Thai activist Arnon Nampa sentenced to four years in prison for royal defamation

Photo courtesy of Bangkok Post

Activist and lawyer Arnon Nampa has been given a four-year prison sentence by the Criminal Court.

Arnon was charged with violating the lèse-majesté law under Section 112 of the Criminal Code and the Computer Crime Act. This decision comes after 39 year old Arnon was found guilty of defaming the monarchy, a crime carrying a maximum sentence of 15 years.

Arnon, once a prominent co-leader of a youth-led democracy movement, gained notoriety for leading mass protests in Bangkok in 2020. The rallies saw hundreds of thousands demanding the ousting of then-Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, who had seized power in a coup.

The courtroom drama unfolded as prosecutors presented evidence that Arnon, on January 1, 2021, posted three messages on his Facebook account, allegedly distorting information with the sinister intent of insulting the royal institution.

The court, ruling in favour of the prosecutors, deemed the evidence rock-solid and dismissed Arnon’s testimony. Despite his claims of writing the messages in good faith to seek amendments to Section 112, the judges remained unconvinced, reported Bangkok Post.

This verdict follows Arnon’s previous sentencing to four years and a 20,000 baht fine in a separate lese-majeste case related to a 2020 rally.

In related news, the Criminal Court has sentenced Rukchanok Srinork, a Bangkok MP from the Move Forward Party 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 on 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.

In other news, his Majesty the King‘s second eldest son, Vacharaesorn Vivacharawongse, has made a monumental return to Thailand, marking his presence by securing his first-ever Thai ID card and a brand-new passport.

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Puntid Tantivangphaisal

Originally from Hong Kong, Puntid moved to Bangkok in 2020 to pursue further studies in translation. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Hong Kong. Puntid spent 8 years living in Manchester, UK. Before joining The Thaiger, Puntid has been a freelance translator for 2 years. In her free time, she enjoys swimming and listening to music, as well as writing short fiction and poetry.

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