Activist charged with lèse majesté-PPT

October 30, 2010

Surachai to go to court on lese majeste

Political Prisoners in Thailand: October 21, 2010


[The Nation]

If any further evidence of the political nature of the lese majeste law was required, it is provided by the decision of the public prosecutors to file a writ “charging anti-coup activist Surachai Danwattananusorn, aka Surachai Sae Dan, for making libellous remarks against the monarchy.” The courts have accepted the case and must now set a trial date.

According to reports, Surachai, who is said to be 68, “defamed the monarchy during a Sanam Luang rally in [15] December 2008.”

The Nation report says “Surachai is an ex-Communist-turned-activist.” In fact, he was a political activist in the 1970s and a political prisoner from 1976. He is an ex-CPT member.

He first reported to the police on 10 March 2009 on this allegation, but was not detained. He joined the anti-coup movement in 2006 and was part of the red shirt movement from its beginning, although he formed Red Siam in 2009 and had an on-again, off-again relationship with the mainstream red shirts until 2010, when his small group detached itself from the main red shirt demonstrations in March-May 2010.

Red Siam is said to include fellow lese majeste accused Jakrapop Penkair. Red Siam was mentioned recently mentioned by Jonathan Manthorpe in a Vancouver Sun article where he stated that a supposedly “ultramilitant breakaway group” from the main red shirts, Red Siam, was being named by some as responsible for the recent bombings.

At the time, PPT said we didn’t doubt that there are disgruntled red shirts working against the government, but the allegation by Manthorpe was unconfirmed. That doesn’t mean that the Abhisit Vejjajiva regime’s security officials and backers don’t believe such allegations, and lese majeste charges may well be their political response.


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