Pop singer faces another royal defamation charge for protest song

Chaiamorn “Ammy” Kaewwiboonpan, lead singer of pop band The Bottom Blues, is facing another royal defamation charge for singing a modified version of his song “1 2 3 4 5 I love you” at a protest in front of the Thanyaburi Provincial Court in January 2021.

Chaiamorn Kaewwiboonpan

Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) reported yesterday (7 June) that Chaiamorn and activist Phromsorn Weerathamjare face royal defamation charges under Section 112 of the Thai Criminal Code for their participation in the 14 January 2021 protest in front of the Thanyaburi Provincial Court to demand the release of student activist Sirichai Natueng, who was arrested in the middle of the night on 13 January 2021 on a royal defamation charge for spray-painting portraits of members of the royal family.

During the protest, Chaiamorn and Phromsong sang a modified version of Chaiamorn’s song “1 2 3 4 5 I love you,” which has become one of the songs most commonly used in protests, often with the “I love you” in the refrain replaced with “Fuck you Too [Prayut Chan-o-cha]” or “Free our friends.” 

TLHR reported that according to the police, participants during the 14 January 2021 protest replaced “I love you” with “Fuck you […].” TLHR did not disclose what the final word was, but said the police deemed that the modified lyrics were insulting to the king. 

Phromsorn reported to Thanyaburi Police Station yesterday (7 June) and denied all charges, while Chaiamorn said he was unavailable and instead reported to the police today (8 June).

TLHR reported later today (8 June) that the public prosecutor has filed a case against the two activists. This is the 17th royal defamation case in which the public prosecutor has ordered an indictment since the law began to be used against pro-democracy protesters in November 2020. 

The Thanyaburi Provincian Court granted bail for Promsorn and Chaiamorn with a security of 300,000 baht each. The court also required them to sign a letter promising not to run or tamper with evidence. 

Chaiamorn posted on his band’s Facebook page yesterday (7 June) that this is “the first pop song to be charged under Section 112” and that he was notified of the charges while he was still being detained pending trial in another royal defamation charge at the Thanyaburi Remand Prison. He was in detention for 69 days before he was released on 11 May 2021 on condition that he does not participate in activities which are damaging to the monarchy – the same condition imposed on several activists charged under Section 112 and released on bail.

Phromsorn is facing a total of 3 counts of royal defamation relating to political expression, while Chaiamorn is facing 2.

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