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Satirical fashion show leads to lèse majesté charges

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PHOTO: Prachatai

A satirical fashion show led to a pair of young pro-democracy activists, one just 16 years old, to be charged with violating Thailand’s strict lèse majesté law after one of them dressed in traditional Thai dress, said to be mocking a royal consort, while the other wore a crop top. (An outfit a certain “someone” has been photographed wearing in the past.)

Section 112 of Thailand’s Criminal Code prohibits insulting or defaming the Royal Family. Breaking the law carries a punishment of 3 to 15 years in prison. More than 2 dozen activists involved in the recent pro-democracy rallies, including several protest leaders, are facing charges under the draconian law.

Back in June this year the Thai PM told the media that HM the King had expressly asked him not to use the lese majeste laws. The Thai government said at the time that they could use the Computer Crime laws instead.

The 23 year old and 16 year old pro-democracy demonstrators dressed in the costumes at the “People’s Runway” rally on Silom Road back in October. The demonstrators were summoned by police yesterday to hear the charges.

23 year old Jatuporn Sae-ung, who wore royal Thai clothing to the police station, says she didn’t mean to insult the Thai Monarchy, she was just dressing for the theme of the event. The activist even showed her tattoo to reporters that honors the late-king Rama IX.

A crowd of pro-democracy leaders gathered in front of the police station to show their support. Protest leader Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak, who is also facing lèse majesté charges, dressed up in a traditional female outfit with his face covered in heavy makeup.

Along with calling on government and monarchy reform, activists are also pushing to abolish the lèse majesté law, which they say violates human rights. 

SOURCES: Pattaya News | Coconuts Bangkok

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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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