Thailand: pro-democracy defender accused of defamation by royalist groupEvent
- Initial Date
- Aug 30, 2021
- Event Description
Thanat Thanakitamnuay, an anti-Thaksin campaigner turned pro-democracy activist has been accused for Section 112 of the Criminal Code for wearing an outfit similar to one worn by the late King Rama IX. Police also brought charges against an individual in Nonthaburi for allegedly removing a royal portrait and treating it in a disrespectful manner.
On 30 August, Nangnoi Atsawakittikorn from the Thailand Help Center for Cyberbullying Victims and Jakkapong Klinkaew from the People's Centre for the Protection of Monarchy filed a royal defamation complaint against Thanat at the Samranrat Police Station on behalf of the “People’s Network for the Protection of the Royal Institution”.
The group contends that Thanat was intentionally mocking the late King Rama IX by wearing a suit, an eyepatch and a camera to a protest on 22 August. They also assert that a speech Thanat gave on 25 August calling for Section 112 to be abolished reflects his intent to overthrow the monarchy.
According to Nangnoi, Thanat’s costume and camera were props employed to ridicule a well-known photograph of King Rama IX. The late King often wore a camera around his neck when travelling upcountry.
This is not the first time that royalists have taken umbrage with the costumes of pro-democracy activists. Conservative netizens put up a storm of critical commentary after the 28 January 2021 posting of a picture in which Chaiamorn ‘Ammy’ Kaewwiboonpan, a lead singer in the Bottom Blues Band, dressed in an outfit similar to one worn by King Rama IX. Thanat’s ‘imitation’ may well have been unintentional. He claims he was wearing an eye patch because his right eye was injured during the police suppression of a 13 August protest. However, some royalists contend that he was making fun of King Rama IX, who lost the vision in his right eye as the result of a traffic accident in his youth.
- Impact of Event
- Gender of HRD
- Judicial Harassment
- Rights Concerned
- Freedom of assembly
- Right to Protest
- Pro-democracy defender
- Monitoring Status
- Event Location
- Event Location
- Summary for Publications
On 30 August 2021, Thanat Thanakitamnuay, pro-democracy defender, was accused of defamation in connection to his participation to a pro-democracy protest the week before by members of royalist group in Bangkok, Thailand.