“Absolute absurdity”

Thai woman on trial for posting photo of red bowl linked to deposed PMs

(Theerawan Charoensuk/Facebook)

A Thai woman is facing seven years of jail time for posting a photo of herself with a red bowl linked to deposed prime ministers (and siblings) Thaksin and Yingluck Shinawatra, The Guardian reports. On Tuesday, Theerawan Charoensuk, 57, was ordered to appear in military court on charges of sedition. The bowl in contention appears to be a water scoop used during the Songkran festival, during which celebrants take over the streets with giant water fights. Thai media has said that the bowl was a promotional item signed by Thaskin, who was ousted by a military coup in 2006. His sister Yingluck was deposed in 2014, and is currently facing charges of corruption in a rice-farming subsidy scheme. In a second photo posted to Facebook, Charoensuk holds a calendar featuring photos of both Shinawatra siblings.

The Thai military has recently cracked down on supporters of the Shinawatra family, charging at least 38 people with sedition since Yingluck was booted from office in May 2014. The country’s deputy prime minister, General Prawit Wongsuwan, defended the charges against Charoensuk. “Tell me if you think what she did was not provocative or led to division in the society,” he said. “We don’t want to arrest anyone. But those people should listen to our warning not to undertake political activities.”

Brad Adams, Asia director of the New York-based Human Rights Watch took a different view. “The Thai junta’s fears of a red plastic bowl show its intolerance of dissent has reached the point of absolute absurdity,” he told The Guardian. “When military courts try people for sedition for posting photos with holiday gifts from deposed leaders, it’s clear that the end of repression is nowhere in sight.”

Read the full story at The Guardian.

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