Monthly Archives: July 2017

The King and Pai, Part 17: Thailand guilty of crimes against humanity?

Why is Pai Daodin’s case taking so long to decide? It took six months to go to trial and if history is any indication, it will drag on at least that long again before there is a verdict. He admits to sharing the Thai version of THIS BBC news article on Facebook, and left it up on his wall even after the lese majesty charge, saying he had the right to do so. Here is the Thai lese majesty law:

“Whoever, defames, insults or threatens the King, the Queen, the Heir-apparent or the Regent, shall be punished with imprisonment of three to fifteen years.”

So the only legal question that must be decided is: “Is it an insult to share biographical information about a King who happens to be living a really sleazy life ?”

For obvious reasons, the Thai government does not want this question debated openly in court. And they also do not want the international news story to be that Thailand convicted an innocent boy to 15 years in prison on a clearly ridiculous pretext (and, oh yeah, speaking of lese majesty, have you seen the video of that crazy Thai King at the mall?). They would rather the story be that a man pleaded guilty to insulting His Majesty the King (don’t mention his name and the world will guess it’s beloved King Bhumipol), who then graciously pardoned him so that he will be out of jail soon. (Don’t worry international community! Nothing strange and twisted going on over here!)

To get this desired result, the authorities will conspire to drag out the proceedings, which will be held entirely in secret, all the while pressuring Pai to plead guilty in return for a lighter sentence. Continue reading

The King and Pai, Part 16: I’ll take this $40-60 Billion. You people worry about your “social contract”

by Ann Norman, first posted on Facebook, July 20, 2017

This is what tyranny looks like. The new King of Thailand, loathsome Vajiralongkorn, just grabbed control over the 40-60 Billion dollars that he inherited from his father. You will recall that his father the late King Bhumipol was beloved by a majority of Thais in large part because he seemed to care for his subjects, including the poor. So the argument that the King didn’t really OWN $40-60 billion worth of royal assets, but only managed them on behalf of Thailand, was remotely plausible. Now this fiction has been removed. The junta-appointed legislature just passed a law (published July 2) allowing Vajiralongkorn to appoint all the managers of the assets, and the law explicitly “prohibits any effort to take away any part of the royal assets without the king’s approval.”

Where are the protesters in the streets, demanding to know what this supposed “constitutional monarch” is doing with the assets Bhumipol was supposedly managing on their behalf? This story is getting very little coverage in Thailand due to the draconian lese majesty law.

Knowing that Pai Daodin is in jail for just sharing a mainstream news article about the king’s life, and was just charged again for “discussing the constitution,” imagine what will happen to someone who stands up and says:

“Hey, why does this horrible king keep changing our constitutional monarchy? It looks like he’s trying to be an absolute monarch.”

Besides the public is distracted with other nonsense, and this is completely deliberate.  Continue reading

Happy Birthday to King Vajiralongkorn. Where is ex-Princess Srirasmi?

Latest lese majesty victim, Nattathida Meewangpla, also a key witness in 2010 temple shooting

The story in Kaosod English is “Key Witness of 2010 Temple Shooting Detained Under 112 Charge.”

112 is the law against insulting the king, queen, or heir apparent, a law that is a flagrant violation of human rights and of international treaties to which Thailand has signed on. The 2010 Temple shooting is the shooting of 6 people, including a volunteer nurse, who took shelter in a Temple as the army, under then General Prayut Chan-ocha put down street protests calling for the resignation of then Prime Minister Abhisit. General Prayut Chan-ocha has refused to accept a court ruling that the army, was responsible for shooting people taking shelter in the temple, despite video and witnesses and ballistic evidence. General Chan-ocha four years later overthrew the elected government and became junta leader and self-appointed Prime Minister.

What do the 2010 Temple Shooting and 112 have to do with each other? Absolutely nothing. Pretty great coincidence for Dictator Prayut Chan-ocha that a woman able to contradict his preferred version of events that day also insulted the royalty.

The woman, Nattathida Meewangpla, had already been in jail 2 years on suspicion of being a terrorist but I guess they never collected enough evidence to convict her. Huh . . . and as soon as she was released she was charged with 112.

I don’t have time today to string together all the ways that this is wrong.

 

Congratulations to Thai reporter Jom Petchpradab, who recieved refugee status from the United States on July 10, 2017

Congratulations to Jom Petchpradab who received refugee status from the United States on July 10, 2017. He is a famous Thai reporter exiled by General Prayut’s coup, now doing his show, Thai Voice, from the United States.

From Red USA: ขอร่วมยินดีกับ
จอม เพชรประดับที่รัฐบาลอเมริกัน
ได้มอบสถานะผู้ลี้ภัยให้เมื่อวันที่ 10 กรกฎาคม 2017 ที่ผ่านมา

 

 

The King and Pai, Part 14: Pai’s Six Months in Jail . . . How? Why? What Could We Have Done?

[NOTE: This article was first posted on Facebook, June 20, 2017] On the 6 month anniversary of Pai Dao Din* being incarcerated for nothing (he shared an article about the King on facebook), it’s a time for reflection.

First we shed some tears for all that’s been lost: As Pai’s father Nai Viboon Boonpattararaksa, posted [my transation],

“ในหกเดือน…
In six months
บางคนก็เรียนจบ
Some people graduate from school
บางคนได้เลื่อนตำแหน่ง
Some people get a promotion
บางคนคลอดลูก
Some people have a baby
อ่านหนังสือจบไปหลายสิบเล่ม ฝึกซ้อมดนตรีจนขึ้นเวทีได้
You can read many tens of books or practice music until you can get on stage
หลายคนบ่มเพาะความรักจนสุกงอม
For many people a love is cultivated and becomes ripe
หกเดือนของไผ่ เป็นหกเดือนแห่งการถูกจองจำ กับความผิดที่ยังไม่ถูกตัดสิน แต่พิพากษาไปแล้วล่วงหน้า
Pai’s six months have been six months of imprisonment for a fault that still hasn’t been decided, but he’s sentenced up front.

Indeed, according to news stories, Pai has, or at least had, a girlfriend. He told her she could go her own way if she needed to. He won $50,000 as part of his Gwangju Human Rights Award in May and suggested his sister use it for her schooling because he doesn’t know when he’s getting out. Continue reading

The King and Pai, Part 13: The Emperor Has No Clothes! And the Whole World Knows It!

[THIS ARTICLE WAS FIRST POSTED on Facebook May 21, 2017.] Last week two stories went viral: One about Pai Daodin being honored at ceremonies in South Korea for winning the 2017 Gwangju Human Rights Award while he himself sits in jail in Thailand for sharing a news article on Facebook; and another news story about the Thai junta trying to shut down all of Thai Facebook to prevent people from seeing a video of the Thai King in a German shopping mall, bizarrely attired in fake tattoos and a yellow crop top. Andrew MacGregor Marshall collected and posted versions of the crop-top news story from Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, China, France, Greece, Hungary, India, Italy, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Russia, Slovakia, and Taiwan. These two viral news stories culminated in many important news sources such as The Economist and The Bangkok Post pairing the two subjects in exactly the way I have been trying to do in my “King and Pai” series. (Note: In the many news articles, Pai Daodin will be referred to by his real name, Jatupat Boonpattararaksa.)

When I see The Economist and The Bangkok Post, writing a “King and Pai” story, saying everything I want to say, but bigger and better, I celebrate and feel great relief. Before this all snowballed, I was shouting to the world about it. I am happy that I may have played some small part in getting this snowball rolling and keeping it rolling. Many people worked towards this day, and I feel really, really good that the story has finally become the riveting, worldwide news I knew it could be. The absurdity of Thailand’s lese majesty law has never been clearer.

I will add one just one important point that has been missing from all the wonderful news and commentary I have seen since this blew up.*

My point is that the “Thai King in a bizzare crop top” story is not an just about a celebrity’s strange fashion choice. It is not that innocent. The behavior seen the video is part of a pattern of exhibitionist behavior in which the Vajiralongkorn and/or his mistress appear in pubic scandalously underdressed, as if on a dare. It is also about domination: Vajiralongkorn’s domination of servants, bodyguards, and others forced to participate. And he is also bullying his subjects. He is daring Thai citizens not to laugh, which they will. . . . And statistically speaking, SOMEONE will go to jail for 3 to 15 years, for each self-centered exhibitionist stunt King Vajiralongkorn performs. Continue reading

You are INVITED to the 5th Anniversary Conference of the Thai Alliance for Human Rights

YOU ARE INVITED to the Fifth Anniversary Conference of Thai Alliance for Human Rights
การประชุมครบรอบห้าปีการก่อตั้งภาคีไทยเพื่อสิทธิมนุษยชน
Ways Forward for Thailand’s Future with Respect for Human Rights
ทางเบื้องหน้าสู่อนาคตประเทศไทยที่เคารพหลักสิทธิมนุษยชน

Aztec Mobile Estates, 9530 Alondra Blvd, Bellflower, CA, 90706

10:00-10:30 – Doors open for TAHR members
เปิดต้อนรับสมาชิกภาคีฯ

10:30-11:45 – Annual Meeting of Thai Alliance for Human Rights
การประชุมประจำปีของภาคีฯ

11:45 – Doors open for public conference
ต้อนรับผู้บุคคลทั่วไปและสมาชิกเข้ารับฟังการเสวนา

12:00 -1:00 – Food, Exhibitions, Social hour
รับประทานอาหาร ชมนิทรรศการ และสังสรรค์
1:00 to 2:30 – Panel Discussion on “Ways Forward for Thailand’s Future with Respect for Human Rights” การเสวนาในหัวข้อ “ทางเบื้องหน้าสู่อนาคตประเทศไทยที่เคารพหลักสิทธิมนุษยชน”

Panelists: ผู้ร่วมเสวนา มีดังนี้

Anake Chaichana, Chair, TAHR’s Board of Advisors
Piangdin Rakthai, Chair, TAHR’s Board of Directors
Charupong Ruangsuwan, Secretary-General of Organization of FreeThais for Human Rights and Democracy
Chupong Theethuan, TAHR’s Board Member
Sukit Sabaneksanti, Voice of Thailand
Angela Cheney, Member, TAHR’s Executive Committee
Ann Norman, TAHR’s Executive Director

3:00-6:00 Karaoke & Social Hours (คาราโอเกะ และสังสรรค์)

Declaration about academic freedom from 176 Thai studies scholars at the International Conference on Thai Studies – Announcement in English and in Thai

“ชุมชนนักวิชาการนานาชาติ” ในการประชุมไทยศึกษาครั้งที่ 13 และนักวิชาการด้านไทยศึกษา 176 รายชื่อ ออกแถลงการณ์ “ขอคืนพื้นที่ความรู้และสิทธิเสรีภาพของพลเมืองในสังคมไทย” เรียกร้องคืนเสรีภาพทางวิชาการ คืนอิสรภาพแก่นักโทษทางความคิด คืนอำนาจอธิปไตยแก่ประชาชน ปฏิรูปสถาบันสำคัญโดยเฉพาะศาลและกองทัพ

176 academics signed a Declaration of the “The Community of International Academics” 13th International Conference on Thai Studies and Scholars on Thai Studies, titled “Return the Space of Knowledge, Rights, and Civil Liberties to Thai Society”

Congratulations to Pravit Rojanaphruk Winner of the 2017 Press Freedom Award

The Thai Alliance for Human Rights offers our most enthusiastic congratulations to Thai journalist Pravit Rojanaphruk for being one of 4 journalists throughout the world honored with the 2017 Press Freedom Award. Khun Pravit continues to report the truth and for offer ethical commentary under extremely stressful conditions. In the picture above, Pravit Rojanaphruk (to the left) interviews Ja New at a demonstration on the first Anniversary of the May 2014 coup. Khun Pravit has been dragged away by the junta two times, for so-called “attitude adjustment” and “reeducation camp.” The second time he came out, he went straight to Facebook and wrote a post that began

“2 + 2  = 4, never 5 . . . ”

Always eloquent, here is his perfect response to winning the award: “My thanks go to both the supporters and detractors, for that’s what freedom of expression is all about. No one should be above criticism,” he said. “Last but not least, this award would not have been made possible without the active repression meted upon myself by the military junta over the years. While I cannot thank the illegitimate military regime, to them, I say, the struggle for freedom continues.” – Pravit Rojanaphruk quoted in Khaosod English article “Kaosod English Writer Wins Press Freedom Award