Lèse majesté charges dismissed on appeal against 6 teenagers for burning arches; other sentences reduced

In the case of 6 teenagers accused of burning arches, the Court of Appeal dismissed charges under Article 112 and reduced the jail terms for criminal association and arson, without suspension. All 6 individuals and their relatives expressed their joy after the verdict. Two of the accused had their prison sentences reduced to 9 years, 3 received 6 years and 2 accused in only one case to 3 years.

On 20 September 2018, Thai Lawyers for Human Rights reported that on 18 September, the Provincial Court of Phon District summoned the 6 accused teenagers involved in the case of burning royal arches in Khon Kaen Province from Phon Provincial Prison to read the 11 September 2018 verdict reached by the Court of Appeal, Region 4, in 2 cases of arson in Ban Phai District and in Chonnabot District. In both cases charges under Article 112 of the Criminal Code were dismissed, but the verdicts on criminal association and arson were upheld.

Thai Lawyers for Human Rights also reported that the 6 accused and their relatives expressed their joy at the dismissal of the Article 112 charges and the reduction of their sentences by the Court of Appeal. Fluk (alias), the 2nd accused in both cases, received a total of 9 years imprisonment. The sentences of Traithep, Film and Bell (aliases) were reduced to 6 years. Tan and Toei (aliases), who were accused in only 1 of the cases, received 3 years. Currently, the 6 have served a little over 1 year and 2 months.

On 18 June 2018, Phon Provincial Court, the Court of First Instance, returned a verdict dismissing the charges of violating Article 112 of the Criminal Code against Pricha and Sarot for the burning of royal arches in 3 cases. These are the same incidents of which the 6 teenagers were accused. Pricha and Sarot were arrested and prosecuted after the 6 teenagers and 2 others who did not appeal the verdict of the Court of First Instance.

After the verdict reached by the Court of Appeal, Region 4 was delivered, Phon Provincial Court ordered the four accused in the second case to comply with the verdict of the civil court within 30 days, otherwise their assets may be seized, and they may be imprisoned, detained, fined or have their property forfeited according to the Civil Procedure Code.

On 31 January 2018, the Phon Provincial Court read the verdict of the Court of First Instance on the 2 cases. On 11 April 2018, the lawyer for the 6 accused in the Ban Phai case and the 4 accused in the Chonnabot case made an appeal to the Court of Appeal, Region 4, to amend the verdict of the Court of First Instance and to delay the sentence of imprisonment so that the 6 accused have the opportunity to change their behaviour and be able to live in society, as well as look after their families, which will be more beneficial to society than imprisoning the six of them for a long time.