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Opposition MP in Thailand Gets 2-Year Prison Sentence for Defaming Monarchy

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MP in Thailand Gets 2-Year Prison Sentence
Chonthicha Jangrew arrives at the Thai military court in Bangkok: Post Image

A Criminal Court in Thailand has sentenced Move Forward Party Member of Parliament to 2-years in prison for royal defamation under Article 112 of the Criminal Code. Chonthicha Jaengraew, 31, is an MP the Pathum Thani constituency and a pop star.

The court’s decision, read aloud on Monday morning, gave her a three-year sentence but then lowered it to two years with no suspension. Court documents show that another case of violating the emergency injunction on public meetings has been abandoned.

On September 11, 2021, she and nine other activists protested in front of the Thanyaburi district court in Pathum Thani, seeking the release of political prisoners.

Ms. Chonthich promptly asked for and was granted bail to challenge the case in the Appellate Court, according to Thai Lawyers for Human Rights. Throughout the court struggle, she keeps her MP position.

Before approaching the courtroom, Move Forward leader Chaithawat Tulathon expressed his hope that if she was found guilty, the judge would grant her bail.
Ms Chonthicha is one of three MPs from the main opposition party facing lese majeste accusations under Section 112 of the Criminal Code.

Bangkok MP Rukchanok Srinork was sentenced in December 2023 to six years in prison without parole for lese-majeste and computer crime in connection with online comments she made between July 18 and August 9, 2021. She is currently free on bail pending her appeal.

Chai-amorn Kaewwiboonpan, right, and Thanaphat Kapheng arrive at the Criminal Court

Chai-amorn Kaewwiboonpan, right, and Thanaphat Kapheng arrive at the Criminal Court: Post Image

Two Jailed for Burning King of Thailand portrait

On Monday, the Criminal Court sentenced musician Chai-amorn Kaewwiboonpan, or “Ammy The Bottom Blues,” to four years in prison and his accomplice to one year for burning His Majesty the King’s portrait and posting a video of it in 2021.

The penalties were not suspended. Both men then requested for bail pending their appeal. Their requests were being examined.

On the night of February 28, 2021, public prosecutors charged Chai-amorn and Thanaphat Kapheng with pouring kerosene on a painting of His Majesty the King in front of the Klongprem Central Prison in Chatuchak District. They then lit it alight.

Later, Chai-amorn shared a video of the incident on his public Facebook page, The Bottom Blues.

The Criminal Court disregarded the men’s claim that they had no ill will toward the king and were simply expressing support for their appeal for the freedom of fellow activist Parit Chiwarak, aka Penguin, who is facing numerous accusations, including suspected lese majeste and sedition.

The court stated that there were plenty other ways they may have demonstrated support for their cause. According to the court, defence witnesses testified that Chai-amorn, Thanaphat, and Parit advocated for royal institution reforms.

The court stated that Chai-amorn and Thanaphat’s burning of the king’s image constituted a threat that dishonoured and disgraced His Majesty the King.

Chai-amorn, 34, was convicted guilty of lese majeste and computer crime for his online message, which posed a threat to national security.

The court first put the prison term for each offence at three years, but sentenced him to six years in prison. He confessed, thus the sentence was reduced to four years.

Thanaphat was found guilty of lese majeste and sentenced to one year and six months in prison because he was only 18 at the time of the offense. His punishment was reduced to one year because he confessed.

Thailand’s royal defamation law, also known as Lese Majeste, protects the country’s all-powerful monarchy against criticism and is based on Article 112 of the penal code.

Critics of the law claim it is regularly used to suppress dissent.

Thai Lawyers for Human Rights, an advocacy group, reported that at least 1,954 persons have been prosecuted in 1,295 cases involving protests or political expression since mid-2020. More than 270 people are facing accusations under Article 112.

 

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