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Woman sentenced to 43 years in prison for violating lèse majesté law

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Woman sentenced to 43 years in prison for violating lèse majesté law | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Siamrath

The Bangkok Criminal Court sentenced a former public official to more than 4 decades in prison for violating the country’s strict lèse majesté law on insulting or defaming the Thai Monarchy.

The woman, a former Revenue Department official known as Anchan, was found guilty on 29 counts of violating Section 112 of the Criminal Code, known as the lèse majesté law, as well as the Computer Crime Act. She was sentenced to 43 years and 6 months in prison.

Anchan had posted audio clips on Facebook and YouTube of a man making comments considered critical of the Thai Monarchy. The man has been arrested, but officials haven’t released any other details.

The ruling comes during an ongoing pro-democracy movement raising subjects that are considered taboo in Thai society. In recent months, dozens of protesters have been charged with violating the lèse majesté law. A senior researcher from the Human Rights Watch as the recent sentence sends a “spine-chilling” message.

“Today’s court verdict is shocking and sends a spine-chilling signal that not only criticisms of the monarchy won’t be tolerated, but they will also be severely punished.”

Section 112 of the Criminal Code:

Those who defame, insult or threaten the King, the Queen, the Heir-apparent or the Regent shall be punished by a jail term of between three to 15 years.

SOURCES: Thai Enquirer | Bangkok Biz News| Independent

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37 Comments

37 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Barry Betts

    Tuesday, January 19, 2021 at 5:21 pm

    WOW WOW WOW!!!!! This is an absolute joke surely?? But I know not. Freedom of speech cannot be tolerated in these DINOSAUR times. While the king goes off to Germany and many more places with his merry band of lady troops the country should keep quiet and say nothing (YEAH OK). Amongst many many more things absolute ridiculous. The draconian laws in Thailand treat their own people with utter disgust. We could talk all day about the king and the government but it would be a waste of breath THEY DISGUST in every way!! While they sit in their palaces and government buildings waving their finger the Thai people cannot speak their mind ABSOLUTE EMBARRASSMENT

    • Avatar

      Slugger

      Tuesday, January 19, 2021 at 6:04 pm

      You’re next. Show some respect.

      • Avatar

        Erik

        Wednesday, January 20, 2021 at 4:24 am

        Respect! For a barbaric law! Something like Germans who had to respect Hitlers racial laws. Ridiculous. This should prompt the German / European government to impose firm sanctions against this Thai regime!

    • Avatar

      Peter Harris

      Tuesday, January 19, 2021 at 6:43 pm

      I agree… just wish the article fleshed out more details as to why the woman received 43 years Behind Bars.

      • Avatar

        Issan John

        Wednesday, January 20, 2021 at 1:58 am

        The article did “detail why”.

        29 separate offences each with a 3 year minimum sentence per offence = 87 years; halved for pleading guilty = 43.5 years.

        The courts have no discretion to award less than the minimum sentence, and according to the law 3 years per offence is the minimum.

        • Avatar

          Manu

          Wednesday, January 20, 2021 at 12:19 pm

          (Correct me if I am wrong Peter Harris but I doubt…) By “details”, surely he means what is exactly the content of these audio clips that deserve to be found guilty 29 times just by posting them? What exactly are that “man (making) comments considered critical of the Thai Monarchy” as indicated in the article? TheThaiger might not be able to publsih this for obvious reasons however Peter harris questionning is pertinent (I asked myself the same question hence my annoyment after reading your pointless comment). But with your usual arrogance as “The Authority” of thethaiger’s commentators, you insult people’s intelligence as if Peter Harris could not read a simple article properly. And by giving your usual lecture like a Pr to his young “naive” student with most of it being irrelevant to Peter Harris’s comment as well…

          And if I had a 10th of the time you spend commentating, I would also reply to your stupidly wrong comment below about “breaking the law”. But it would be pure waste of time, this comment is good enough to express my annoyment.

          • Avatar

            Issan John

            Wednesday, January 20, 2021 at 8:56 pm

            Sorry, what was your point?

          • Avatar

            Manu

            Wednesday, January 20, 2021 at 9:36 pm

            That s your answer really? What is your point? You are going obviously insane, I wish instead you get commun sense. I wish you coukd see it… think!!! You are insane!!!

    • Avatar

      Comicus C.

      Tuesday, January 19, 2021 at 10:37 pm

      Would you continue to say the same thing if you had a chance to join the Royal family?

      Possibly not. Most of people who acted the same way you did, just simply changed right after they became part of such group that they nastily criticised.

      Tall poppy syndrome, it is.

  2. Avatar

    Culture Observer

    Tuesday, January 19, 2021 at 5:29 pm

    The Thai government is fascist. Prayut Chan-o-cha is Adolf Hitler.

  3. Avatar

    Andrew

    Tuesday, January 19, 2021 at 5:47 pm

    North Korea+++

    • Avatar

      2float2

      Wednesday, January 20, 2021 at 1:58 am

      revolution is coming for thais.
      The stupidity of the thai monarchy and the disgrace of the traitors after wise legacy is earth shattering…

  4. Avatar

    London Al

    Tuesday, January 19, 2021 at 6:15 pm

    This is shocking and disgusting, what you’d normally expect from a tinpot dictatorship

    • Avatar

      Comicus C.

      Tuesday, January 19, 2021 at 10:55 pm

      Dictatorship!!!

      Prayut was elected by MPs who were elected by Thais in an election.

      It was said that a lot of Britons did not bother to vote in the Brexit referendum due to the fact that they do not believe in their voting system. And then they got quite upset with the result. So it was not a surprise at all to see such degraded comment posted here.

      • Avatar

        Issan John

        Wednesday, January 20, 2021 at 9:01 pm

        Actually he wasn’t “elected by MPs who were elected by Thais in an election”.

        Maybe you need to look rather more closely at who he was elected by – even here most are well aware that wasn’t the case and, had it been, he would have lost and not been in government.

  5. Avatar

    Rasputin

    Tuesday, January 19, 2021 at 6:23 pm

    It’s certainly not a great message to send to the world, I wonder how many western ‘quality tourists’ it could well put off when the boarders reopen? I’ll refrain from passing any other comment on the subject for obvious reasons.

  6. Avatar

    Pedro

    Tuesday, January 19, 2021 at 6:57 pm

    On the one hand, it must be accepted that the law is the law, and like it or not, until it is changed, perhaps through a change of Government, anyone not adhering to the law must accept the consequences. However, on the other hand, this shocking and disgusting sentence, literally a death sentence as this woman will die in prison if serving the full term, stinks of political interference in the administration of (so called Thai) justice. Even though The King has asked the Military Dictatorship not to use Lese Majeste, they appear to be using it to control opposition to their Government. Surely the misuse of this law could also be considered as an insult to the Monarchy as well, so the Government may be just as guilty. Education is better than punishment, but Thailand prefers to punish rather than to educate. The Judge should hang his/her head in shame for being a political puppet and handing down this sentence. Justice is not only about punishment, it is about understanding, reflection and having the courage to do the right thing. Sorry Thailand, but this sentence is wrong.

    • Avatar

      Michael

      Tuesday, January 19, 2021 at 7:27 pm

      How can you change the law, if you are not allowed to talk about it?

      In my country we have a King and Queen. Some people are fine with that. But we also have political parties that argue for the abolition of the royal family. Those people would rather have an elected president.

      It is allowed to talk about everything.

      • Avatar

        Issan John

        Wednesday, January 20, 2021 at 2:35 am

        Actually, Michael, as a point of fact you are “allowed to talk about it [the law]”.

        What you’re not allowed to do under S 112 is “defame, insult or threaten the King, the Queen, the Heir-apparent or the Regent”.

        That’s the law.

        I’m not defending the law in any way, but in my view if you don’t agree with a law, any law, you campaign to change it and when there’s an election you elect MPs who’ll change it – you don’t go about changing a law, any law, by breaking it.

    • Avatar

      Comicus C.

      Tuesday, January 19, 2021 at 11:05 pm

      It is not an uncommon situation to see ones who wanted frame and fortune to invest their effort into risky businesses. So this particular woman did what she did to gain certain benefits, however, an outcome was not anything that she expected. Her investment was a failure, no profit whatsoever.

      If she was smart, she could write a memoir during her stay in prison.With a little bit of luck, she may hit a jackpot and be able to leave her inheritance to her family.

  7. Avatar

    Jesus Monroe

    Tuesday, January 19, 2021 at 7:20 pm

    With sentences like these Thailand has got a long way to go before it’s people can experience true freedom. Some people are so cruel and show total disrespect for a human life……..very sad and I feel for the women knowing how tough their jails can be.

  8. Avatar

    Grumpy John

    Tuesday, January 19, 2021 at 7:39 pm

    Living in Thailand doesn’t allow me to make some comments I may wish to but in regard to this sentence but wouldn’t a slap on the wrist and a fine be better than a life sentence? Are they setting an example of her for others of similar mind…or inadvertently creating a martyr???

  9. Avatar

    Ynwaps

    Tuesday, January 19, 2021 at 7:55 pm

    Ah yes, this will calm the public. Harsh prison sentences are the best method for an authoritarian government to control society.

  10. Avatar

    Mr cynic

    Tuesday, January 19, 2021 at 8:07 pm

    this looks very similar to how the powers to be delt with fuedal serfs in medival times,truly shocking!

  11. Avatar

    Nipral

    Tuesday, January 19, 2021 at 8:33 pm

    …so we understand there is a monarch in Thailand ! Interesting !!!

  12. Avatar

    James Pate

    Tuesday, January 19, 2021 at 9:15 pm

    No way she will do 43 years. She will beg forgiveness and it will be done. How long? None of us knows.

  13. Avatar

    Nipral

    Tuesday, January 19, 2021 at 9:34 pm

    One sad way to remind us that there is a monarch in Thailand.

  14. Avatar

    Mr cynic

    Tuesday, January 19, 2021 at 10:51 pm

    She had been remanded in custody for several years before sentencing and the 43 years is half of the original sentence due to her pleading guilty.
    She has also lost her civil service pension after providing 40 years government service.

  15. Avatar

    Ian

    Wednesday, January 20, 2021 at 12:16 am

    This is now a way for the king to show the Thai people and the government that this is wrong and free this lady and abolish this law he might gain respect and become a king to be praised even at this late stage but sadly I don’t think this will happen a missed opportunity, I wish i could be his adviser

    • Avatar

      James Pate

      Wednesday, January 20, 2021 at 7:08 am

      This could be part of the larger plan. Wait and see.

      • Avatar

        Issan John

        Wednesday, January 20, 2021 at 9:05 pm

        One of the very few considered comments here.

    • Avatar

      maxcorrigan

      Wednesday, January 20, 2021 at 8:56 am

      The king has already said in the past he does not want this law used, as did his father before him it’s just the government using it to quell any disorders aimed at them, ie. it suits their purpose disgusting!

  16. Avatar

    Jerrod

    Wednesday, January 20, 2021 at 1:07 am

    LMFAO….this fool doesn’t deserve any sympathy.

    • Avatar

      Jesus Monroe

      Wednesday, January 20, 2021 at 4:59 am

      Gee Jerrod hope you find your heart again. Looks like someone hurt you real bad in life to make that comment…….

  17. Avatar

    Erik O.

    Wednesday, January 20, 2021 at 4:36 am

    Maybe for you:) We don’t like crazy laws, facists, and disgusting court decisions. We love civilization and freedom of expression.

  18. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Wednesday, January 20, 2021 at 10:27 am

    This Thai king state he disagrees with this les majeste law, well let him prove it, by pardoning this woman.
    If not the people will make their own judgement of the king.

  19. Avatar

    Murray

    Wednesday, January 20, 2021 at 12:57 pm

    Wow thai people are truly enslaved sheep. I feel sorry for them as most are beautiful and amazing people.

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Thailand

Thailand classified as a “not free” country in Freedom House report

Caitlin Ashworth

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Thailand classified as a “not free” country in Freedom House report | The Thaiger
October protest at the Asok-Sukhumvit intersection in Bangkok / Photo by Caitlin Ashworth

On a scale of 0 to 100, with 100 being absolute freedom, Thailand scores at 30, a “not free” country, according to the nonprofit Freedom House. Each year, the organisation reviews the political rights and civil liberties of countries around the world. According to their recent assessment, Thailand has declined in terms of rights and liberties, dropping on the scale from “partly free” to “not free.”

The main reason for the drop on the freedom scale, the organisation says, is “due to the dissolution of a popular opposition party that performed well in the 2019 elections, and the military-dominated government’s crackdown on youth-led protests calling for democratic reforms.”

The Future Forward Party was dissolved in February 2020 after the court found that the founder, Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, had made a large donation to the party that exceeded the legal limit. The party’s leaders were then banned from politics for the next decade.

Youth-led protests started in February, but the demonstrations were put on pause due to Covid-19 restrictions banning large public gatherings. Protesters gathered in July as restrictions lifted, but some leaders then faced charges for holding a public gathering, which was still banned under emergency orders.

In October, the prime minister imposed what Freedom House calls a “severe” State of Emergency order in Bangkok that banned gatherings of more than 5 people. Some protesters were arrested for violating the order nearly immediately after it was imposed.

With activists pushing for monarchy reform and an end to the military’s involvement in government, raising subjects considered taboo and unprecedented in Thai society, the Thai government has increased its use of the draconian lèse majesté law. Since November, dozens of activists have faced charges for insulting or defaming the Thai Monarchy.

Freedom House scores countries on topics like the electoral process, questioning if politicians and leaders were elected in free and fair elections, as well as freedom of expression and individual rights.

Thailand’s military seized power in 2014 in a bloodless coup. The 2017 constitution was drafted by a committee appointed by the military’s National Council for Peace and Order. In 2019, the country transitioned to what Freedom House calls a “military-dominated, semi-elected” government.

The 2019 elections were overseen by the Election Commission of Thailand, whose members were appointed by the military. All 250 senators were appointed by the military in 2019 to serve 5 year terms.

In 2020, the combination of democratic deterioration and frustrations over the role of the monarchy provoked the country’s largest anti-government demonstrations in a decade. In response to these youth-led protests, the regime resorted to familiar authoritarian tactics, including arbitrary arrests, intimidation, lèse majesté charges, and harassment of activists. Freedom of the press is constrained, due process is not guaranteed, and there is impunity for crimes committed against activists.

SOURCE: Freedom House

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Riot police officer in Bangkok tests positive for Covid-19

Caitlin Ashworth

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Riot police officer in Bangkok tests positive for Covid-19 | The Thaiger
Protest in Bangkok on February 28 / Photo by Thai News Pix

A riot police officer, who was deployed at the recent pro-democracy protests in Bangkok, has tested positive for Covid-19. His supervisor, chief of Wang Thonglang station Ekapop Tanprayoon, says the officer had visited Samut Sakhon, a coronavirus hotspot.

Riot police who worked closely with the infected officer, Somyot Nuamcharoen, are ordered to quarantine. The Wang Thonglang police station and any items the police officer handled are being disinfected, the chief says.

The officer had met up with friends during a visit to Samut Sakhon, just southwest of Bangkok. He travelled to the coastal province on February 18 and returned to Bangkok the next day.

On the 20th, he was deployed to a protest outside of parliament, just after returning from his trip to the “red zone” province. On Sunday, he deployed the protest outside the military barracks in Bangkok. The demonstration turned violent and numerous people were injured.

On Tuesday, his friend from Samut Sakhon tested positive for the virus. The infected officer was tested for Covid-19 that day and his result came back positive yesterday.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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“Sealed route” set at Bangkok airport for international transfers

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Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok / Photo by Caitlin Ashworth

Thailand is now allowing international transits and transfers at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport by using a so-called “sealed route” arranged at the airport to prevent the spread of Covid-19. The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand has now set guidelines for passengers who have a layover at the Bangkok airport.

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Passengers must present required documents…

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SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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