Wednesday, February 9, 2011, saw many cases related to the present conflicts in Thailand. The center case was of course the computer crime trial of Chiranuch Premchaiporn, Prachatai’s editor, which was closely observed especially by foreign organizations.
Darunee “Da Torpedo“ Charnchoengsilpakul ‘s appeal was today as well, in which the previous judgment was overruled because of procedural mistakes, and a new trial was ruled. This trial was observed by several Thai news sources.
I followed closest the least observed trial – the lese majeste and computer crime charges against Thantawut “Num” Thaweevarodomkul of the NorPorChorUSA website. I photographed Thantawut in the morning when he arrived in the holding cells.
In the same bus from the remand prison were three Red Shirt guards – Sompong “Oo” Bangchom, Manop “Bhet” Charnchangthong and Sae Daeng’s ‘luuk nong’ James Singhasith, who came to court for their preliminary hearing. Oo, of the Samin Dam group of hardcore guards was first arrested after hiding for three days in Wat Pathum Wanaram after the Rajaprasong dispersal, let out on bail, and recently rearrested in his home province of Sisaket. Bhet rose to fame after April 10, where he was photographed carrying weapons to the stage. He was recently arrested and presented to the media by the DSI, and was also charged with wrestling a gun from a police officer in the SC Park Hotel the day Arisaman made his famous escape (the only problem with this charge is that he definitely was not the culprit – it was another guard). I photographed Bhet and Oo as well in the holding cells.
After storing my camera with the court guards I went upstairs to room 904, where Tantawut’s trial continued for the second day. He sat next to his ten year old son, hugging him throughout the proceedings, the first opportunity since he was arrested. He was also accompanied by Granny Sa, an old lady who is his ardent supporter.
Finally Thida Thawornset came to court as well, accompanied by the head of the Law Society of Thailand, and several other lawyers, attempting again to get the Red Shirt leaders released on bail. The court decided to have another bail hearing – Somchai Paiboon will have his hearing on 14 February, and the other leaders on 21 February.