As the Thai government and Thai judicial system continue to prove what a backward, Third World country Thailand still is in so many ways, the webmaster of Thai website Prachatai found out today the verdict in her lese majeste court case will be delayed until May 30.
If you’ve missed the story so far, you may be wondering why webmaster Jiranuch (Chiranuch) Premchaiporn is being tried in a Thai court for violation of Thailand’s middle-ages=style lese majeste law? Because she did not delete negative comments written by other website users about the Thai royal family from Pratchatai web boards fast enough. So she was arrested and charged with violation of Articles 14 and 15. Seriously. And this is what passes for ‘acceptable justice’ in what-is-still Third World Thailand.
Now, after almost two years of being charged with a lese majeste crime, the verdict in Jiranuch Premchaiporn’s case was supposed to be heard today but it was delayed. Why? Although the Thai court says it’s because they need more time to review documents, it’s pretty obvious what the real reason is. Too many foreign journalists, who are rightly appalled at this disgrace for human rights case in Thailand, showed up at the court to hear the verdict. Another huge embarrassment for Thailand and its reputation if the verdict goes the wrong way and Jiranuch is found ‘guilty’ so, in true Thai fashion, delay it and hope the news media’s attention ends up elsewhere meanwhile (it won’t!).
The Jiranuch case is also more unusual as, unlike most others charged with lese majeste in Thailand, she refused to plead ‘guilty’ (as let’s face it, she’s not). Others have pleaded guilty just so they can hopefully get lighter sentences and because in Thailand, once you are charged with lese majeste, the justice system is so biased and so corrupt it’s pretty much an immediate guilty verdict.
Like we keep saying, if you care about basic human rights and freedom of speech, unfortunately Thailand is the last place you should be spending your money.