Update December 12, 2015

Dhaka 2-23 pm, 25-October, 2020

Thai military holding junta critic over Facebook ‘like’

Sumel Sarker

TO GO WITH AFP STORY by Rob Lever, US-MEDIA-IT-INTERNET-FACEBOOK This January 30, 2014 photo taken in Washington,DC, shows the splash page for the social media internet site Facebook. Facebook's move to fulfill its ambition to be the personal "newspaper" for its billion-plus members is likely to mean more woes for the ailing news media. The huge social network has become a key source of news for many users, as part of a dramatic shift in how people get information in the digital age. Company founder Mark Zuckerberg told a forum in early November 2014 that his goal is to make Facebook's newsfeed "the perfect personalized newspaper for every person in the world." Zuckerberg said that while a newspaper provides the same information to every reader, Facebook can tailor its feed to the interests of the individual, delivering a mix of world news, community events and updates about friends or family. AFP PHOTO / Karen BLEIER

Thai military holding junta critic over Facebook ‘like’

12 December 2015, Nirapad News: A Thai man who “liked” a doctored photo of the country’s king on Facebook is being held incommunicado at a military base, the ruling junta said Saturday, as rights groups warned he risked becoming another victim of “enforced disappearance.”

Thanakorn Siripaiboon, 27, was arrested earlier this week and charged with sedition, lese majeste and computer crimes for clicking “like” on a photo of the king and sharing it, plus an infographic on a corruption scandal, with around 600 friends.

“He is under military custody,” Colonel Burin Thongprapai, junta legal officer, told AFP Saturday, adding that he would be remanded at a military court Monday.

“He is well and in good condition,” he added.

Under Thai law anyone convicted of insulting the revered but ailing 88-year-old Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej, and the queen, heir or regent can face up to 15 years in jail on each count.

Prosecutions have soared since the army, which tags itself as the champion of the monarchy, grabbed power last year.

In the last two months, at least two people — including the celebrity fortune teller of the crown prince — have died in custody after being charged with lese majeste following secrecy-shrouded investigations.

Rights groups say the use of secret military detention — long employed in Thailand’s insurgency-hit south — has “now become a new standard nationwide,” under the junta, Human Rights Watch’s Sunai Phasuk told AFP.

“There is nothing at all to guarantee the safety of those held
incommunicado in military detention…. without access to their families and lawyers, and interrogated by soldiers without safeguards against mistreatment,” he added.

Thai Lawyers for Human Rights, who are providing legal assistance to Tanakorn and his family, said in a statement that they had “no idea” where Thanakorn was being held and assumed he “has become a victim of enforced disappearance.”

Ultraroyalist junta chief Prayut Chan-O-Cha seized power last year in a coup that toppled the democratically elected government of Yingluck Shinawatra after months of political chaos and street protests.

Prayut says his coup was needed to restore order to the politically turbulent nation, while critics say it was another move orchestrated by the country’s elite to grab power as fears mount over the kingdom’s future as the king’s reign enters its twilight years.

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