Ex-princess' parents face charges

Ex-princess' parents face charges

A Ratchaburi woman has accused the parents of former princess Srirasm, now Thanphuying Srirasmi Suwadee, of citing the royal institution to threaten her and put her in jail for a crime she claimed she did not commit 12 years go.

Sawita Maneechan, 31, accompanied by her parents, Wijit and Salee, and grandfather Chaluay Sompong, on Thursday filed a complaint with acting Central Investigation Bureau chief Thitirat Nongharnpitak at the Crime Suppression Division (CSD).

The petition asked the police to charge Apiruj Suwadee, 72, and his wife Wantanee, 66, with insulting the monarchy, requesting a person to make a false report to authorities and requesting a person to make a false report to criminally punish other people. 

According to Ms Sawita, the alleged incident occurred in 2003 when she was 20 years old. The parents accused her family of falsely claiming to others that they knew them well and subsequently created a rumour that Mr Apiruj may have had an adulterous affair with Ms Sawita, which had damaged the Suwadee family. Mrs Wantanee also accused Ms Sawita of having an affair with her husband. 

Ms Sawita, an employee at the Mae Fah Luang Foundation, said her grandfather was the only member of her family who knew Mr Apiruj. The alleged affair with Mr Apiruj was also not true as she was living with her family at all times. 

She said her parents and grandfather tried in vain to explain the situation and defend her against the baseless allegations, but Mr Apiruj and Mrs Wantanee would not listen. 

The parents then claimed Ms Sawita borrowed 130,000 baht from them and later used their influence to force her uncle, who was a police officer, to press a fraud charge against her, she said. 

Ms Sawita insisted the fraud charge was made up and that she had to confess to the crime in order to save other family members from being bullied further.

On Dec 20 of that year, the Ratchaburi Municipal Court sentenced her to two years in prison for the crime she did not commit but converted it to one year and a half. 

After completing the sentence and being released from prison, Ms Sawita found her family had been ruined by the couple and forced to move from Ratchaburi to Phetchaburi. She said her father, who ran a contract construction firm in the province, was bullied and could not continue with his business. 

The family was not able to lodge any complaint about their plight for more than a decade, she said.   

“I came to make a complaint to police, and I want nothing but justice for my family after what happened,” Ms Sawita said. 

“I can’t apply for a job anywhere because [firms] dare not accept me when they know I was convicted of fraud.”  

Pol Maj Gen Thitirat said he had assigned Pol Col Akkaradej Pimolsri, acting chief of the Crime Suppression Division (CSD), to investigate the case and see justice is done if Ms Sawita is found to be innocent. 

A source at the CSD said the parents are expected to report to police on Friday at 10am.    

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