The Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Minister yesterday denied any knowledge of two Thais being arrested under the new Computer Crime Act for posting offensive comments about the monarchy.Published on September 2, 2007
"I don't know about it. And if someone were arrested under the law, I would not be informed," Sitthichai Pookaiyaudom said when contacted by telephone.
The arrest was reported on the front page of the Financial Times' weekend edition. The paper quoted a senior official as saying that "in recent weeks, authorities have used a new computer crime law to arrest two Thais, now in custody, for offensive comments about the monarchy on Internet chat rooms".
The newspaper did not give any details about the arrest.
The Computer Crime Act, proposed by the ICT Ministry, took effect recently and allows police to seize computers of people suspected of disseminating "insulting or pornographic" content.
The law raised concerns among both local and international human rights organisations such as Reporters Without Borders, which said it might result in an increasingly restrictive policy towards free expression online.
Quiet arrest under Computer Crime Act
Prachatai A reliable source has told Prachatai that at least one person being detained in Bangkok Remand Prison for crimes against the new Computer Crime Act which came into effect on July 18, 2007. The detainee is a 36 year-old computer programmer who posted comments on web-boards using a well-known alias.
04 September 2007
According to the source, the person was detained for 6 days at the Police Crime Suppression Division office before being transferred to the remand prison on August 30. He has yet to see his family members and consult a lawyer.
Fah Deaw Kan publishing house released a statement calling on the government and relevant agencies, especially the Information and Communications Technology Ministry and the police, to confirm this news and to allow observers to visit Bangkok Remand Prison and other prisons. And if there was an arrest, the government and its agencies must respect the detainee's right to justice, the publisher said.
On September 1-2, the weekend edition of the Financial Times reported that Thailand had lifted its ban on the video-sharing website Youtube, and quoted a high-level official as saying that in the past couple of weeks the authorities have arrested and detained two Thais who posted comments insulting to the monarchy on web-boards.