Updated: Activist’s mother accused of lese majeste

Khaosod and several social media outlets report that the mother of activist student Sirawith Seritiwat has been charged with insulting the monarchy.
Patnaree Chankij is reported to not yet be in custody.

Update: Patnaree, who is aged 39, “is the subject of an arrest warrant approved by a military court Friday morning.” Police documents claimed “that there are reasonable grounds to believe that Patnaree has violated Section 112 of the Criminal Code…”.

Police refused to comment in detail. They stated that the investigation is ongoing and “confidential.”

Sirawith also declined to discuss the charge, saying: “This is now a criminal case. Please talk to my lawyer…”. Lawyer Arnon Nampa said “Patnaree is aware of the charge and will soon turn herself in.” He described the charge as “politically motivated.”

While virtually all lese majeste cases are politically motivated, this is one of the military dictatorship’s most blatant uses of lese majeste to silence critics. Over several months, the junta has been using its goons to threaten the families of several activists. Some of these activists, in Thailand and in exile, have had to go quiet because they fear for their families. Readers may have noticed this in the silence of some and in the outspokenness of one.

Having failed to force Patnaree to silence her son last December, it seems the junta’s thugs are now going a step further.

It may also be a step too far. Such blatant Gestapo-like tactics suggest both desperation on the part of the military dictatorship. Yet they also suggest that this bunch of thugs are fully prepared to frogmarch Thailand back into feudal darkness.

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