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A 26-year-old single mother has been sentenced to 3 years in prison on a royal defamation charge for commenting on the monarchy reformist Facebook group Royalist Marketplace.

The Royalist Marketplace Facebook group interface.

Nacha (pseudonym), 26, the single mother of a 3-year-old child, was charged with royal defamation and violation of the Computer Crimes Act for commenting on a picture of King Vajiralongkorn which political exile Pavin Chachavalpongpun posted in the monarchy reformist Facebook group Royalist Marketplace.

According to Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR), Nacha was arrested in Ang Thong on 6 June 2022 and taken to the Technology Crime Suppression Division headquarters in Bangkok. She did not receive a summons before being arrested.

While in detention, she had her mobile phone confiscated. She was interrogated without a lawyer or family member present and confessed during the interrogation.

TLHR reported that the Criminal Court today (7 November) found her guilty and sentenced her to 3 years in prison. Since she confessed and has never been found guilty of other charges, the Court reduced her sentence to 1 year and 6 months, suspended for 2 years. She must also report to a probation officer once every 4 months for a year and must do 12 hours of community service. The Court also confiscated her mobile phone.

Of the 236 royal defamation cases filed against activists, protesters, and members of the public for political expression, 123 were because of social media expression and interaction. According to TLHR, since November 2020, the courts of first instance have reached a verdict in 20 royal defamation cases. In 14 of the cases, the defendants were found guilty.  

TLHR also noted that 158 cases have reached court level. None were dismissed at the public prosecutor level.

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