The online petition to repeal the royal defamation law, or Section 112 of the Thai Criminal Code, has received over 100,000 signatures within 24 hours of its launch.
Protesters in front of iLaw's booth at the 31 Octobe protest, where the campaign to repeal Section 112 was launched
On 31 October, during a protest at Ratchaprasong Intersection, the activist network Citizens for the Abolition of 112 launched a campaign to have parliament repeal the royal defamation law. According to the legal watchdog NGO iLaw, 3,760 people signed their petition at the protest.
An online petition was later launched on 5 November at no112.org. Within 24 hours, it received over 100,000 signatures, ten times the number legally required for a bill to be put before parliament by the public. iLaw said that the offline and online signatures will eventually be combined.
As of 14.00 today (8 November), the petition has 188,124 signatures.
Section 112 of the Thai Criminal Code states that defaming, insulting, or threatening “the King, the Queen, the Heir apparent, or the Regent” is punishable with 3 – 15 years of imprisonment. According to Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR), at least 154 people have been charged with royal defamation for political expression since November 2020. Following a protest in front of the Royal Thai Police HQ on 18 November 2020, Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha announced that the government would use every law it had to stop pro-democracy protesters.
Several protest leaders are facing multiple counts of the charge, including Parit Chiwarak, who is facing 21 counts; Anon Nampa, 14 counts; Panupong Jadnok, 9 counts; Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul, 8 counts; and Benja Apan, 6 counts.
Five people are currently detained pending trial on royal defamation charges: Parit Chiwarak, Jatupat Boonpattaraksa, Anon Nampa, Panupong Jadnok, and Benja Apan.