Thursday, 1 September 2016

Three lese majeste prisoners freed

Three lese majeste prisoners have been released from the Central Women's Correctional Institution in Bangkok after being imprisoned for 1-8 years.

On 27 August 2016, Bangkok Post reported that Daranee Charnchoensilpakul (Da Torpedo), Pornthip Munkong (Golf) and Thitinant Kaewchantranont have been released from prison.

Pornthip Munkong, in white with flowers, and Daranee Charnchoensilpakul, in grey with flowers, outside the central prison Saturday morning in Bangkok. Photo: Matichon

1. Ms Daranee Charnchoengsilpakul, better known as "Da Torpedo", was sentenced to 15 years for insulting the monarchy. She had been behind bars for eight years, three of them spent awaiting trial and sentencing.

Ms. Chancherngsilpakul  is also known as “Da Torpedo”, former journalist at Pimthai Newspapers and Thai Sky Cable TV. Before detention, Ms. Chancherngsilpakul  was a political activist from Democratic Alliance Against Dictatorship (DAAD), former name of United Front of Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD).Da Torpedo was accused of making a public speech at Sanam Luang with words deemed transgressing the Lese Majeste law  in July 2008. Sondhi Limthongkul, an ultra-royalist media firebrand, quoted what Ms Daranee had said at one of his own talks and the army filed the complaint against Ms Daranee the next day.

2. Ms Pornthip Munkong (Golf) was charged with lese majeste after she directed the play The Wolf's Bride at an event held on Oct 13, 2013 at Thammasat University to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Oct 14, 1973 uprising.
The privately set up Royal Monarch Alert Protection Network filed a complaint against Ms Pornthip and one of the actors. After a crackdown on lese majeste offenders following the May 22, 2014 coup, Ms Pornthip was arrested at Hat Yai airport on Aug 15, 2014.
She confessed to the crime and was sentenced on Feb 28, 2013 to five years in jail, commuted by half because she confessed. Like Ms Daranee, she was denied bail during the trial.

3. Mrs Thitinan Kaewchantranont, who was said to suffer from mental illness, was found guilty of treading on an image of HM the King when several groups of protesters gathered in front of the Constitutional Court office in July 2012. 
In May 2014, the Court of First Instance found Thitinan K. guilty of lèse majesté and sentenced her to two years in jail, but since the defendant pleaded guilty, the jail term was halved. As the defendant suffered from a mental illness, the jail term was suspended for three years. The court also required the defendant to report to the court every six months during the three years.

On 13 July 2012, about 400 protesters, both pro- and anti-establishment, gathered at the Constitutional Court compound when the court was scheduled to read its ruling on the Pheu Thai Party’s attempt to amend Article 68 of the charter. Anti-establishment, pro-Pheu Thai red-shirt protesters gathered to pressure the court, while another pro-establishment group came to show support for the court. 

Thitinan kicked at the King’s image while a protester was holding it. When the image fell to the ground, she then stepped on it twice. 

According to Weeranan Huadsri of Thai Lawyers for Human Rights , the three were included in a royal pardon under which 100 female prisoners were released.

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