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Sunday, February 6, 2011

Prachatai: First hearing on Chiranuch’s case

The trial of the Prachatai Director started with testimony from an official from the Ministry of Information and Communications Technology as a prosecution witness.  About 40 Thais and foreigners attended the hearing.

On 4 Feb, the Criminal Court started hearings in the case of Chiranuch Premchaiporn, who was charged under Section 15 of the 2007 Computer Crimes Act for allegedly failing to remove quickly enough from the Prachatai webboard reader comments deemed offensive to the monarchy.

MICT’s IT Supervision Office Aree Jiworarak testified as a prosecution witness that 10 threads of comments deemed offensive to the monarchy were found on the Prachatai webboard, identified to the Ministry by several persons including members of the public, military and police officers, intelligence personnel and himself.

He described to the court the procedures taken in blocking web pages, which include seeking cooperation from Internet Service Providers, asking for court orders and writing to the National Police Chief to prosecute offenders.

In cross examination, Chiranuch’s lawyer asked the witness about the criteria used in considering lèse majesté offences, the process, and the procedures to take legal actions against offenders.

The cross examination did not finish until about 4 pm, and the court adjourned the session to 8 Feb. 

About 40 Thais and foreigners, including human rights activists and representatives from foreign embassies, attended to observe the hearing.  Simultaneous translation was provided by volunteers.



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