Suspect detained for allegedly sharing images mocking the King’s dog

Today (14 December 2015) at 9.00am, police from the Subdivision 2, the Crime Suppression Division (CSD), have brought Mr. Thanakorn Siriphaibun to the Bangkok Military Court for the first pre-trial detention hearing and he was ordered to be detained in custody until 25 December 2015. He was charged with violating the Computer Crime Act and Article 112 (lese majeste) of the Thai Criminal Code for allegedly clicking ‘like’ some messages on social media and posting images mocking the King’s dog, and with violating Article 116 (sedition) of the Thai Criminal Code for allegedly posting a diagram detailing the corruption scam of the Rajabhakti Park.

Mr. Thanakorn Siriphaibun has been held in custody since 8 December 2015. His arrest was taken place at a private company, his workplace, in Samut Prakan. During 9-14 December, his relatives and attorneys had been looking for him at the Nakhon Chaisri temporary remand facility which is located in the 11th Military Circle and at the Crime Suppression Division; Sub-division 2, but were not able to locate where he was being held in custody. The attorneys from the Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) had introduced themselves to the police at the CSD asking the authority to notify them when the suspect would be interrogated so that the attorneys could participate. But they was never contacted by the authority until the officers brought Mr. Thanakorn for the pre-trial detention hearing at the Bangkok Military Court today. He was then taken for custody immediately at the Bangkok Remand Prison.

The attorneys applied for bail placing cash worth 300,000 Baht, but it was denied by the Court citing “the high penalty rate and the objection of the inquiry officer and considering the circumstance of the case, the Court is convinced that if released the suspect would abscond or commit further harmful acts which may impede or cause damage to the investigation of the investigators and therefore the bail request is rejected.”

In the first pre-trial detention hearing, Mr. Thanakorn was charged with committing an offence against Sections 112 (lese majeste) and 116 (sedition) of the Penal Code and Section 14 of the 2007 Computer Crime Act as a result of allegedly committing three acts including;

  • Clicking ‘like’ on a Facebook post of an individual on 19 September 2015 whereby the post is deemed defamatory to the monarchy leading people who might not know the truth to think that the King had done something wrong
  • Posting three images which contained messages taunting the King’s dog on his personal Facebook account on 6 December 2015
  • Copying an infographic, “An expose of the Rajabhakti Park scam”, from Twitter and reposting it on the “National Institute of the Red Shirts” Facebook page on 7 December 2015. The Facebook page features discussion on political issues, works to oppose the government and incites the public which could have led to an unrest.

The TLHR noted that there could have been several unlawful acts committed by authorities in this case including the concealment of the place where the person was deprived of liberty and the denial of access to legal counsel. In addition, it should be noted that normally during a pre-trial detention hearing, the inquiry officers are obliged to give the specifics of the circumstances involving the acts of the suspect including how the statements, images, contents are considered defamatory or insulting. But during the first pre-trial detention hearing in this case, the officers simply mentioned some related legal elements without giving sufficient specifics or circumstances.

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