Buddha Issara FB Removes Post About Judicial Allies

Buddha Issara walks with anti-government protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban, 6 March 2014

(3 March) The official Facebook page of the prominent anti-government monk activist has removed a post which asserts that the court supported his rally in Chaeng Wattana Road.

In the now-deleted post, either Buddha Issara or one of his close aides claimed that the monk has been contacted by an unnamed "secretary of the courts", who reportedly begged the protesters not to abandon their rally site around the Government Complex on Chaeng Wattana Road, where a number of judicial agencies are housed.

According to the post, the judicial official expressed his or her worry that pro-government protesters might arrive at the road and use the area to organise prolonged rallies against the courts, as the Redshirts have besieged the office of National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) in Nonthaburi province last week.

"The courts have asked us to stay until they have concluded their trials on the government faction," the Facebook page alleged.

The remark was posted at the time when the government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra is due to face a number of verdicts from the courts and other judicial bodies.

For instance, the constitutionality of her 2.2 trillion baht infrastructure overhaul project is slated to be decided by the Constitutional Court next week, while the NACC is currently pursuing a separate investigation into the alleged corruption in her administration.

The post also anger many supporters of the government, who have long accused the judicial powers of conspiring with anti-government protesters to oust Ms. Yingluck. 

Several hours later, after the post was widely circulated on the social network and reported on a number of media outlets, Buddha Issara's Facebook team removed it and claimed that the post was published due to misunderstanding.

"The Admin has published it without authorisation due to misunderstanding," the statement says, "The contents were neither approved nor fact-checked by Luang Phu"

The statement also urged those who have shared the controversial post to delete it.  

Asked about the incident, Mr. Atichote Pondee, deputy secretary-general of the Administrative Court, admitted that the court has sent officials to meet with Buddha Issara, but he insisted that their intention was to ask the protesters to clear a path around the Administrative Court for an important ruling on 7 March, which is expected to attract many observers and reporters.

"We told them so they won't be surprised to see so many people on that day," Mr. Atichote said.

He also denied the claim that the courts have asked Buddha Issara to maintain his rally site on Chaeng Wattana Road.

"The courts would never intrude into that matter. I suppose the staff were joking at each other," Mr. Atichote told our correspondent, "No matter what group comes to rally, the court will facilitate their convenience equally. We will provide care to both sides equally".

The deputy sec-gen added that he has been informed by the Constitutional Court office that they have not dispatched any official to meet with Buddha Issara as claimed by his Facebook post.

"The post was likely caused by misunderstand among his staff," Mr. Atichote insisted.