A provincial court has handed down jail terms of two and a half years to 2 suspects accused of royal defamation for attempting to burn a royal arch. On 15 November 2017, the Provincial Court of Phon District in Khon Kaen Province sentenced Nuphin, 64, and Chatchai, 25, (surnames withheld due to privacy concerns) each to five years imprisonment, according to Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR).
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.
The UN has concluded that the detention of two lèse majesté convicts who were each sentenced to more than two decades in jail is arbitrary. Thai Lawyers for Human Rights on 19 October 2017 reported that the UN Human Rights Council’s Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has concluded that Sasiwimon S. and Tiensutham S., aka. Yai Daengduad, are detained arbitrarily.
A rock singer’s charity campaign has sparked debate over the ethics of donations, while a senior academic is facing a lèse majesté lawsuit for criticising King Naresuan, who ruled the kingdom of Ayutthaya 400 years ago. Thailand’s lèse majesté law is notorious for its excessive punishments and broad interpretations.
"During the past three years, my despair about my country has never reached the depth it did when I learned of the judgment in the case of Pai Dao Din," said Nidhi Eoseewong. Nidhi Eoseewong (file photo)
An online campaign has been started to call on the Thai authorities to drop a royal defamation charge against a well-known intellectual accused of defaming an ancient Siamese King.
The Thai government should end all lèse-majesté prosecutions and amend Article 112 of the Criminal Code (lèse-majesté) to bring it in line with international law, a United Nations (UN) expert said on 6 October 2017.
The former fugitive Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has threatened to take legal actions against those accusing him of royal defamation. The former PM wrote on his twitter account on 9 October 2017 that he felt ‘extremely uncomfortable’ about the recent statement of Khemchai Chutiwongse, the Attorney General, that he will be indicted under Article 112 of the Criminal Code, the lèse majesté law.
The police have decided to press royal defamation charges against Sulak Sivaraksa, a renowned royalist and lèse majesté critic, over a public speech about King Naresuan, who ruled the Ayutthaya Kingdom 400 years ago. On 9 October 2017, Puangthip Boonsanong, a lawyer representing Sulak, said the police took Sulak, 84, to the Military Court of Bangkok and submitted to the military prosecutor the case file in which he is accused of violating Article 112 of the Criminal Code, the lèse majesté law. The military prosecutor will decide on 7 December 2017 whether to indict.
A deputy junta head alleged that there are people who planed to create chaos around the upcoming Royal Funeral. On 2 October 2017, Gen Prawit Wongsuwan, a deputy junta head and Defence Minister, said at the meeting about security issues during the upcoming Royal Funeral for the late King Bhumibol on 26 October.