Criminal Defamation Cases against Frank G Anderson-Prachatai
February 22, 2012
Prachatai: February 21, 2012
The following is an update regarding two criminal defamation cases filed against FACT signer Frank G Anderson by Royal Thai Police based on accusations against him filed by UK national Akbar Khan and Thai police colonel Wattanasak Mungkijkarndee, both of whom in the past were very publicly connected with lese majesté accusations against Thais and foreigners, including the Foreign Correspondents Club and BBC in cases that are still current.
In 2008 Anderson posted dozens of comments on the editorial pages of his website, www.thekoratpost.com, critically analyzing what were then well-publicized comments by individuals and groups claiming loyalty and advocating lese majesté charges against others whom they openly accused of lese majeste.
In December 2008 Anderson’s first accuser registered a criminal defamation complaint (according to Paholyothin police) with the DSI, was then told to take it to the police station where jurisdiction was – Paholyothin, which, according to police, he did. Within a month or two, a close colleague of the first accuser lodged an identical complaint, claiming to police that he would have lodged it earlier but had been occupied with official police business.
From December 2008 until February 2010, Anderson was never informed by accusers, police or anyone else that any material on the website was defamatory of damaging to anyone’s reputation, but especially to those of his accusers. No one took a single step to contact Anderson or the website to register objections, ask or demand changes to information posted, or in any way hinted that the material was defamatory. The failure to do so is extremely important in jurisprudence – outside Thailand, but why not domestically? The nature of the failure to take reasonable steps to prevent damage or continued damage to reputation by immediate steps at notifying webmaster, from pre-investigation through to today, 19 February 2012, seems self-explanatory.
From February 2010 through to late 2012 Anderson was subject to almost monthly mandatory visits to police and prosecutor, having to drive the 500 kilometer round distance to Korat to personally appear. He was also able to have relatives appear in stead from time to time, but expenses and hardships were also present. Throughout all of the investigations, Anderson made it a point time and time again to remind police that they had initiated investigations based on wrongfully-translated evidence provided by accusers and that accusers were negligent, and possibly criminally negligent, in not taking any effort to arrange for removal or editing of the so-called defamatory material. Police did little to demonstrate they understood this principle.
Toward the end of 2011, Anderson’s monthly visits to prosecutor were changed by the prosecutor’s office to a no-need-to-appear-telephone call-only contact once every two months. According to the prosecutor, the police were still re-examining evidence.
In the middle of January 2012, Anderson visited the Department of Special Investigation in Bangkok and submitted a complaint and letter requesting DSI inquiry into the behavior of Royal Thai Police and his two accusers, citing earlier objections, claims of malfeasance, false criminal filing accusations he counter-filed against is accusers, and asking for cooperation in evaluating the cases against him with the objective of having them dismissed and his accusers prosecuted.
In the same letter he also advised DSI that he was considering filing formal terrorism charges against police and accusers. Currently Anderson’s next phone contact with prosecutor’s office for status update is in late March.