Another week, another disturbing case that has stirred public concern over the nation's lese majeste laws. Details are finally going viral of the incredible witch-hunt for a young Ratchaburi woman. The crowd-stalking and scurrilous campaign against the woman are troubling, to say the least. But the state justice system has reinforced the prejudice and abuse of "Joss Stick", as she is called, because of the unique workings of Article 112 and other lese majeste laws.
Joss Stick, or kahn dhoop in Thai, is the pseudonym of a constantly harassed student. She has been named in the yellow press, but most of the media have decently honoured ethical considerations, and kept her name confidential. Several years ago, when she was in high school, she may or may not have posted an item on her Facebook page which was offensive to the monarchy. There were, and are, no charges. No copies of the alleged posting have appeared. Until recently, authorities were not at all concerned about Joss Stick.
Since shortly after this alleged Facebook post, however, extremist members of the People's Alliance for Democracy have pursued Joss Stick relentlessly. They claim to be protectors of the country and highly loyal nationalists, and they use the online, PAD-connected newspaper Manager Online in their campaign.
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