Khon Kaen woman behind Facebook group post arrested

Khon Kaen woman behind Facebook group post arrested

A woman accused of being behind a Facebook post that criticised the draft constitution with aggressive, rude and harsh words in violation of the Referendum Act has been arrested in Khon Kaen.

Jirapan Tanmanee, 59, chairwoman of the Khon Kaen-based Rathawat Tanmanee Fund for the Rights of Autistic People, was brought to a police news conference last night after being arrested at around 5pm Wednesday.

Pol Lt Gen Sanit Mahathavorn, acting commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, said Mrs Jirapan posted on Facebook a message that violated Section 61 of the Referendum Act of 2016, he said. He apprehension came after election commission member Somchai Srisuthiyakorn filed a complaint with Thung Song Hong police in Bangkok.

"They posted comments on Facebook using foul and strong language," Reuters reported Mr Somchai as telling reporters after filing the charges. "We want them to be an example. From now on, people should talk about the constitution using reason."

At the briefing, Mrs Jirapan admitted to posting the comment, believing that doing so would not be against the law during the lead-up to the Aug 7 referendum. She said she learned later that the Referendum Act became effective on April 22.

The post has since been deleted, but a copy was saved.

The message was a clear violation of Section 61 of the Referendum Act enacted Friday, under which violators are subject to jail terms of up to 10 years and fines of up to 200,000 baht. They also could be banned from elections for five years, Mr Somchai said.

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