Red shirt leader gets 2 years for lèse majesté

The Supreme Court has sentenced a comedian turned red-shirt activist and politician to two years’ imprisonment for lèse majesté.

On 7 March 2017, at the Criminal Court on Ratchadapisek Rd., Bangkok, the Supreme Court sentenced Yotwarit Chuklom, aka. Jeng Dokjik, to two years in prison without suspending the jail term.

The court found Yotwarit guilty of offences under Article 112 of the Criminal Code, the lèse majesté law, for a speech and a gesture at a red-shirt United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD) rally on 28 March 2010.

The Supreme Court’s ruling confirmed the verdict of the lower courts.

Unlike other lèse majesté cases where the names of royal family members or coded names were stated, Jeng was accused of defaming the King by his ambiguous speech and by covering his mouth during his speech about the person who is behind Privy Council President Gen Prem Tinsulanonda.

The red leader repeatedly said "[I] can't say [the name]," while covering his mouth.

In the speech, he discussed why it was so difficult for Abhisit to dissolve the House.

During the trial, Jeng insisted the gesture meant he could not name the person. The court, however, interpreted the speech and the gesture to mean that he did not dare to name the person because the person was in a very high position. This could only mean the former King, the court said.

Yotwarit Chuklom (left), aka. Jeng Dokjik, in front of the Criminal Court on Ratchadapisek Rd., Bangkok, on 7 March 2017 (Photo from Ban Rat Facebook Page)