Thai woman faces sedition trial over plastic bowl

2016-03-29 19:56
(iStock)

(iStock)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Bangkok - A Thai woman has been charged with sedition, police said on Tuesday, after photos were spread of her holding a red bowl allegedly bearing a message from an ex-premier who lies at the heart of the kingdom's bitter politics.

The images showed Theerawan Charoensuk, 54, holding a hand-sized bowl with a goodwill note apparently signed by former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, whose powerful political dynasty is locked in a decade-long struggle with the kingdom's military-backed royalist elite.

She faces up to seven years in jail if convicted.

Her arrest comes as the ruling junta, who toppled a government led by Thaksin's sister in 2014, hardens its clampdown on political expression ahead of a referendum on a controversial charter it has penned.

The small bowl is used to pour water during Buddhist ceremonies and was distributed at a temple fair in northern Chiang Mai, the Shinawatra's hometown.

It was painted red - a colour with strong associations to the family's supporters, who are known as the "Red Shirts".

Local media reported it was signed by Thaksin along with a slogan that read: "The situation may be hot, but brothers and sisters may gain coolness from the water inside this bucket".

Police declined to comment on the details of the bowl, saying only that they believed it was handed out by a "certain political party".

"She was charged with section 116 - inciting chaos in the country," said Nateephat Akarapongthiti from Chiang Mai's Mae Ping police station.

The junta has outlawed all political activities and protests since the coup, in a vow to bridge the kingdom's vast divides.

But critics say the generals are more focused on rooting out the influence of the Shinawatras, who have dominated electoral politics for the past 10 years and are seen as a threat to the elite's status quo.

Junta chief Prayut Chan-O-Cha told reporters on Tuesday he found the charge was "suitable" because "it might be a national security threat".

"It was [a show of] support for people who have violated laws and run away from criminal charge," he said, a reference to Thaksin, who lives in self-imposed exile to avoid a corruption conviction.

Police said Theerawan, a Chiang Mai resident, was released from custody on Tuesday and will now face trial in a military court.

"She said she held up the bowl, but she didn't think that was wrong," Nateephat told AFP.

Rights groups say the junta has increasingly leaned on the country's tough sedition law to silence critics.

The charges have been brought against dozens since the 2014 takeover, including peaceful anti-junta activists and pro-democracy students as well as those accused of spreading rumours about alleged military corruption on Facebook.

The military has also overseen a surge in prosecutions for royal defamation, an offence that carries up to 15 years for each charge.

Read more on:    thailand

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News
 

10 gorgeous plus-sized models who aren't Ashley Graham

Here are just ten of our favourite plus-sized models:

 
 

You won't want to miss...

WATCH: Pornhub is giving users free access to premium content these holidays
5 top leg exercises for men
10 best dressed men of 2017
How to open a beer bottle without an opener
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.