ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Arrest of Thai webmaster criticised
Chiranuch Premchaiporn, who manages the Prachatai news website, was stopped Friday by immigration police at Bangkok's international airport and shown an arrest warrant issued by police in the northeastern province of Khon Kaen. She had just attended a conference in Hungary dealing with online free expression.
She was released on bail shortly after midnight after being driven by police to Khon Kaen, 275 miles (445 kilometers) away, where the complaint against her was filed.
She was arrested last year on similar charges, and both cases stemmed from messages posted by readers more than a year ago on her site's web board, for which she has been held responsible. She has not yet been tried, but faces up to 50 years in prison on the old charges.
"We call for Chiranuch's immediate release and the withdrawal of the charges against her so that we do not have to witness another attempt to exploit the Computer Crimes Act to silence the regime's critics," the Paris-based press freedom group Reporters Without Borders said in an e-mailed statement. "Prachatai is a reliable source of news and information that has managed in recent months to keep the public informed about what is going on in Thailand."
The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists and human rights group Amnesty International both called for Chiranuch's immediate and unconditional release.
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