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Pro-democracy protest leaders hear lèse majesté charges

Caitlin Ashworth

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PHOTO: INN News

Pro-democracy protest leaders reported to police today to hear lèse majesté charges which carry a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison for insulting or defaming the Thai Monarchy.

The ongoing protests have opened discussion questioning the Thai Monarchy, a move considered taboo in Thai society and also risky as “insulting” or “defaming” statements could violate the lèse majesté law under Section 112 of Thailand’s Criminal Code.

Whoever, defames, insults or threatens the King, the Queen, the Heir-apparent or the Regent, shall be punished with imprisonment of three to fifteen years.

The 5 leaders are facing charges over the September 19 to 20 rally where the protesters placed a plaque in an area near the Grand Palace, declaring Thailand “belongs to the people.” The plaque has since been removed.

A lèse majesté complaint was filed by a leader of the pro-government “multi-coloured shirts movement” Tul Sittisomwong who said the protesters had “once again crossed the line,” according to an earlier report from the Bangkok Post.

“I don’t mind if they talked about politics, the prime minister or the constitution because they have the right to do so, but not about the monarchy.”

The protest leaders responding to police summonses include Arnon Nampha, Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak, Panusya “Rung” Sithijirawattanakul, Panupong “Mike” Chadnok and Patiwat Saraiyaem, who is known as “Molam Bank.”

Arnon, who is a human rights lawyer, says he’s not worried about the charge and believes it will be cleared. The activists were accompanied by 2 counsel from Thai Lawyers for Human Rights.

“It is now time for us to speak straightforwardly about the royal institution. Even if what we say goes unheard and laws are used to shut our mouths, we will continue to fight.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Complicated Explainer

    Monday, November 30, 2020 at 7:30 pm

    I see lot of donations-paid lobsters in their bellies.

  2. Avatar

    LASThai

    Monday, November 30, 2020 at 8:44 pm

    Is applying this law not against 2 Kings’ wishes? Seems worse to me than wanting to discuss reasonable changes…or not?

  3. Avatar

    Ynwaps

    Monday, November 30, 2020 at 11:12 pm

    The only insulting thing is their bodyweight.

  4. Avatar

    Prof. JPD

    Tuesday, December 1, 2020 at 1:51 am

    The bodyweight is the result of the taxes (“My taxes”) they pay at Burger King, McDonalds
    and 7/11.

  5. Avatar

    Ryan

    Tuesday, December 1, 2020 at 5:06 am

    Bless the royal Family the king and Queen and the rest off the great family ?? And I hope there is a good outcome and both parties come together and Thailand can move on in peace and prosperity together????

  6. Avatar

    Mike

    Tuesday, December 1, 2020 at 9:25 am

    The legal system in Thailand is hilarious – consider this statement “I don’t mind if they talked about politics, the prime minister or the constitution because they have the right to do so, but not about the monarchy.”

    So, if you’re the leader of a pro-government “movement” that is to say, a civilian and a private citizen and you do mind what someone says, you can make a complaint to the police and then the people you have complained about will be arrested and charged with a criminal offence.

    The Police are as much to blame as the lawmakers and the military. They need to realise that they are supposed to uphold the law, not interpret it and not act on the whims of the easily offended hoi-polloi.

    It’s time the Police grew up and acted like a Police force and stopped being so afraid of the Army. It will never happen.

    I feel so sorry for the Thai people – they deserve better. These young people are heroes of democracy and of freedom of speech – they will go down in history..

  7. Avatar

    Marc

    Tuesday, December 1, 2020 at 12:34 pm

    Put them to jail!!!! Ugly, fat people seeking to be noticed by destroying the peace in the country. Lock them fo 15 years and let people live normal lives!

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Caitlin Ashworth is a writer from the United States who has lived in Thailand since 2018. She graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies in 2016. She was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette In Massachusetts. She also interned at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia and Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida.

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