On 9 February 2021 at the Office of the Attorney General (Ratchadapisek Road), the public prosecutor indicted two cases; #14NovRally or so called MobFest held at the Democracy Monument on 14 Noverber 2020; and #19SepReturnPowerToPeople held at Sanam Luang and Thammasat University, Tha Phrachan campuse on 19-20 September 2020. For the former, Parit Chiwarak was an alleged offender. For the latter, Parit Chiwarak, Arnon Nampa, “Mor Lam Bank” Patiwat Saraiyam, and Somyot Prueksakasemsuk were alleged offenders.
Both cases were indicted under Article 112 (Lèse-majesté) and 116 (sedition) of the Thai Criminal Code which marked as the first two indicted cases under Article 112 after a half year of rally in 2020. The indictment follows the charges acknowledgement on 30 November and 8 December 2020.
Alleged offenders submitted a petition for justice, citing an intention of criticizing the government and lèse-majesté law, and for inquiring additional witnesses.
10.00 hrs. at Ratchada Criminal Court, the crowd control police stationed at the entrance screening the entering of people around the Court’s area.
11.00 hrs., Penguin Parit Chiwarak, Arnon Nampa, Somyot Prueksakasemsuk, and “Mor Lam Bank Patiwat” Saraiyam arrived and gave interview to the presses stating that they had submitted a petition calling for justice by inquiring additional witnesses and not to indict the alleged offenders in the case of 19 September 2020.
The petition stated that the speech was the criticism on the management of the government under Gen.Prayut Chan-o-cha and of the Article 112 status in the society nowadays. It was not defamation on the king and was not deemed as a sedition according to the Article 116 of the Thai Criminal Code.
In addition, they petitioned for inquiring two additional witnesses as follows;
- Sulak Sivaraksa, on the status of Article 112 of the Thai Criminal Code and its enforcement in Thai political context between the past and the present, on the criticism of monarchy, and on monarchical reformation.
- Chamnan Chanruang, on the applicable of human rights and the issues of Article 112 and 116 of the Thai Criminal Code pursuant to the freedom in the Thai Constitution and international law, and the recommendation to amend the laws.
Two cases indicted by public prosecutor, citing no changes in opinions despite addition inquiries.
At 14.00 hrs., a spokesperson of the Office of the Attorney General held a press conference stating that the public prosecutor indicted Parit in the MobFest case and Parit, Somyot, Arnon, and Patiwat in the #19SepReturnPowerToPeople rally, totaling ten charges.
After the press conference, Parit asked for the consideration on the petition calling for justice, talked about the issue of the Article 112 enforcement, and asked for the reasons public prosecutor did not consider the issue. A spokesperson replied that the additional witnesses asked for by the defendant did not modify opinions of public prosecutor, hence, the public prosecutor would proceed the indictment today.
“Prosecutorial proceedings in this country does not put rights and liberty of the people into consideration”, said by Parit before leaving the press conference.
Parit indicted under four charges in MobFest case, citing defaming the monarchy
Regarding the plaints of Mob Fest rally held on 14 November 2020, Mr.Vorachai Chaiyawong, the public prosecutor from the Office of the Attorney General, indicted Parit under four charges which are Article 112 and 116 of the Thai Criminal Code, the violation of the Emergency Decree, and using sound amplifier without permission, citing as follows;
1. Pursuant to the declaration of the government on the Section 9 of the Public Administration in Emergency Situation B.E. 2548, during 13 – 14 November 2020, the defendant, who was a leader or the organizer or the responsible one for political gathering, imported pictures via Facebook account named “Parit Chiwarak” stating that “14 November MOB FEST, gathering at 14.00 hrs. at the Democracy Monument (in front of McDonald)” and comic pictures of people with various career showing three fingers salute in front of the Democracy Monument stating “Tomorrow, let’s go”. These are the invitation or arrangement for people who passed by to gather for political assembly.
On 14 November 2020 at the aforementioned time and location, approximately 5,000 people participate in a gathering, which was an assembly, activity, or gathering at the crowded location and risk-prone to the infection of disease without limiting a number of people entering-exiting the activity, without organizing the participants to wear a medical mask or a clothe mask, and without social distance at least one meter to prevent the spread of infection through droplets. The political assembly was organized without COVID-19 preventative measures as the administration required.
In addition, the defendant gave a speech via sound amplifier to the people who participated in the gathering. It was the appearance to the public with words which was not an act within the purpose of the Constitution or for expressing an honest opinion or criticism, instead it was an act to cause unrest and disaffection amongst the people in a manner likely to cause disturbance in the country and to cause the people to transgress the laws of the country. The act was an incitement causing unrest.
2. On that day, the defendant gave a speech via a sound amplifier about the monarchical reformation after released on bail, calling for the King to conserve under the Constitution and calling for the amendment of the Constitution. The mentioned statement was not an act within the purpose of the Constitution or for expressing an honest opinion or criticism with intention to distorted and slander the King Rama X. It was an act of incitement, sedition, and instigation raising unrest and disaffection amongst the people.
Hearing the mentioned speech gave doubt to people in the Democratic regime of government with the King as Head of State which raised people to assemble, protest, threaten or compel the government and parliament, and to threaten and compel the King to conserve under the people. Such act will give public unrest in the kingdom and people will lose faith, not respect and not revere the king, which is deemed to be violating the king.
In addition, people who listened to the speech chanted, cheered, applauded, and supported causing people to transgress the laws of the Country.
3. On the mentioned date, pursuant to Article 5 of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand, “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.”
However, the defendants defamed the King, referring to the speech that demanded the king to conserve under the Constitution. It is deemed as encroach, defamed, insulted, accused, libeled or threatened the King tarnishing the image of King with intention to destroy monarchy, which is revered by Thai people, and causing people to lose faith and not to revere the king, who shall not be violated.
The public prosecutor would make an objection on the bail motion for temporary release submitted by the defendant, citing the high penalty rates and fear of the flight risk.
Arnon-Penguin indicted under 11 charges and Somyot-Patiwat were to be punish more under Article 112 in the case of 19 Sep. Rally.
For the case of #19SepReturnPowerToThePeople, Mrs. Pasudee Suwanmongkol, the public prosecutor from the Office of the Attorney General, ordered an indictment as the Black Case no. Aor 287/2564. Each defendant was indicted under different charges. Arnon and Parit were indicted under 11 charges as follows;
- The violation of Section 9 of the Emergency Decree
- Failed to notify the authority about the assembly within 24 hours pursuant to the Public Assembly Act
- Controlling Public Advertisement by Sound Amplifier Act
- Land Traffic Act
- Act on the Maintenance of the Cleanliness and Orderliness of the Country
- ten persons upwards being assembled together do or threaten to do an act of violence causing public disorder pursuant to Article 215 of the Thai Criminal Code
- “Defaming the king” pursuant to Article 112 of the Thai Criminal Code
- “Sedition” pursuant to Article 116 of the Thai Criminal Code
- Act on Ancient Monuments, Antiques, Objects of Art and National Museums
- “Causing depreciation of value” pursuant to Article 358 of the Thai Criminal Code
- “Obstructing public way” pursuant to Article 385 of the Thai Criminal Code
Somyot and Patiwat were mainly charged under Article 112 and 116 of the Thai Criminal Code.
The plaints can be summarized as follows; the four and other who have not been indicted had violated laws, e.g., organized political assembly without COVID-19 preventive measures required by the administration, failed to notify the superintendent of Chanasongkhram Police Statoin within 24 hours before the assembly, therefore, the assembly was illegal.
The four defendants assembled with ten persons upward by organizing public assembly with threatening to do an act of violence causing public disorder. They gave a speech demanding the resignation of the government, dissolution of the parliament, and moral and ethic enhancement, and calling out other people to fight for democracy. Although, Thammasat University did not allow their place to be a protest site and locked the entrance gate, the four defendants threatened the university to open the gate and allow the protesters to enter via sound amplifier. They ordered the protesters to cause unrest and destroy the university’s entrance gate before a hundred of protesters entered.
Afterwards, the protesters used big pliers to destroy the key and a chain locking Tha Phrachan gate of the University depreciating values before announcing to the protesters to were in the university to gather at Sanam Luang. They trespassed and obstructed the traffic without permission from the authorities. In addition, they depreciated value of Bangkok’s properties, including braking iron palisade damaging one of palisades, and cutting key locking the mentioned gate.
The four, furthermore, gave a speech on a truck and a stage demanding the amendment of the Constitution, and monarchical reformation. They defamed, insulted, and libeled the king which is not honest act within the purpose of the Constitution or for expressing an honest opinion or criticism with intention to slander the King, distort the purpose of the 2017 Constitution, and cause the king to be humiliated, insulted, and hated by incitement, sedition and instigation on the people to raise unrest and disaffection amongst the people and to have doubt in the Democratic regime of government with the King as Head of State. Such act raised people to assemble, protest, threaten or compel the government and parliament, and to threaten and compel the King to conserve under the people. Such act will give public unrest in the kingdom and is a reason for people, who listened to the speech chanted, cheered, applauded, and supported causing people to transgress the laws of the Country.
For Arnon and Parit, they changed, demolished, and destroyed historical site without permission from the Director General of Fine Art Department by using equipment to drill concrete in Sanam Luang area.
In addition, the public prosecutor indicated to increase one third of Patiwat’s imprisonment term and increase a half of Somyot’s imprisonment term, citing that they commit the same offenses within five years after they are out of prison. If the four defendant submitted bail motions for temporary release during pending trial, it is up to the Court’s discretion.
The Court denied bails, citing there is plausible reason to commit the same offence again.
After the indictment, the four activists denied all of the charges pressed against them and was scheduled for rights protection at 15 March 2021.
At 15.45 hrs., the lawyers and guarantors submitted bail motions for temporary release of the four activists while awaiting trial with 200,000 baht as a surety for each. In the case of Mob Fest, Parit had his bail submitted with the position of the professor from Thammasat University as a guarantor.
At 17.50 hrs., Tewan Rodcharoen, judge of the Criminal Court, denied bail for the four defendants including Parit in the case of Mob Fest, citing that “considering the gravity and circumstances of the charges, the charges have high penalty rates and the nature of the offences is grave. In addition, the defendants committed the same offenses many times. There are plausible reasons to believe that if they are released temporarily, they shall commit the same offence again. Therefore, the motion is dismissed, and the surety shall be returned”.
Upon the denial of bail, four activists were transferred to the Bangkok Remand Prison. This detention is pending trial, meaning that the detention is indefinite. If the court does not grant them bail, they will remain detained under the trial is concluded.