Computer programmer in court on lese majeste charge

A lese majeste case against a computer programmer from Bung Kan province began at the Criminal Court yesterday.

Surapak Phuchaisaeng, 41, was arrested on Sept 2 last year at his Bangkok home. The police accused him of posting defamatory remarks about the royal family on a Facebook page.

Mr Surapak pleaded not guilty. He has been detained without bail at the Bangkok Remand Prison since his arrest.

Three witnesses testified on the first day of the hearing yesterday. The first witness is a Commerce Ministry registrar who testified about the condominium in which the defendant rented his room.

The second witness, Mali Arthitsaengthong, is the condominium supervisor.

The third witness, Chalermchai Mongkolkerdkij, alerted the police to Mr Surapak's postings, which allegedly defamed the monarchy.

Mr Chalermchai, 21, then a third-year student at Chandrakasem University, said he had been informed by a friend that a Facebook group contained messages that defamed, insulted and threatened the monarchy.

He said he monitored the page for about four months from May to August 2011.

Mr Chalermchai said he used the username "I Like Red" as a disguise to become a "friend" of the page.

He filed the lese majeste charge against the defendant as the owner of an email address that was associated with the Facebook page on Aug 29, which led to Mr Surapak's arrest four days later.

The trial will continue today.

Police investigators and officials from the Technology Crime Suppression Division will give evidence as prosecution witnesses, while an IT scholar and the defendant will be questioned by the defence.

Meanwhile, the wife of lese majeste suspect Somyos Preuksakasemsuk said she was informed that the Criminal Court at Ratchadapisek Road has postponed a hearing on her husband's case.

The court did not give a reason and it did not set a new date for the hearing, Mrs Sukunya said.

About the author

Writer: Achara Ashayagachat
Position: Senior Reporter