Bangkok MP Rukchanok Srinork sentenced to six years for tweets

Photo courtesy of Thai PBS World

The Criminal Court has sentenced Rukchanok Srinork, a Bangkok MP from the Move Forward Party (MFP), to six years in prison without suspension.

The charges stem from her tweets and retweets of others’ messages in 2020, in violation of Section 112 of the Criminal Code and the Computer Crime Act and lèse majesté. The verdict was delivered at 9am today, December 13, in case number Black No. 683/2565. The verdict centres around Rukchanok’s retweeting escapade, involving two incendiary messages intertwining the monarchy and Covid-19 vaccines.

Rukchanok, accompanied by Chaitawat Tulathon, an MP from the party list and the leader of the MFP, was present in court to hear the final verdict. Currently, she is exercising her parliamentary right to bail.

The Thai Criminal Court dismissed the MP’s plea for a verdict postponement, citing an unfortunate clash with the parliamentary session, reported KhaoSod.

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In Thailand, lèse-majesté stands as a criminal offence, as stipulated by Section 112 of the Thai Criminal Code. This law expressly prohibits the defamation, insult, or threat directed towards any member of the Thai monarchy, including the king, queen, heir-apparent, heir-presumptive, or regent.

Notably, Thailand holds the distinction of being the sole constitutional monarchy that has fortified its lèse-majesté legislation since the conclusion of World War II. The severity of the penalties prescribed under this law is marked, ranging from three to 15 years of imprisonment for each infringement.

In the past decade, the media has prominently featured various high-profile cases, particularly those involving celebrities or models filing criminal charges under the Computer Crimes Act. The Act’s application in criminal defamation cases has also generated considerable commentary.

However, the significance of the Computer Crimes Act extends beyond the realm of celebrities; it holds relevance for all businesses incorporating computers in their operations. According to the amended Act, businesses may incur criminal penalties if they dispatch computer data or emails causing inconvenience or annoyance to recipients without offering a readily available option to cancel, unsubscribe, or notify the sender to cease further communications. The maximum fine is 200,000 baht.

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Nattapong Westwood

Nattapong Westwood is a Bangkok-born writer who is half Thai and half Aussie. He studied in an international school in Bangkok and then pursued journalism studies in Melbourne. Nattapong began his career as a freelance writer before joining Thaiger. His passion for news writing fuels his dedication to the craft, as he consistently strives to deliver engaging content to his audience.

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