ways to reform Thailand’s lese majeste law to ensure clarity and fairness for all parties concerned. “The enforcement of the law itself must first be deliberated as problems in the past were involved with how the law was being enforced,” the prime minister said. – (TNA)

New: Jakrapob on UDD, politics and the monarchy

Shawn Crispin (Asia Times, 4 April 2009: “Seeing red in Thailand”) has an analysis of the UDD and political issues surrounding the monarchy. He has interviewed Jakrapob Penkair, who is facing lesé majesté charges.

This is a remarkably heavy penalty.

Reuters report here; Earth Times report here; Irrawaddy here; BBC here.  Ji Ungpakorn also has posted a commentary on this case and more. สำหรับภาษาไทย ดู ประชาไท: “ศาลตัดสินจำคุก 10 ปี “สุวิชา ท่าค้อ” ตามมาตรา 112″

As PPT reported a few days ago, Suwicha only recently pleaded guilty. Earlier Thai Netizen reported: “This will be the first verdict against Internet user under Computer Crime Act 2007 which related to act against national security. The accusation based on serious charges related to three major laws;
  1. 2007 Constitution Article 8, 9 Section 8. The King shall be enthroned in a position of revered worship and shall not be violated.No person shall expose the King to any sort of accusation or action.Section 9. The King is a Buddhist and Upholder of religions.
  2. Penal Code Article 33, 83,91,112 Section 112. Whoever defames, insult or threatens the King, the Queen, the Heir-apparent or the Regent, shall be punished with imprisonment of three to fifteen years. Section 33 For the forfeiture of a property, the Court shall besides having the power to forfeit under the law as specially provided for that purpose, have the power to forfeit the following properties also, namely:(1) a property used or possessed for use in the commission of an offence by a person; or (2) a property acquired by a person through the commission of an offence. Unless such property belongs to the other person who does not convince at the commission of the offence.Section 83 In case of any offence is accrued by commission of the person as from two persons upwards, such accomplishes deemed to be principals shall be punished as provided by the law for such offence.Section 91 If it appears that any offender has committed the several distinct and different offences, the Court may inflict upon such offender the punishment prescribed for each offence. But, whether there shall be increase of the punishment, reduction of the punishment or reduction in the scale of the punishment, or not, the total punishment of every offence must not exceed the following determination:(1) ten years in case of the severest offence to have the rate of the maximum punishment of imprisonment not exceeding three years;(2) twenty years in case of the severest offence to have the rate of the maximum punishment of imprisonment exceeding three years upwards, but not more than ten years;(3) fifty years in case of the severest offence to have the rate of the maximum punishment of imprisonment exceeding three years upwards, unless in the case where the Court inflicts upon the offender the punishment of imprisonment for life.
  3. Computer-Related Crime Act 2007 Article 3, 14, 1. click here to download.
  4. Sections 14(1), 14(3), 14(5) of the 2007 Computer Crime Act, which pertain to crimes which “involve import to a computer system of forged computer data, either in whole or in part, or false computer data, in a manner that is likely to cause damage to that third party or the public; that involves import to a computer system of any computer data related with an offence against the Kingdom’s security under the Criminal Code; that involves the dissemination or forwarding of computer data already known to be computer data [which are illegal].”
PPT urges protests against the use of these draconian laws and Suwicha’s harsh sentence:

1. Write a letter  to the Prime Minister of Thailand, Abhisit Vejjajiva, Government House, Bangkok, Thailand. Fax number +66(0)29727751.

2. Write a letter of concern to the Ambassador, The Royal Thai Embassy, in your country of residence about Suwicha’s case.

3. Write to your local member of parliament and your minister for foreign affairs, drawing their attention to the lèse-majesté law in Thailand and
Suwicha’s case.

4. Urge Amnesty International internationally and your local branch take up Suwicha’s case and others charged.

5. Contact Human Rights Watch Asia about Suwicha’s case .

Reporter : Methawee   Photo : Internet   Category : Legal

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