Police accuse red shirt of defamation over Facebook comments

A police officer has accused a member of the anti-establishment red shirt of defamation after he posted comments to complain about having his house searched without a court warrant.

On 15 March 2017, Boribun Kiangwarangkun, a member of a red shirt group in Ban Pong District of Ratchaburi Province, reported to the local police station in the district to listen to accusations against him.

Boribun is among at least 10 other red shirts in Ban Pong accused of breaching the junta’s political gathering ban for gathering on 19 June 2016 at the local referendum watch centre of the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD), the main red shirt faction.

Pol Lt Col Sarayut Buriwatchira filed a complaint against him, accusing Boribun of defamation and violation of the 2007 Computer Crime Act.

According to the police officer, on 15 July 2016 Boribun posted Facebook comments on his Facebook account, which were false and deemed defamatory to the police force.

The Facebook comment was posted following the police search of Buribun’s house the day before. The police cited authorities under Section 44 of the Interim Charter, which gives security officers absolute power over security matters, to search the house without presenting a search warrant.

After hearing the charge, Boribun was released without having to request for bail. The police ordered him to report to the police station for the interrogation again on 17 April 2017.

If found guilty for violating Article 14 of the 2007 Computer Crime Act along, Boribun could face five years imprisonment or 100,000 baht or both.   

Well-wisher gives a bouquet of flowers to Boribun Kiangwarangkun at Ban Pong District Police Station on 15 March 2017 (Photo from Thai Lawyers for Human Rights)