BANGKOK — A well-known human rights lawyer was summoned by police Thursday to hear charges of violating the Computer Crime Act and contempt of court.
Arnon Nampa, who has represented numerous pro-democracy activists and rights advocates, denied any wrongdoing and said the charges were lodged because of his activism against the military regime. A string of junta opponents has faced similar charges in recent months.
Arnon responded to the news by posting the summons letter he received from the police and in his irreverent and chauvinist style suggested that potential suitors seek him out while they can.
“Girls who want to screw this little lawyer better hurry because this time I’m in for serious charges = contempt of court, violating the court’s authority and the Computer Crime Act! If I am imprisoned, it will be long. You can send a message to my inbox. First come, first served,” he wrote today on Facebook.
Thailand’s contempt of court statute has become broadly interpreted to punish any remark deemed offensive or even critical of the courts and their rulings.
Apart from serving as a lawyer, Arnon also leads an activist group called Resistant Citizens.
The letter stated that the accusations were filed Dec. 5 by police Lt. Col. Supharat Kam-in, but Arnon was only informed today. It ordered Arnon to appear by Wednesday. The lawyer said he will inform police he isn’t free that day.
The summons did not specify any alleged wrongdoing. Arnon believes however that the charges relate to a Nov. 2 post on Facebook in which he criticized a court ruling that supporters of lese majeste convict Jatupat “Pai” Boonpattararaksa were guilty of contempt of court.
Asked if the charges would soften his criticism of the junta, Arnon, who has over 46,000 followers on Facebook, said no.
“I insist I will continue,” he said.
Violating the Computer Crime Act carries a maximum prison term of five years. Those guilty of contempt of court face up to six months in jail.
Cybercrimes and other offenses have been used in recent months to prosecute critics of the junta, which include the likes of politicians, activists and journalists.
Just this week, Pheu Thai Party spokeswoman Sunisa Divakorndamrong was charged with violating the Computer Crime Act and sedition for criticizing the regime online.