NCPO insists Patnaree case has grounds, deplores 'campaign'

NCPO insists Patnaree case has grounds, deplores 'campaign'

The military regime complained Monday of attempts by the public to 'pile pressure' on the ruling junta with protests such as this one for the release of Patnaree Chankij. (Photo by Patipat Janthong)
The military regime complained Monday of attempts by the public to 'pile pressure' on the ruling junta with protests such as this one for the release of Patnaree Chankij. (Photo by Patipat Janthong)

The National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) reiterated Monday it has evidence to back the lese majeste charge against Patnaree Charnkij, denying authorities had brought the case simply to intimidate the regime's critics.

NCPO spokesman Col Piyapong Klinpan said the military had solid evidence when it accused Ms Patnaree, the mother of Resistant Citizen group leader Sirawith "Ja New" Seritiwat, of violating Section 112 of the Criminal Code.

He said the evidence, gathered by the Technology Crime Suppression Division, was presented to the Military Court when the authorities sought her arrest.

Col Piyapong said authorities could not share the evidence with the public as that would amount to repeating the offence.

He insisted the regime had not brought the charge to silence its critics.

The military has been criticised for exploiting the law to gag its critics after the release of an unverified screen grab circulating online of a Facebook conversation between Ms Patnaree and fellow lese majeste suspect Burin Intin.

The screen grab showed the only words typed by Ms Patnaree were ja and hur, Thai expressions of plain acknowledgment and sighing.

The military has repeatedly insisted there was more to it than that.

Ms Patnaree was granted bail on Sunday afternoon after the court earlier in the day approved a police request to detain her for 12 days pending an investigation.

The release came with conditions including that she not leave the country and stay out of further trouble.

The release came as a Thai delegation led by justice permanent secretary Charnchao Chaiyanukit prepares to present Thailand's human rights record to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva tomorrow.

Commenting on claims the charge against Ms Patnaree lacks substance, a source in the NCPO  said Monday anti-coup activists are implementing a coordinated campaign to pile pressure on the regime.

The NCPO is monitoring the movement closely.

Last month, former Pheu Thai Party MP Watana Muagsook was detained for violating a junta order, a move that sparked protests from anti-coup activists including the Resistant Citizen Group.

Following his detention Mr Watana's daughter petitioned the European Union to push for Mr Watana's release and investigate his case and other arbitrary detentions by the military.

"This is what they have planned all along. The people shouldn't be fooled. The NCPO is keeping a close watch and will enforce the law if they do something illegal," said the source.

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