On 27 Dec 2018, Thanyaburi Provincial Court read the verdict of the Supreme Court in the case of Anan (family name withheld), aged 70, charged with lèse majesté under Article 112 and defamation under Article 326 of the Criminal Code for comments about Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn and Princess Soamsawali. The Supreme Court found Anan guilty on 2 charges of personal defamation, and sentenced him to 1 year in prison for each offence, suspended for 3 years, and a fine of 20,000 baht for each offence.
The court has dismissed a charge against Sakan (family name not given out of privacy concerns), alleged to have violated Article 112 while detained in Bangkok Remand Prison. The court said that even though the accused confessed, his action cannot be confirmed as defamation against the King and Queen as charged. The court therefore dismissed the case under Article 185 of the Criminal Procedure Code.
In what follows below, I offer a concise picture of the dynamics and significance of Article 112 over the preceding decade. Some of the sources cannot be fully cited as it may harm those who provided information or defendants in ongoing cases. Read More..
Amidst the searing heat of March 2010 which competed with the incumbent political heat, a massive number of members of the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD) took to the street in downtown Bangkok to demand a house dissolution while the country was ruled under the Abhisit Vejjajiva-led coalition. They claimed the government had been formed in a military barrack with military backing and hence the nickname of the incumbent Prime Minister.
After being detained for almost 4 years, Anchan P. , facing 29 charges under Article 112 for releasing voice clips of Banpot allegedly containing lèse majesté material against the late King, has been granted bail of 500,000 baht. She was released from the Central Women’s Correctional Institution. The court ruled that despite objections by the prosecutor, it believes the accused will not escape or tamper with evidence.
Bangkok, Paris, 5 November 2018: FIDH and its partner organization Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) today petitioned the United Nations (UN) Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) to seek the release of lèse-majesté defendant Siraphop Kornaroot. Since August 2012, the WGAD has found the detention of seven other individuals detained under Article 112 of the Thai Criminal Code (lèse-majesté) to be “arbitrary.”
In the case of 6 teenagers accused of burning arches, the Court of Appeal dismissed charges under Article 112 and reduced the jail terms for criminal association and arson, without suspension. All 6 individuals and their relatives expressed their joy after the verdict. Two of the accused had their prison sentences reduced to 9 years, 3 received 6 years and 2 accused in only one case to 3 years.
Despite an objection from the prosecutor, a key witness of the 2010 massacre charged with royal defamation has been released on bail with 400,000 baht as surety. On 4 July 2018, Winyat Chatmontree, a lawyer from United Lawyers for Rights & Liberty, posted on Facebook that the Bangkok Military Court released Nutthida Meewangpla on bail after serving three years and five months for royal defamation and criminal association. She had to pay 400,000 baht as surety.
On 26 August 2018, Prawet Prapanukul, 57, was released from Bangkok Remand Prison after serving 16 months. The human rights lawyer was arrested on 29 April 2017 for violating Article 112 of the Penal Code, the royal defamation law. Prawet faced up to 50 years in prison for posting messages on Facebook that landed him with 10 lèse majesté charges and three sedition charges. The Court of First Instance on 27 June 2018 dismissed his royal defamation charges but sentenced him to 15 months in prison for sedition, plus one extra month for refusing to be fingerprinted.
On 20 July 2018, the Bangkok Military Court called for witness testimony of the Article 112 case, the royal defamation case, against “Waen” Nattatida Meewangpla, a crucial witness in the 6-dead massacre at Pathum temple in 2010. The testimony of two witnesses, Maj Gen Wicharn Jodtaeng and Police Major General Surasak Khunnarong, started at 8.30 am. When Waen was brought to the Bangkok Military Court, she was taken into the building immediately, and the Court ordered this case to be a closed trial.