Ophthalmologist accused of lèse majesté denies charges

An ophthalmologist from northern Thailand indicted for defaming then Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn last year has vowed to fight the case to prove his innocence.

On 7 February 2017, the Military Court in the northern province of Chiang Rai held a deposition hearing for Sarawut (surname withheld due to privacy reasons), 32, an ophthalmologist accused of offences under Article 112 of the Criminal Code, the lèse majesté law.

The accusations against him concern the alleged posting of two defamatory images of then Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn. He is also accused under Article 14 of the Computer Crime Act, which prohibits the importation of illegal computer content.  

In court, Sarawut denied the accusations, saying that he will continue to fight the case prove his innocence.

Sarawut was detained for more than one month after his arrest on 11 October 2016, but was later granted bail.

The investigation into Sarawut began when soldiers from the 37th Military Circle of Chiang Rai filed a complaint against him under Article 112 on 21 July 2016. Police then confiscated Sarawut’s electronic devices under a search warrant on 26 August 2016 before sending them to the Technology Crime Suppression Division.

The court has scheduled a preliminary hearing on the case on 11 April 2017