Breaking news and an BIG EDIT: Jumpol Manmai, who Andrew MacGregor Marshall had reported as murdered by the King is NOT dead, but being held in a secret prison in the King’s palace. According to Somsak Jeamteerasukl: “Let me sum up the story for the benefits of your readers who couldn’t read Thai.
First of all, the credit for ‘discovering’ this, belongs to a ‘friend’, not me. On reading the news of Chumpol yesterday, s/he noticed something odd. It was reported that, after appearing in front of the judge in Khorat, Chumpol was brought back to Bangkok to be put in a ‘Provisional Prison of Bhuddha Monthol, Thavi Wattana district’. Curious (because there’s no known prison in that area), s/he searched the Government Gazett and found that in 2012 (during Yingluck’s gov), there was an announcement by the Justice Ministry (which oversees prisons throughout the country) designating an area of 120 square meters in the Thavi Wattana district to be a ‘Provisional Prison of Bhuddha Monthol’. (It’s about the size of a townhouse, which could have more than one floor and the 120 sq.m could cover all floors). Now neither the announcement nor the map accompanied it mentions the Thavi Wattana Palace that belongs to the Crown Prince/ King. But there’s absolutely no doubt that that ‘designated prison area’ is INSIDE his Thavi Wattana Palace.
So, in Chumpol’s case, he is in fact, even after the appearance before the police and the court, still in the King’s personal custody, i.e. kept inside a prison inside his Palace.”
Andrew MacGregor Marshall (who is writing a biography of Vajiralongkorn) reports this weekend on Facebook (February 25):
“Several palace and police sources confirm King Vajiralongkorn’s aide Jumpol Manmai has been murdered. Jumpol had been held incommunicado in Aksa Palace for weeks after displeasing the king. The murder of Jumpol follows the murders of three of Vajiralongkorn’s circle in 2015 — Mor Yong aka Suriyan Sucharitpolwong, Prakrom Warunprapa and Pisitsak Seniwong na Ayutthaya. In 2011, Vajiralongkorn’s men murdered Chaichon Locharernkul in an incident that also led to the death of revered monk Luangta Maha Bua. . . . Vajiralongkorn is killing with impunity.”
On the same Facebook page, Marshall mentions that the King this month also went naked skydiving with his mistress.
We would like use the tabloid-sounding story of Vajiralongkorn to help Pai Daodin, a Rosa Parks–type figure in the Thai human rights and prodemocracy movement. Twenty-five year-old Pai is being held in jail without bail for lese majesty (insulting royalty) simply for sharing an ordinary BBC news article about the king on Facebook. The sentence for lese majesty is 3 to 15 years.
Our long-term strategy is to force Thailand to end its cruel and archaic lese majesty law (you can’t insult the King, Queen, or Heir Apparent.) This law is a tragedy not only for the 50 to 100 people jailed each year for nothing other than excising their right to free speech. The biggest tragedy is the climate of fear that silences a whole population and effectively prevents any political discussion.
When we say that Pai Daodin is Thailand’s Rosa Parks, we mean that he is trained in, and practices nonviolent protest in exactly the same way as Rosa Parks, AND that he is possibly the most sympathetic political prisoner ever to be charged with lese majesty.
It has become abundantly clear that Pai Daodin’s innocence of any wrongdoing is irrelevant to the Thai government prosecuting him for lese majesty––and the strongest condemnation of roughly every human rights organization on the planet, including Amnesty International and the United Nations, is also irrelevant to the Thai government in this case. Furthermore, there is a widespread rumor that it is King Vajiralongkorn HIMSELF who has ordered the persecution of Pai Daodin.
Therefore, the Thai Alliance for Human Rights, has adopted the strategy of telling the story of Pai Daodin and King Vajiralongkorn TOGETHER. It is a project called “The King and Pai” (rhymes with “The King and I”). We invite you to join us in this project––a human interest story with far-reaching human rights potential. The story will be click bait for readers AND it may help free Pai Daodin, and then ALL Thais, from the oppressive lese majesty law.
Please check out the materials below that the Thai Alliance for Human Rights has produced or translated relating to the case of Pai Daodin, including short “The King and Pai” news stories. Feel free to reprint, excerpt, or adapt for your own stories.
Letter from Somyot Prueksakasemsuk to Pai Daodin (translated by Thai Alliance for Human Rights)
The King and Pai:
Some third-party materials we have shared:
Free Pai Dao Din! Jailed today Dec. 3 for sharing a BBC news story about King Vajiralongorn (Shared by Pai’s own organization, Dao Din)
The World Community Must Know “Who is Pai Dao Din?” (Shared by RedUSA)
A translated music video “Entrust Love to You, Butterfuly” made for Pai Daodin (At Music of Thai Freedom, which is protected by Thai Alliance for Human Rights)