Crime Suppression Division (CSD) police yesterday raided the office of Prachatai's political website and took its webmaster into custody accusing her of violating the Computer Act.
About 10 CSD officers led by Pol Col Satit Tachayapop, deputy CSD commander, went to the (prachatai.com) office yesterday. Armed with a search warrant dated March 5, 2008, they searched the office and detained Cheeranuch Premchaiphorn, the webmaster.
The CSD team accused her of violating Article 15 of the Computer Act as well as disseminating lese majeste content on the website from Oct 15 to Nov 3 last year.
The police interrogated her for hours and copied all files from her personal computer. Chantana Banpasirichote, a political lecturer from Chulalongkorn University, yesterday used her position to guarantee Ms Cheeranuch's bail.
Chuwat Lertkitisuk, the website editor, said the police raid could have been prompted by certain messages posted on the site's web board.
A lot of messages have been posted, and the webmasters might not be quick enough to delete alleged lese majeste messages from the web board, he said.
CSD officers also seized PCs and relevant documents as evidence, he said.
"This is obviously media intimidation and the latest case of using lese majeste as a tool to curb freedom of expression," said Mr Chuwat.
About 50 international academics recently signed a letter demanding he amend the lese majeste law.
He said his plan to make changes to the law was intended to ensure justice in society, not to favour the academics. Any amendment will not have any effect on lese majeste cases in the past.
Suthep Thaugsuban, deputy prime minister for national security, took a tougher stance against the lese majeste law amendment.
"Whoever tries to persuade me to amend the law, I won't agree with them. I won't let anybody defame the monarchy. At the same time, I will make sure no one can use the monarchy as a tool to abuse others," he said.
The Democrats have no credibility. If you notice, they are not just shutting down websites that attack the king, but silencing people who criticize the Democrat Party, the military and the PAD, as if this axis of evil is the untouchable Praetorian Guard of the monarchy.
Anybody with half a braincell can see that the Democrats are actually more guileful than Thaksin when it comes to destroying their opposition. How shameless can they be?
They used the military and the PAD to get into power, and now they are protecting their allies and silencing their critics. Under Thai law, the leaders of the PAD should be rotting in jail for treason and terrorism charges. Instead, they are about to start a new political party. Gee, traitors and terrorists get a new political party after their reign of terror and bringing down the government, how quaint.
Can you imagine in the West, police thugs raiding a newspaper, and confiscating all the materials and putting somebody in jail for something they wrote, or a poster wrote on their website?
There would be international condemnation and people would be in the streets.
Also, every law abiding citizen who ever posted on Prachatai will now be in a police database, regardless if they wrote anything critical of the monarchy or not.
The Democrats are the party of fascism, the PAD is their SA, and the police and military their protectors.
The whole situation is revolting.
The AHRC condemns the action here.
Jon Ungpakorn responds here.
BBC (from Prachatai) here.
The Nation here.
New Mandala and excellent follow up comments here.