Bail denied for prisoner with longest lèse majesté sentence

On 20 January, the Court of Appeal rejected the bail request of Anchan (surname withheld), a 63-year-old woman who faces 43 years and 6 months in jail after being convicted under the lèse majesté law.

Anchan being taken to prison on 19 January

The reasons for the refusal given in the court ruling are the long prison sentence, the fact that defendant had confessed, and the fact that her actions had derogated the institution of the monarchy which “affected the minds of loyal people” and the relation of lèse majesté cases to the security of the kingdom.

The court found that, if granted bail, there was reason to believe that she would flee.

The court document refusing bail

Anchan P., a food seller and former civil servant, faced 29 counts of “insulting the monarchy”, or lèse majesté, under Article 112 of Thailand’s Criminal Code and provisions of the Computer Crime Act. She was arrested in January 2015 and detained for nearly four years until November 2018, when she was released on bail. 

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Anchan was initially detained incommunicado in a military camp for five days before her transfer to a detention facility and repeatedly denied bail. 

The court convicted Anchan for allegedly sharing and uploading clips on social media of an online talk show alleged to have made defamatory comments about the monarchy.

Section 112 of the Criminal Code criminalizes individuals who defame or express hostility to the King, the Queen, the Heir Apparent and the Regent. It carries a 3-15 year jail sentence.

As of 19 January, at least 54 people have been charged or summoned by the police to hear the Section 112 charges within the last few weeks. None have yet made their way to court.

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