Court: activists’ speeches illegally advocated government overthrow

PHOTO: The Constitutional Court ruled activists' speeches violated the law. (via Thai Lawyers for Human Rights)

Today the Constitutional Court ruled that activists and the speeches of 3 activist leaders are advocating for the overthrow of the government and the monarchy. They ordered Arnon Nampa, Panupong “Mike” Jadnok, and Panusaya “Rung” Sithijirawattanakul and all their followers to cease all action against the kingdom and state.

According to the court, the demands in speeches by the 3 leaders at an event on August 10 of 2020, and in subsequent speeches, were calling to oust the King as head of state and the democratic government. The speeches advocated for the abolishment of the lèse majesté law, Section 112 of the Thai constitution.

The court ruled that the speeches violated Section 49 of the constitution and ordered that the protest movement be ended. They demanded that not only the speakers, but the protesters and the organisations behind the protests, cease all further actions.

Fortunately for the 3 accused, the ruling was not announced with any punishment and carried no penalty. The case was heard after a former adviser to the Ombudsman petitioned to determine if 8 speakers at protests were violating Section 49, which loosely translates to, “No person shall exercise the rights or liberties to overthrow the democratic regime of government with the King as Head of State.”

The court later decided to drop charges against 5 others – Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak, Juthathip Sirikhan, Siripachara Jungteerapanich, Somyot Prueksakasemsuk and Artitaya Pornprom – and only rule on the speeches of the 3 activists. While this ruling carries no punishment, it can be used in other pending and future cases against activists and supporters.

In a statement during their closing arguments, the 3 activists said that they did not aim to overthrow the monarchy, but rather they wanted to strengthen a constitutional monarchy. Protesters showed support near the court, though they were not allowed to demonstrate directly outside, so they gathered just outside the restricted area.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.