Thai news site confirms first arrest under Thailand's new Computer Crimes Act
4 September 2007
Source: Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA)
BANGKOK - A local online news service is reporting that at least one person has been arrested in Bangkok under Thailand's new Computer Crimes Act, which came into effect on 18 July 2007. Prachatai.com confirms a Financial Times of London report on 01 September which quoted its own unnamed sources in reporting that the first arrest under the new law had taken place in the past couple of weeks.
Thai media, human rights advocates and free expression organizations had expressed concerns over the Computer Crimes Act even as it was being considered earlier this year, saying its penal nature and its provisions for coming down even on webmasters would have a chilling effect on online expression in Thailand.
Web advocates, bloggers, and the media in Thailand had been scrambling over the weekend to confirm the FT report. On 04 September Prachatai.com said its sources had confirmed that the arrested person -- still unnamed in the report -- "is a 36-year-old computer programmer who posted comments on web-boards using a well-known alias." The online news provider and Internet forum added that the detainee "was detained for six 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."
Prachatai.com's report ( http://www.prachatai.com/english/news.php?id=180) said: "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."