Lawyer calls for justice for man mocking King’s dog

The defence lawyer for a factory worker accused of lèse majesté for mocking the King’s dog requested the military prosecutors not to indict the suspect, saying that the lèse majesté law does not cover the King’s dog and the charge was politically motivated.  

Anon Nampa, a well know human rights lawyer, on Monday, 29 February 2016, submitted a letter to the military Judge Advocate General’s Office, calling for justice for Thanakorn S., a 27-year-old factory worker.

Thanakorn is accused under Article 112 of the Criminal Code, the lèse majesté law, for clicking ‘like’ and posting or sharing a message mocking Thong Daeng, a well-known female copper-coloured dog, the King’s favourite pet while it was alive, and also pressing ‘like’ on a doctored image of the King and sharing it with hundreds of others online.

In addition, the suspect is charged under Article 116, the sedition law, for posting an infographic on the Rajabhakti Park corruption scandal on Facebook.

In the letter, the lawyer said his client should not have been charged under Article 112 since the language of the law reads “whoever defames, insults or threatens the King, Queen, Heir-apparent or Regent shall be punished with imprisonment of three to fifteen years.”

“In this case, the plaintiff intentionally used Article 112 as a political tool to deal with political dissidents,” wrote Anon in the letter.

He added “the fact that the plaintiff deliberately accused the suspect with disproportionate offences and the interrogators went along with it is unlawful.”

Anon explained in the letter that the military government has been claiming that, under the current political circumstances, national security is of primary importance, but in many cases the military have abused the judicial system for political goals to the point that the credibility of the judicial system in Thailand has been criticised.

The defence lawyer also argued in the letter that Thanakorn should not face charges under the sedition law either.

Similar to the case of Rinda Parichabutr who was accused of sharing a false rumour through social networks that Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha, the junta leader and Prime Minister, and his wife sent about 10 billion baht to a secret bank account in Singapore, his alleged crime falls under Article 328 of the Criminal Code on criminal defamation against individuals, but not Article 116, said the lawyer.  

Thanakorn was arrested at his house in Samut Prakan Province on 8 December 2015 by military and police officers who invoked Section 44 of the Interim Constitution which gives the Head of the National Council for Peace and Order absolute authority to maintain national security.

He has remained under custody since and the military court has repeatedly denied his bail requests.