By TANATPONG KONGSAI
Military court rejects police request to hold Patnaree for 12 days.
THE MILITARY Court yesterday released on bail the mother of a Resistant Citizen activist leader after charging her with lese majeste and violating the Computer Crime Act.
The court released Patnaree Chankij, mother of Sirawith Seritiwat, or “Ja New”, on Bt500,000 bail on the condition that she does not leave the country without permission and does not take part in activities that could incite strife.
Patnaree surrendered on Friday to face charges at the Technology Crime Suppression Division. She was taken to the Crime Suppression Division for further questioning on Saturday and detained at the Bangkok Military Court.
Thung Song Hong police yesterday sought approval from the Bangkok Military Court to detain her for 12 more days, citing the need to question seven more witnesses and check suspects’ computers and mobile phones. Police objected to her being released on bail on the grounds that the charges she faces carry prison terms of more than 10 years.
Pawinee Chumsri, Patnaree’s lawyer, sought court approval to release her client on bail, arguing that she would not flee because she had not committed the alleged offences, could not tamper with the evidence and detaining her further would harm her family.
After the hearing, Pawinee submitted the Bt500,000 bail.
Pawinee also questioned whether police had fairly and transparently searched her client’s house after she surrendered. She said police accessed a computer in the house in Patnaree’s absence.
The lawyer added that she was considering taking legal action regarding the police search.
She said Patnaree would make a statement in a letter and academics would give their opinions about the charges.
Meanwhile, Sirawith said he believes his mother was taken hostage to pressure him. “My ideology and stance will not be shaken because of the incident,’’ he said.
He said he was confident his mother was innocent.
Patnaree was initially shocked to be arrested but had composed herself, her son said.
“She did not think that the National Council for Peace and Order would adopt this ploy. If I am the issue, please clear the issue with me,’’ he said.
He said he could not access his Facebook page and would consult his lawyer about a possible next move.
National Security Council secretary-general General Thaweep Netniyom warned supporters of Ja New, who gathered to light candles outside the Technology Crime Suppression Division, not to break the law upon penalty of police action.
He said foreign organisations that were trying to exert influence over the government regarding the case should learn about the country’s laws. “When Thai law is broken, Thai police must take action because people in the whole country abide by the law. Why do these organisations have sympathy for a few people who break the law?’’ he asked.