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An intellectually disabled 19-year-old protester has received a summons from the police in Phatthalung to answer a royal defamation charge.

Anon Nampa (left) filing a petition asking the police to have the inquiry officer in Phatthalung come to Bangkok to question Thiramet, since the 19-year-old would have a hard time traveling from Bangkok. (Photo from TLHR)

Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) said they were informed by Thiramet (last name withheld), 19, that he had received a summons from Thalenoi Police Station in Phatthalung, ordering him to report to the police because a royal defamation complaint had been filed against him.

TLHR noted that the summons said it is the second one sent to Thiramet, but he never received the first one. He also lives in Bangkok and is not able to travel to Phattalung to report to the police.

On Wednesday (3 May), human rights lawyer Anon Nampa, who is representing Thiramet, went to file a petition requesting the police chief to order the inquiry officer in Phatthalung to come to Bangkok instead, since Thiramet is intellectually disabled and has a disabled person ID card, a form of identification issued by the government for people with disability who are on disability benefits, and it would be difficult for him to travel.

To ensure his right to a fair judicial process, the petition demands that the police summon the inquiry officer from Thalenoi Police Station to Bangkok to question Thiramet.

The complaint against Thiramet was filed by Songchai Niamhom, head of the ultra-royalist King Protection Group, who has filed royal defamation complaints against several people in various provinces in the south of Thailand.

Thailand is a state party to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), which requires state parties to ensure effective access to justice for people with disabilities, including by providing accommodation to facilitate their effective participation in all legal proceedings and by promoting training for those working in the justice system.

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