Tiwagorn Withiton, a Facebook user who went viral in 2020 for posting a picture of himself wearing a shirt printed with “I lost faith in the monarchy,” was arrested again this morning (4 March) by around 20 police officers.
Tiwagorn Withiton (right) with his lawyer at the police station
He was taken to Tha Phra Police Station in Khon Kaen. Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) said that he was arrested on a warrant issued by the Khon Kaen Provincial Court on 3 March 2021 on charges under the lèse-majesté law and sedition law, or Sections 112 and 116, as well as the Computer Crimes Act.
The charges were because of Facebook posts he made on 11 and 18 February 2021. Tiwagorn denied all charges.
TLHR said he was immediately taken to prison, as his temporary detention request hearing was conducted through video conference. His lawyer is currently in the process of requesting bail.
At 14.20, TLHR reported that the Khon Kaen Provincial Court has granted Tiwagorn bail, with a security of 150,000 baht.
The police also had a search warrant and seized three “I lost faith in the monarchy” t-shirts, as well as computers and smart phones found at the house.
Tiwagorn previously went viral for posting a picture of himself on his Facebook profile page wearing a shirt which said “I lost faith in the monarchy.” As a result, he was summoned by the authorities who asked him to stop wearing the shirt. However, he continued to wear the shirt and posted about wearing it in public. He also published a post explaining that losing faith does not mean that he wants to abolish the monarchy.
He was among those who joined the Red Shirt protests in 2009 – 2010. His family said that he experienced stress and depression following the 2014 military coup and that they asked him to consult a psychiatrist.
Tiwagorn was previously seized by police officers in July 2020 and forcibly admitted to Khon Kaen Rajanagarindra Psychiatric Hospital. He was held there for 15 days and discharged after a public campaign calling for his release.