Cover illustration by Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR)

38-year-old arrested for royal defamation, denied bail

A 38-year-old man was arrested for royal defamation last Friday (19 May) for sharing a Facebook post and was later denied bail.

Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) said that Charan (pseudonym), 38, was arrested in Hat Yai, Songkhla, for royal defamation and violation of the Computer Crimes Act on an arrest warrant issued by the Nonthaburi Provincial Court on 19 April 2023.

Officers arrested Charan at work at around 16.30 before taking him to Hat Yai Police Station, where he was detained overnight before being taken to Mueang Nonthaburi Police Station. While he was detained, he denied the charges, but said it was his name on the warrant. He also signed the arrest record.

Charan was detained for another night at Mueang Nonthaburi Police Station, where he was informed that he was being charged for sharing a post on Facebook. Meanwhile, his family contacted a lawyer for assistance and prepared to file for bail.

On Monday (22 May), Charan was taken to the Nonthaburi Provincial Court, where the police requested to have him temporarily detained. The court approved the request, before denying him bail on the grounds that the charges carry a high penalty and he is likely to flee.

Charan is now among the three people detained pending trial or appeal on a royal defamation charge, along with 50-year-old Wut, who was denied bail after he was indicted over 12 Facebook posts made in 2021, and Wayha Saenchonchanasuek, who was detained after being found guilty by the Criminal Court.

According to TLHR, at least 249 people have been charged with royal defamation in 268 cases since November 2020. Of these cases, 143 resulted from online political expression.


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