Lese majeste witness downplays PAD links
A prosecution witness in the lese majeste trial of Voice of Taksin magazine editor and key red shirt Somyos Prueksakasemsuk testified yesterday that two articles in the magazine allegedly defamatory to the monarchy could be construed as such if the reader is a royalist who - like himself - has "faith" in the monarchy.
Chawan Sae Lim, a 21-year-old law student at Thammasat University, said he was among three former student trainees at the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) who were asked to read the magazine and testify.
When cross-examined by defence lawyer Kamron Polpornkang, Chawan admitted to having joined People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) rallies in the past and having slept at rally sites on two occasions. The witness insisted, however, that he merely went there to learn about the PAD.
When pressed by the defence lawyer to describe the PAD's stance toward the red shirts, the witness told the court that the PAD sees the red shirts as being anti-monarchist.
On Wednesday, another prosecution witness testified that officials from some half a dozen organisations, including the National Security Council, the DSI, the police and the Ministry of Information and Communications Technology, had met to discuss content in various media deemed offensive to the monarchy.
Somyos appeared in good spirits yesterday, although his hair is now mostly grey after almost a year in prison and seven bail rejections. Kamron said a verdict in the trial would likely be delivered by July. He said he hopes to make it clear to the court that while Somyos is the editor of the magazine, he did not write the articles.
One prosecution witness, who used to work with the magazine, earlier testified to the court that he believed the author of articles written under the pen name Ji Polachan is fugitive politician Jakrapob Penkair, although he admitted he had no proof to back up the claim.