Activist acquitted of lese majeste

Activist acquitted of lese majeste

Police take eight political activists, including Harit Mahathon and Nattharika Warathanyawit, to the military court to seek their first round of detention on April 29, 2016. (File photo)
Police take eight political activists, including Harit Mahathon and Nattharika Warathanyawit, to the military court to seek their first round of detention on April 29, 2016. (File photo)

The lower court has acquitted a political activist of lese majeste and computer crime charges due to the lack of witnesses and evidence to support the allegations.

Harit Nahaton, 31, was accused of defaming the royal institution in his chat messages posted on Facebook Messenger between January and April 2016. He was having conversations with Nattharika Warathanyawit, the second defendant.

Ms Nattharika, 48, who fled the country and is believed to be living in the United States, had allegedly used a Facebook account named Wararat Mengpramun to communicate with Mr Harit, according to the lawsuit.

The case against Ms Nattharika has been suspended following her flight from justice.

The case was brought to court by several security officials who claimed to have gained access to the Facebook accounts of both defendants, Winyat Chatmontri, a lawyer representing Mr Harit, said after Tuesday’s ruling.

The plaintiffs claimed that both defendants gave them their Facebook messenger passwords prior to their detention at a military camp, which the two had denied, said the lawyer.

The plaintiffs also claimed that they had made copies of their chat messages for use as evidence. A witness who is a university lecturer testifying for Mr Harit argued that these logs could have been doctored, said the lawyer.

Gen Wichan Chotdaeng, a witness testifying for the plaintiffs, said he was only informed about the alleged misconduct and did not see the chat messages, according to the ruling.

The plaintiffs also failed to confirm that the Facebook account belonged to Mr Harit.

After the ruling was delivered, Mr Harit expressed his gratitude to the court for ensuring that justice was served.

He added that he would not file a counter suit against the security officials pursuing legal action against him, as he believed they were only carrying out orders.

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