Woman caught with 'anti-monarchist' shirts denies sedition

Woman caught with 'anti-monarchist' shirts denies sedition

Police bring Ms Wannapa into the Criminal Court from the Crime Suppression Division on Wednesday. (Photo by Wassayos Ngamkham)
Police bring Ms Wannapa into the Criminal Court from the Crime Suppression Division on Wednesday. (Photo by Wassayos Ngamkham)

Police have charged a woman taxi motorcyclist with illegal assembly and sedition for possession of T-shirts the government has linked to an anti-monarchist movement. She denied all charges and put the blame on her mother.

The Crime Suppression Division took Wannapa, whose family name was withheld, to the Criminal Court on Wednesday to seek an order extending her detention for another 12 days.

The National Council for Peace and Order handed her over to the CSD on Tuesday evening. NCPO officers arrested her in Samut Prakan province in possession of black T-shirts with a small chest emblem said to represent the so-called Thai Federation movement, which Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon referred to as an anti-monarchist movement.

Representing Ms Wannapa, lawyer Pawinee Chumsri of Thai Lawyers for Human Rights, said her client denied the charges. She had never been a member of any political movement and did not know the meaning of the small rectangular logo on the shirts - a broad, red vertical band with a broad, white vertical band on either side.

She was an ordinary taxi motorcyclist and had distributed the shirts on instructions from her mother, the lawyer said. Her mother paid her to transport the shirts. The military seized 400 of the T-shirts from her, Ms Pawinee said.

Her client used the internet only to watch cartoons and movies and listen to music, and did not visit any political websites, the lawyer said.

The court approved Ms Wannapa's further detention and she was remanded in custody without bail.

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