Prachatai reports that, on 14 December 2016, a military court has held a deposition hearing on the lese majeste case against Patnaree Charnkij, the mother of the well-known anti-junta activist Sirawith Serithiwat.
The court decided to hear the case in secret, announcing “it would proceed with the hearing in camera, allowing only Patnaree and her defence lawyer to be in the courtroom without any observers since the case is related to the lèse majesté law.”
Patnaree denied the lese majeste charge “and vowed to fight the case.” She remains on bail.
Patnaree’s charge arises from a “private Facebook chat with Burin Intin, another lèse majesté suspect.”
In fact, she is charged because the military dictatorship has sought to silence her activist son. It is a threat to each and every activist, emphatically stating that the junta will come after you and your family if you dare oppose the junta.
She is accused of “defaming” the monarchy by the use of the word “ja” when “replying to a Facebook message from Burin deemed to be lèse majesté…”.
The report states that “Human Rights Watch translated this word as a non-committal, colloquial ‘yes’ in the Thai language,” while the lese majeste police say the word “shows that she accepted or agreed with the message and failed to report Burin to the authorities.”
Both are wrong. The use of “ja” or “ka” or “krup” is an acknowledgement of another’s statement. It is not a “yes” or an agreement. These words do not imply agreement or disagreement.
Her secret trial in a military court will begin on 29 March 2017.