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Facebook ‘sedition’ suspect expresses remorse

Dec 14. 2015
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By THE NATION

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A FACTORY worker in Samut Prakan who is accused of lese majeste and instigating sedition has expressed remorse in an audio clip he recorded himself while being brought to a military court.
Thanakorn Siripaiboon, 27, admitted in the six-and-a-half-minute clip that he had distributed damaging information about the Army’s controversial Rajabhakti Park project, with the goal of attacking the government.
He said he regretted what he had done and asked activists campaigning against alleged corruption surrounding the Rajabhakti project to stop using him for their benefit. 
Thanakorn also urged social-media users to think carefully before posting or sharing anything online. “Your information may be used wrongly without your knowledge,” he said.
He also said he was making the recorded remarks voluntarily and not being forced to do so.
He recorded the audio clip on a mobile phone borrowed from a police officer.
Despite the self-recorded confession, the military court denied Thanakorn a temporary release, on the grounds that his alleged offences carried severe penalties and that granting him bail could result in allowing him to escape. The court agreed with a police request that Thanakorn be detained while their investigation was ongoing.
Thanakorn is accused of distributing on Facebook a diagram of people involved in the Rajabhakti Park project and clicking “like” on a photo deemed insulting to the monarchy.
Yesterday, he was brought by Crime Suppression Division police to the military court after he recorded the clip.
Police said yesterday that more arrest warrants would be issued for people involved in the alleged offences, in addition to Thanakorn and Thanet Anantawong, 25, who was arrested on Sunday in connection with the case.
Royal Thai Police deputy spokesman Pol Maj-General Piyapan Pingmuang said investigators were collecting evidence to determine who would face arrest warrants.
Pol Maj-General Songpol Wattanachai, another police spokesman, warned social-media users about the Computer Crime Act and that they should be more careful in sending messages on the Internet.
Deputy national police chief Pol General Sriwara Rangsibhramanakul said yesterday that police were convinced there was a mastermind behind the Rajabhakti diagram. “We believe they are people who disagree with the government.” 
Meanwhile, student activist Rangsiman Rome yesterday said he disagreed with the charges against Thanakorn, adding that the diagram in question came from the website of his group, the New Democracy Movement. He maintained that Thanakorn had nothing to do with the creation of the diagram.
Rangsiman and four other activists gathered near the military court yesterday to offer moral support to the two arrested men.
Thanet, the second man arrested for sharing the diagram on Facebook about the park project, was charged with violating the Computer Crime Act, according to Colonel Winthai Suvaree, spokesman for the military’s ruling National Council for Peace and Order. He declined to specify where the man was being held except that he was “in the control of authorities”. 
Anti-junta activist Siriwat Serithiwat yesterday called for Thanet’s release, saying he needed medical attention. He added that plainclothes security officers had taken Thanet from a hospital where he had been waiting for an operation. 
“I would like the court to release Thanet. He needs medical attention. We are afraid for his life,” he said.

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