Man from central Thailand accused of lese majeste over Facebook posts

A man from central Thailand has been accused of violating Thailand’s lese majeste law, a human rights organisation reported this week. The law prohibits criticism of Thailand’s royal family. The man, 34 year old factory worker Udom was initially accused of violating the law based on Facebook posts that he wrote between October 2021 and January 2021, according to Thai Lawyers for Human Rights.

TLHR said the man who filed the complaint against Udom has also filed royal defamation complaints against several other people to police in Sungai Kolok, located in Narathiwat province in South Thailand. Like Udom, none of the accused people live in South Thailand, so they have had to travel long distances to attend court hearings. Udom, who lives in Prachinburi province, has had to travel to Narathiwat five times for the case.

Udom says he wrote the posts, but they were not intended to defame the current king, since none of the posts include a name. He said they could be interpreted as being about different people.

Udom was originally sentenced to six years in prison, but when he confessed to owning the Facebook profile and writing the offending post, the court reduced his sentence to four years. He was later granted bail in to appeal his case on a security of 15,000 baht, in addition to the original 30,000 baht filed when he was indicted. He must also report to the village chief in his district once every month until the Appeal Court rules on his case.

SOURCE: Thai Lawyers for Human Rights | Prachatai English

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Tara Abhasakun

A Thai-American dual citizen, Tara has reported news and spoken on a number of human rights and cultural news issues in Thailand. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in history from The College of Wooster. She interned at Southeast Asia Globe, and has written for a number of outlets. Tara reports on a range of Thailand news issues.