Thailand charges activist who mocked PM’s song

Al Jazeera

Campaigner took to Facebook to rate military leader’s song on ‘returning happiness’ and could be jailed three years.

Prayuth Chan-ocha has written several emotion-filled ballads since seizing power that get a lot of radio play [Chaiwat Subprasom/Reuters]

A Thai activist who made fun of one of leader Prayuth Chan-ocha’s ballads on Facebook has been charged with cyber-crime for publishing material critical of the government.

Veera Somkwamkid was charged with “importing false computer data” for a post saying most Thais lacked confidence in the military government, which took power in a 2014 coup in the name of ending more than a decade of political unrest.

Veera’s post had been based on a tongue-in-cheek survey he carried out online as to which of the promises in the junta theme song “Returning Happiness to Thailand” had been kept.

Alarm over Thailand soldiers being given police powers

Prayuth has written several ballads since taking power. Filled with emotion, they get frequent play on state radio and are sung by an army chorister rather than Prayuth himself.

Pledges in the stirring song penned by Prayuth include: “We’ll do as promised”, “We won’t need long”, “The beautiful land will return”, “We will be honest”, and “We would like to return happiness to you all”.

Most participants in the survey said “None of the Above”.

Veera, chairman of the People’s Rights and Liberty Protection Group, denied all charges. He could face up to three years in jail, but was released on bail.

His post was in response to a series of polls by Thai survey institutions that showed strong support for the military government, Veera said.

“I insist that my post was published according to my rights and liberty to ask people’s opinion,” he told reporters after hearing his charge at a cyber-police division.

Thailand to try opposition figures in military court

The government has made increasing use of cyber-laws against critics.

“The government should be more open,” said Weerawat Somnuek, of Thai legal watchdog group iLaw. “They should start allowing people to say more and start listening to people.”

Thailand was asked to address several rights issues in UN review sessions in Geneva this week. Rights groups said the delegation failed to show genuine commitment.

Source: News agencies

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This entry was posted in Thailand - Thái Lan and tagged , , , by Trần Đình Hoành. Bookmark the permalink.

About Trần Đình Hoành

I am an attorney in the Washington DC area, with a Doctor of Law in the US, attended the master program at the National School of Administration of Việt Nam, and graduated from Sài Gòn University Law School. I aso studied philosophy at the School of Letters in Sài Gòn. I have worked as an anti-trust attorney for Federal Trade Commission and a litigator for a fortune-100 telecom company in Washington DC. I have taught law courses for legal professionals in Việt Nam and still counsel VN government agencies on legal matters. I have founded and managed businesses for me and my family, both law and non-law. I have published many articles on national newspapers and radio stations in Việt Nam. In 1989 I was one of the founding members of US-VN Trade Council, working to re-establish US-VN relationship. Since the early 90's, I have established and managed VNFORUM and VNBIZ forum on VN-related matters; these forums are the subject of a PhD thesis by Dr. Caroline Valverde at UC-Berkeley and her book Transnationalizing Viet Nam. I translate poetry and my translation of "A Request at Đồng Lộc Cemetery" is now engraved on a stone memorial at Đồng Lộc National Shrine in VN. I study and teach the Bible and Buddhism. In 2009 I founded and still manage dotchuoinon.com on positive thinking and two other blogs on Buddhism. In 2015 a group of friends and I founded website CVD - Conversations on Vietnam Development (cvdvn.net). I study the art of leadership with many friends who are religious, business and government leaders from many countries. In October 2011 Phu Nu Publishing House in Hanoi published my book "Positive Thinking to Change Your Life", in Vietnamese (TƯ DUY TÍCH CỰC Thay Đổi Cuộc Sống). In December 2013 Phu Nu Publishing House published my book "10 Core Values for Success". I practice Jiu Jitsu and Tai Chi for health, and play guitar as a hobby, usually accompanying my wife Trần Lê Túy Phượng, aka singer Linh Phượng.

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