Submitted on Wed, 2018-01-31 14:09
A court in Khon Kaen has convicted six teenagers of lèse majesté for burning royal arches with portraits of King Rama IX and King Rama X.
On 31 January 2018, the Provincial Court of Phon District, Khon Kaen Province, found six teenagers guilty of royal defamation, criminal association and arson. The court sentenced the six to 10 years in prison, but since the suspects pleaded guilty, the court halved the jail term.
The court also reduced the jail terms of five out of the six, whose age is under 20, to three years and four months in jail.
[Update] After the court read the verdict of the case, four out of the six were taken to another courtroom to hear the verdict of the other case where they were accused of similar charges for burning royal arches in another district. The court sentenced three suspects, whose is age under 20, to four years and four months in jail and the 20-year-old to six years in six months in prison.
According to Thai Lawyers for Human Rights, the prosecution began after the police accused the six, who are between 18-20 years of age, of burning several arches erected in honour of the late King Bhumibol and King Vajiralongkorn in Chonnabot District, Khon Kaen Province, on 3 May 2017.
The teenagers pleaded guilty to the police and confessed that they were hired by a man named Pricha and other persons. They claimed that Pricha paid them 200 baht each to burn the arches.
There are 11 individuals involved in the arson of the Kings’ portraits. The youngest suspect is only 14 years old and is being prosecuted in camera at the Department of Juvenile Observation and Protection. No development in this case is reported to the public.
Most of the suspects said that they were merely hired in an ad hoc manner to carry out the operation, TLHR reported.
In August 2017, the court sentenced the two other male suspects, age 64 and 25, to five years imprisonment for similar charges as the six.
Recently the police arrested Pricha Ngamdi, who was accused as the leader, at an unknown temple. He ordained as a Buddhist monk in an attempt to escape prosecution.
Provincial Court of Phon District