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Website moderator Chiranuch Premchaiporn arrested for alleged violation of Computer Crimes Act

(SEAPA/IFEX) - Officers from the Royal Thai Police arrested Prachatai website moderator Chiranuch Premchaiporn after raiding the independent website's office on 6 March 2009. Chiranuch was charged with violation of the Computer Crimes Act. Prachatai is among the most independent and popular websites in the kingdom. Sources who requested anonymity claimed that for the past few months, Prachatai has received "requests" from the military to remove from its website articles and commentaries on the monarchy and the military.

As of press time, Chiranuch has refused to answer questions and is waiting for her lawyer. The Computer Crimes Act, passed in 2007 under the military government of Gen. Sonthi Boonyaratkalin, has been described by critics as having vague provisions, including one that covers acts that are "likely to damage the country's security or cause a public panic." The law's broad provisions were used to justify the blocking and closure of many websites in 2008.

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