Tiwagorn Withiton, a Facebook user who posted an image of him wearing a shirt printed with “I lost faith in the monarchy”, was released from a psychiatric hospital after being detained under questionable circumstances on 9 July. Meanwhile, people are being pressured by security authorities for talking and posting about it.
Tiwagorn (green shirt) while being transported.
The Isaan Record reported that Tiwagorn was released from Khon Kaen Rajanagarindra Psychiatric Hospital on 22 July. The Isaan Record went to Tiwagorn’s house where someone claiming to be a relative did not provide any information, saying they wanted to bring this issue to an end as the media had attracted too much attention.
Dr Nattakorn Jampathong, Director of Khon Kaen Rajanagarindra Psychiatric Hospital, declined an interview with the Isaan Record, saying only “I do not wish to give any information related to this issue. Let the family be the ones to give information. The hospital is trying not to be involved.”
Tiwagorn, 47, was taken from his house to the hospital on 9 July. His hands were tied with a piece of cloth and he was given an injection in both arms. Tiwagorn’s mother said that after Tiwagorn was taken away in an ambulance, police officers searched the house and seized his computer, smartphone and the T-shirt. They also made his mother sign a document, the content of which is unknown.
Tiwagorn was prohibited from using his cell phone while he was detained.
Tiwagorn’s Facebook post wearing the ‘lost faith’ T-shirt gained wide public attention until he was admitted to the hospital. #SaveTiwagorn (#saveทิวากร) trended on Twitter with more than 200,000 retweets. The words “Lost Faith” appeared in many recent protest signs as authorities put pressure on protesters who expressed their opinions about the monarchy.
On 20 July, a university student in Bangkok was visited at his house by 2 plainclothes police officers after he shared news about Tiwagorn and a Royal commemoration gate on his Facebook account.
The student said the police approached his father showing their police ID cards but no warrant. The police said their “boss” had ordered them to monitor the student. If any more monarchy-related news was shared, it may violate the Computer Crime Act.
The polices had warned him 'Any dissatisfaction should be left unspoken.'
The police made him sign a document which contains the promise that he will not post anything that criticizes or makes a negative reference to the monarchy again. He signed the document which was taken back by the police without allowing him to take photo of it or keep a copy. The police also took a photo of his ID card.
Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) reported that similar incidents have happened in many places where police officers showed up at people’s house without warrants and made people sign MOUs.
Kriangkrai Singhon from Chiang Khan, Loei Province, used Tiwagorn’s photo of the T-shirt as his Facebook account cover photo. On the afternoon of 14 July, 5 official vehicles, carrying mostly plainclothes police with guns at their waists, surrounded his shop. They announced themselves without showing their ID cards or names.
Kriangkrai was taken to a police station for interrogation as a witness. Kriangkrai said that he saw an officer with a photo of his ID card which he never gave them. The police said that they will submit the case to the Bureau of the Royal Household for their decision on further action.
He asked the police about the reason of the arrest as others who posted the photo were not arrested like him. The police did not answer his question.