Military court grants bail to man mocking King’s dog

The military court has granted bail to a factory worker accused of of lèse majesté for mocking the King’s dog.

After denying bail requests twice, the Military Court of Bangkok on Tuesday, 8 March 2016, granted 500,000 baht bail to Thanakorn S., a 27-year-old factory worker.

Thanakorn is accused under Article 112 of the Criminal Code, the lèse majesté law, for clicking ‘like’ and posting or sharing a message mocking Thong Daeng, a well-known female copper-coloured dog, the King’s favourite pet while it was alive, on facebook.

According to Anon Nampa, the suspect’s defence lawyer, the suspect is also accused of Article 112 for pressing ‘like’ on a facebook message deemed defamatory to the Thai monarchy.

In addition, the suspect is charged under Article 116, the sedition law, for posting an infographic on the Rajabhakti Park corruption scandal on Facebook.

The suspect will be released from Bangkok Remand Prison today. The court gave condition that the suspect is not permitted to travel outside the country without an  approval from the court.

Thanakorn was arrested at his house in Samut Prakan Province on 8 December 2015 by military and police officers who invoked Section 44 of the Interim Constitution which gives the Head of the National Council for Peace and Order absolute authority to maintain national security.

Last month, Anon submitted a letter to the military Judge Advocate General’s Office, calling for justice for Thanakorn.

In the letter, the lawyer said his client should not have been charged under Article 112 since the language of the law reads “whoever defames, insults or threatens the King, Queen, Heir-apparent or Regent shall be punished with imprisonment of three to fifteen years.”

“In this case, the plaintiff intentionally used Article 112 as a political tool to deal with political dissidents,” wrote Anon in the letter.

He added “the fact that the plaintiff deliberately accused the suspect with disproportionate offences and the interrogators went along with it is unlawful.”

Anon explained in the letter that the military government has been claiming that, under the current political circumstances, national security is of primary importance, but in many cases the military have abused the judicial system for political goals to the point that the credibility of the judicial system in Thailand has been criticised.

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