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Webmaster of independent news site arrested on charges of violating computer law

(SEAPA/IFEX) - 24 September 2010 - Chiranuch Premchaiporn, executive director of independent news website Prachatai, was arrested on 24 September 2010 at the Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Bangkok, Thailand for violation of sections 14 and 15 of the Computer Crime Act.

According to a statement from Prachatai, the charges were filed before a Khon Kaen provincial court on 27 April 2009. The warrant was issued on 8 September 2009.

Chiranuch had just arrived from Budapest, Hungary where she had attended "Internet Liberty 2010", a conference on free expression online.

Reports said that after being briefly detained at the airport, Chiranuch was brought by the police to Muang District in Khon Kaen province to face the charges. She is set to post a THB200,000 (approx. US$6,500) bail in the coming days.

This is not the first time the Prachatai executive director is facing charges of violating the controversial Computer Crime Act. Last year, she was charged with 10 counts of violating sections 14 and 15 of the law. The charges, each carrying a penalty of five years' imprisonment, stemmed from accusations that she failed to take down immediately from the Prachatai web board, comments deemed by Thai authorities as insulting to the monarchy. The trial will start in February 2011.
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