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12 activists and protesters have been found guilty of sedition, among other charges, for participating in the 18 July 2020 Free Youth protest and given a suspended sentence of 2 months in prison and a fine of 2000 baht each.

Protesters gathering at the Democracy Monumen on 18 July 2020

For their participation in the protest, Parit Chiwarak, Panupong Jadnok, Anon Nampa, Jutatip Sirikhan, Korakot Saengyenpan, Suwanna Tallek, Baramee Chaiyarat, Dechathorn Bamrungmuang, Thanee Sasom, Thanayut na Ayutthaya, Todsaporn Sinsomboon, and Netnapha Amnatsongserm were charged with sedition, joining an assembly of 10 or more people and causing public disorder, violation of the Emergency Decree, using a sound amplifier without permission, blocking a public road, and violation of the Public Cleanliness Act.

Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) reported on Monday (12 June) that the Criminal Court found them guilty of sedition and joining a participation of 10 or more people and causing public disorder because activists were giving speeches and singing about the monarchy while protesters were seen with banners calling for abolition of the monarchy, and because a small clash occurred between a group of protesters and crowd control police.

Although the Court said that, because the speeches and banners did not mention a specific person, the activists did not intend to cause disorder in the country, they were found guilty of sedition for attempting to cause people to violate the law.

The Court sentenced them to 2 months in prison, but suspended the sentence for 2 years because they have never been previously sentenced to prison.

They were also found guilty of blocking a public road and violation of the Cleanliness Act because they set up a stage on a public road, blocking traffic, and were given a fine of 2000 baht each.

The Court dismissed the Emergency Decree violation charge on the grounds that, at that time, there were no reports of Covid-19 patients and disease control measures were already being relaxed, and because the prosecution could not present evidence that they organized the protest. The court also found them not guilty of using a sound amplifier without permission because there is no evidence they were the organizers and because they only shared the Facebook post announcing the protest.

Thailand declared a State of Emergency in March 2020, supposedly to combat the Covid-19 pandemic. Regulations issued under the Emergency Decree have been used to prosecute activists and protesters participating in the pro-democracy protests. The State of Emergency ended on 1 October 2022.

The 18 July 2020 Free Youth protest was the first in a series of student-led mass demonstrations in 2020. Thousands gathered at the Democracy Monument to call for the dissolution of parliament led by the Palang Pracharath party, constitutional amendments, and for the authorities to stop harassing citizens exercising freedom of expression. The protest is now seen at the beginning of the 2020 – 2021 pro-democracy movement, which demanded social and political reform and eventually led to a call for monarchy reform.

In March 2023, the Dusit District Court dismissed charges against 15 other activists and protesters for joining the protest, but fined them 200 baht each for using a sound amplifier without permission.

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