Man accused of mocking late King’s dog to be tried in military court

A provincial court has concluded that Bangkok’s military court has the jurisdiction to try a lèse majesté suspect accused of mocking the late King’s favourite dog.

On 29 November 2016, the Military Court of Bangkok held a deposition hearing on a case against Thanakorn S., a 27-year-old man from Samut Prakan Province, according to the Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR)
 
Thanakorn was indicted under Article 112 of the Criminal Code, the lèse majesté law, for clicking ‘like’ and posting or sharing a message mocking Thong Daeng on facebook. Thong Daeng, now deceased, was the late King Bhumibol’s favourite pet.
 
During the hearing, the military court read a statement from Samut Prakan Provincial Court, which concluded that the jurisdiction to try Thanakorn belongs to the military court according to the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO)’s announcement No. 37/2014.
 
In brief, the order states that crimes related to national security are to be tried by military courts.
 
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. Section 44 gives the Head of the National Council for Peace and Order absolute authority for the purpose of maintain national security.
 
Thanakorn was detained for about three months before Bangkok’s Military Court granted him 500,000 baht bail.
 
The lèse majesté suspect also faces charges under Article 14 of the 2007 Computer Crime Act for the alleged lèse majesté post. In an unrelated case, he also faces charges under Article 116 of the Criminal Code —  the sedition law — for having posted an infographic on the Rajabhakti Park corruption scandal on Facebook.
 
The military court and Samut Prakan provincial court, however, disagree on certain details about the lèse majesté case. The Court Jurisdiction Committee will make a final decision about the disagreements.  
 
Thanakorn has been ordained as a Buddhist monk since May 2016.
 
 
Thong Daeng's statue at the Dog Care Centre in Hua Hin District of Prachuap Khiri Khan Province (Photo from http://radio.prd.go.th)