Citizen reporter arrested for singing a song criticising monarchy

Sao Nui, a citizen reporter who has already been charged with royal defamation and sedition, has been arrested again for singing a song composed by the band Faiyen during a protest on 23 August 2022.

(Left) Sao Nui

On 2 September, the police requested the Court to keep her in temporary detention. A lawyer from Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) was reportedly filing an objection.

Later on the same day, the Court granted bail with 90,000 baht securities, a condition not to commit a similar offence again.

She was arrested on the evening of 1 September and detained at the Narcotics Suppression Bureau overnight. According to TLHR, she was charged under the Computer Crimes Act and royal defamation law for singing the 2 song from Faiyen band, one of them is “Lucky to have Thai people”.

“Lucky to have Thai people” was written by Faiyen, a Thai music band known for writing songs critical of the monarchy, which led to band members being charged with lèse majesté. Most of the members fled Thailand after the 2014 coup.

As far as Prachatai is legally allowed to explain, “Lucky to have Thai people” relates how Thai people are made to love the King through many means and the punishment the people will face if they do not love the King.

Sao Nui (Nui Girl), is the nickname of a streamer who used to run a Facebook page called “Sakdina Sua Daeng”, a now-defunct channel that live-streamed pro-democracy protests. She and another citizen reporter were previously charged with lèse majesté, sedition, and resisting an officers’ order.

The charge related to their participation in the activist group Thaluwang’s royal motorcade poll at Siam Paragon on 8 February. The inquiry officer said they were live broadcasting the event, and that participants in the poll were trying to push through a police barricade near Sa Prathum Palace. 

Sao Nui was also accused of shouting profanities at police officers trying to take hold of a female activist and charged with insulting an official on duty.

The Southern Bangkok Criminal Court later granted them bail on a security of 200,000 baht each and set the conditions that they do not repeat their offense in a manner that could damage the monarchy, join activities which can cause public disorder, or post on social media invitations to people to join protests. They must also wear electronic monitoring bracelets.

After the case on Thursday, TLHR reported that at least 228 royal defamation cases have been filed against protesters since the massive surge of calls for political and monarchy reform in 2020.

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