Thailand: four protest leaders detained as their royal defamation case is filed at the courtEvent
- Initial Date
- Feb 9, 2021
- Event Description
A crowd of around 500 gathered at the Pathumwan Skywalk yesterday evening (9 February), after the Criminal Court denied bail for activists Parit Chiwarak, Anon Nampa, Somyot Pruksakasemsuk, and Patiwat Saraiyaem, who are being detained in prison pending trial and have been taken to the Bangkok Remand Prison.
A spokesperson for the state prosecutor has announced that cases has been filed against Anon Nampa, Somyot Pruksakasemsuk, Patiwat Saraiyaem and Parit Chiwarak under Section 112 of the Criminal Code for giving speeches about the monarchy in protests during 2020, according to Thai Lawyers for Human Rights.
The cases stem from 2 separate events. The first is the 19-20 September protest at Thammasat University and Sanam Luang for which all four have been charged under the lèse majesté law, the sedition law (Section 116 of the Criminal Code), and the Act on Ancient Monuments, Antiques, Objects of Art and National Museums.
The second is the ‘mobfest’ protest at the Democracy Monument on 14 November for which only Parit has been charged. Sulak Sivaraksa, a Thai historian and Somchai Homlaor, a human rights lawyer are reportedly listed as witnesses.
iLaw reports that bail has been denied by the court, which ruled that the cases carry heavy sentences and the four have a tendency to repeat the offences. They will be detained in prison pending trial.
The detention during trial means they will be imprisoned indefinitely until the trial is over unless the bail would be granted at some point along the way.
The sedition and lèse majesté charges relate to their speeches, and the Act on Ancient Monuments has been invoked with regard to their installation of the 2021 People’s Party Plaque, a small metal plaque inspired by the People’s Party Plaque, a material symbol of the 1932 revolution which marked the change of regime in Siam from absolute monarchy to democracy.
The 2021 People’s Party Plaque was installed on Sanam Luang, which is recognized as an archaeological site.
These are the first lèse majesté cases to have finally made their way to the courts since the mass arrests and prosecutions after Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha vowed in November 2020 to use ‘every law’ to deal with the pro-democracy protesters who have been rallying for political and monarchy reform.
All other cases are still under police investigation.
According to THLR, at least 58 people have been charged under Section 112 in 44 cases. 23 cases were filed by ordinary citizens, 3 by the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society and the rest by the police.
Human rights lawyer Anon, activist Somyot, student Parit and mor lam singer Patiwat are well-known political activists who have been rallying for monarchy reform and Thai democratization.
- Impact of Event
- Gender of HRD
- (Arbitrary) Arrest and Detention
- Denial Fair Trial
- Judicial Harassment
- Rights Concerned
- Freedom of assembly
- Right to fair trial
- Pro-democracy activist
- Monitoring Status
- Event Location
- Summary for Publications
On 9 February 2021, four protest leaders facing several charges for their role in the pro-democracy protest in 2020, were detained after the prosecutor filed the royal defamation charges pressed against them to a court in Bangkok, Thailand.