Thai police recently arrested a man solely for Facebook messages sent to another lèse majesté suspect in military custody.
The man claimed the messages were merely an exchange of views about politics, but the police said he was supplying lèse majesté content to another suspect through the chat and that they were part of the “movement” to defame the monarchy on Facebook.
Jamroen S., a 59-year-old civil servant, was arrested in early January by the military and police. On 14 January, the police held a press conference on the arrest. The police accused him of using the Facebook profile named ‘Uncha Unyo’ to disseminate lèse majesté content.
During the press conference, the police said Jamroen confessed to the crime and claimed that he had been doing it for a year.
According to Pol Maj Gen Siripong Timula, the Deputy Commander of the Technology Crime Suppression Division (TCSD), the suspect is connected to Pongsak S., another lèse majesté suspect arrested earlier for posting lèse majesté content on the Facebook profile named ‘Sam Parr’.
While the police said Jamroen compiled lèse majesté content before sending it to Pongsak through Facebook chat, Jamroen claimed he merely complained to Pongsak about the anti-election People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) and sometimes touched upon the monarchy, according to the Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR).
Jamroen added that he has never posted on his Facebook wall content related to politics.
After the coup, dissidents detained by the military under the martial law unanimously said that the authorities forced the detainees to give up their usernames and passwords of their Facebook and email accounts. There are reports of activity on detainees’ Facebook accounts while the detainees are still in custody. It is likely that the military and police accessed the chat logs of Pongsak and found evidence of lèse majesté which led to the arrest.
The police accused Pongsak and Jamroen of offences under Article 112 or the lèse majesté law and Article 14 of the Computer Crime Act (importing of illegal content into a computer system.)